A Guide to the Differences Between Copyright, Trademark, Patent, and License
Trademark Attorney Chicago ILCopyrights, trademarks, patents, and licenses are different forms of intellectual property with which a trademark attorney Chicago IL locals recommend can help you protect. Many of the differences between them
are subtle, making it difficult for non-legal savvy people or beginner entrepreneurs to understand their distinctions.
Without the assistance of a Chicago trademark attorney, you risk losing out on significant monetary assets or even be forced to fight for your creation, invention, or idea in a court of law. Realistically, you should consider getting advice from a skilled trademark attorney in Chicago IL from Sherinian Law.
A copyright protects the author’s original work. Examples include paintings, screenplays, novels, and songs. It also covers website design, marketing reports, manuals, architectural drawings, and programming code. When you copyright something, you have the right to:
- Reproduced, publish, display, film, etc. the content.
- Create revisions, updates, translations, and adaptations of the work.
As soon as the work is in a tangible form, it is considered copyrighted. The lifetime of a copyright is equal to the life of the author, plus another 70 years. The exception to this is a move which has a term of 95 years once the film is made public. It is possible to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Although this is optional, it is recommended, especially if you plan on distributing or selling your work.
A trademark is a design, color, logo, word, or symbol that identifies and distinguishes a product or service. Trademarks can represent a product, service, element of the service/product, or a provider of the product or service. When you trademark something, you are given the right to prevent other parties from using the same or similar mark. Legally, you do not have to register a trademark, but doing so can provide advantages. For example, you will have the right to use your mark throughout the U.S.; whereas, not registering it only protects you in certain geographic areas. A “service mark” is a trademark that identifies a service instead of a tangible product.
A patent protects inventors and gives you exclusive right to sell, manufacture, distribute, or use your invention. Should any other party do so without your permission you may take legal action. However, if you fail to take legal action it is possible for a court to consider your patent abandoned. Most people will file for a utility patent which protects processes, machines, compositions of matter, and more. Other types of patents include design patents, business method patents, and plant patents. Filing for a patent is complex and requires in-depth knowledge of terminology, language, and rules. It can help to have a trademark attorney Chicago IL businesses turn to guide you through this process to avoid mistakes or lost time.
A license is a contract that transfers intellectual property rights from the licensor (owner) to a licensee (a third party). These rights can be exclusive or non-exclusive (rights are granted to more than one licensee). When a licensor grants these rights, they will typically be given royalties usually based on a percentage of the generated revenue from the licensee. A license is usually drafted for a fixed amount of time and should be renewed by the licensee in order to extend the term.
Using Multiple Intellectual Property Forms
Many companies will use some or all forms of intellectual property. For example, an athletic clothing company might use patented moisture-wicking technology. The clothing may be marketed under a brand name with a registered trademark. The design of the clothing and the website it is sold on may be copyrighted. If there are certain elements (i.e. a machine used to make the clothing) that was created by another party, the company might license the use of the machine. A trademark attorney Chicago IL residents rely on can review your company’s properties to determine which aspects should be protected in this way.
Sherinian Law: a Trademark Attorney Chicago IL Professionals Trust
If you are serious about your creation, invention, or idea, you should consult an intellectual property lawyer to find out what forms of IP can protect you from infringement, financial loss, and litigation. To learn more, call a trademark attorney Chicago IL offers from Sherinian Law at (312) 981-5004.