Intellectual Property Law

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The copyright, patent and trademark registration of inventions and creative work with the United States Copyright Office and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is guided by federal intellectual property law. Having a licensed attorney at law advising a client in an intellectual property matter is a distinct advantage. IP litigation is dispute of rights to enrichment from an invention or other unique work. Students studying toward a JD, LLM or other law degree, will benefit from knowledge of IP rules, including any royalties assigned to a copyright, patent or trademark.

Intellectual Property Registration

Copyright of creative works is the easiest to manifest by way of application to the U.S. Copyright Office. Publications and other writings are considered a mano (i.e. by the hand) manifestation of an original idea. An approved copyright registration filing secures an owners’ rights of legal attachment to the work and any enrichment, whether consented to or unknown, at the time of use.

A trademark establishes rights to commercial intellectual property. Trademark interests are typically registered as DBA or “doing business as” fictitious business names, brands, logos, slogans, words, or other concept intended for profitable use. Registration of a trademark exhibits a company’s or owner’s rights to enrichment from a celebrity name, product or service, and legitimates the authenticity of the relationship in trade terms.

Patents are invention registrations protecting the rights to a business or scientific technology or other material value. For instance, software application patents fall under the USPTO designation of utility patent, and those registrations correspond to a discretionary category of licensing.

Existing copyrights, patents, and trademarks can be found in the U.S. Copyright Office and USPTO databases. An attorney can provide a client with information about database search list of creative work, patent or other registration on record.

 IP Law Practice

IP attorneys at law counsel clients in the planning and representation of intellectual property agreements. The U.S. Copyright Office and USPTO official records of a client’s copyright, patent or trademark registration is the basis for ownership and substantiation of legal claims, should those rights be contested or violated. Copyright, patent and trademark applications submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office or USPTO by a licensed attorney are more likely to be approved during the initial examination.

Prior art search informs an IP attorney and their client if a USPTO registration number corresponds to an existing invention. The advance of a great number of new technologies across fields means patent attorneys must have in-depth technical orientation prior to performing legal services. At times, this may require further insight if an invention is “outlandish” in concept or in form. In such case, research of international policy recommendations or industry standards may apply.

Innovation progenitors, like software developers, can seek expert legal advice and due diligence representation prior to submitting application to fulfill the patent process. Prototypes, though not required for USPTO consideration of a patent registration applicant’s request, can be used to exhibit the results of research and development of the invention process corresponding with the testing and documentation of an invention or product. Most patent applications include a rendering or draft illustration of the invention process from point of conception to finished application, process, or other outcome.

IP attorneys are professionally trained specialists in their chosen field of practice. An attorney experienced in the registration application process will have comprehensive knowledge of the legal requirements corresponding to a client’s intellectual property concern.

Future Challenges

The USPTO is a target for advocacy and public policy groups with an interest in IP law regarding new inventions. The U.S. Supreme Court has expanded the legal interpretation of the USPTO patent to include software and other new technologies formerly not accommodated in their uniqueness as trademarks, as well as patents and creative works. The U.S. Copyright Office and USPTO registration provisions have been modified to address the specificity of those applications. Law students studying toward a degree with specialization in IP law, should expect to commit themselves to a future of continuing education to stay abreast of technical innovation and regulatory change. 


“Intellectual Property Law.” Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School.

United States Copyright Office.

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

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