The Goal of Intellectual Property: Market Security
Acme Widget Corporation invests heavily in research and development. When it finally pays off with a new product, Acme needs to gain and maintain market share long enough to recoup their research and development investment.
Intellectual Property (including patent, trademark and copyright) is a time-tested and cost-effective way of preserving market share. Without it competitors are free to copy. Since they have no research and development investment they can sell their knock-off for less. Acme's market share will quickly erode. Our intellectual property laws prevent this. They encourage innovation by protecting the creative work product of inventors, writers and artists. However, the laws can be complicated. Our goal is to teach our clients the basics, and then to help them in developing a market-driven strategy for the acquisition and utilization of intellectual property (as well as avoiding the rights of others).
To that end, we offer the following overview of the basic laws: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and unfair competition law. Over the years, entrepreneurial people have relied on these laws to start companies that are now well-known.
Patents: protection for inventions inclusive of new and useful devices, methods, compositions, industrial designs, artificial plants, etc.
Copyrights: protection for artistic expression inclusive of writings, sculptures, graphic designs, music, movies, etc.
Trademarks: (and service marks): protection for names and logos including company names, brand name, product names, etc.
Trade Secret Law: protection for trade secrets inclusive of customer lists, recipes, etc.