IP Enforcement and Licensing
A significant portion of our IP practice is focused on enforcing existing patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret rights against potential infringers. If you believe another company or individual is making unauthorized use of your inventions, trade names, copyrighted works, or other protected material, contact Peterson Baker PS so we can help you evaluate your potential claims, contact the infringers about ceasing infringement (or licensing if appropriate), or, if necessary, seek relief from the Courts. We have extensive experience litigating all types of intellectual property, and look forward to assisting you with your enforcement issues.
Trademarks and Brand Protection
A trademark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. Trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks. Trademarks are governed by both state and federal law. Originally, state common law provided the main source of protection for trademarks. However, in the late 1800s, the U.S. Congress enacted the first federal trademark law. Since then, federal trademark law has consistently expanded, taking over much of the ground initially covered by state common law.
Today, federal law provides the main, and by and large the most extensive, source of trademark protection, although state common law actions are still available. A related concept is trade dress is a legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the design of a building) that signify the source of the product to consumers. Trade dress is a form of intellectual property.
At Peterson Baker we provide trademark counseling, facilitate cost-effective trademark registrations in the US and foreign jurisdictions, and help companies protect their brands by enforcing existing Federal or common law trademarks and trade dress rights.
Utility and Design Patents
A United States patent is one of the strongest forms of intellectual property available to inventors seeking to protect new and useful ideas. In exchange for sharing their inventions with the public, the U.S. government grants inventors a limited monopoly, rewarding public disclosure with limited exclusivity. A “utility” patent is issued for the invention of a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof. A “design” patent, on the other hand, is granted to protect the ornamental design of a functional item.
Peterson Baker provides a wide range of patent related legal services, including patentability and infringement opinions, patent surveys, prior art searching, pre-litigation licensing work, enforcement, and patent litigation support. We also work with local PTO practitioners to provide efficient, low-cost patent prosecution services. To that end, we have developed a network of competent solo and small firm patent attorneys who are able to provide big-firm quality work at reasonable rates.
Copyright is a form of protection given to the authors or creators of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual works. Copyright protection is also used in the modern era to protect computer programs, as the Copyright Office recognizes source code as a “literary work.” Copyright law is a powerful tool for protecting original works from copying by competitors, including software source code, user interfaces, and more traditional artistic works such as music and novels.