Intellectual Property: Understanding Patents, Copyright, & Trademarks in California

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Each and every business has intellectual property – it's what defines them and distinguishes them from competitors. What you produce or what you sell is the product of your innovation, and it becomes a part of your brand. And we know today that in the marketplace, brand matters considerably. You need to protect things like trade secrets, symbols, ideas, creations. Protection is undertaken via intellectual property (IP).

Mohsen Parsa, a trusted intellectual and business law attorney in Los Angeles, understands the importance of intellectual property and brand protection, which is particularly important for startups that want to enter a competitive market or define their niche in the market. Below is a brief overview of what intellectual property is and when it's needed. If you have specific questions about your own intellectual property or want to start protecting and building your brand today, contact Mohsen Parsa Law, Inc. at (949) 394-6930 to schedule a consultation.

The Importance of Protecting Intellectual Property 

Tech startups particularly need to protect their intellectual property. But the need doesn't stop there: any company, from a mom-and-pop shop to a yoga studio, has intangible assets that IP rights can protect. From the name of the studio to the symbol by which your community has come to know you, these are important assets to the growth, authenticity, trust, and development of your business. These things can be stolen if not protected, and this kind of theft can be detrimental to your company more so than the theft of tangible items like equipment or cash.

Further, when you do not protect your assets with trademarks, copyrights, patents, and similar intellectual property, and your mark, name, idea, etc. is stolen or otherwise used by another entity, you face an uphill battle. There will be costly litigation as well as a lot of heartache and headaches. The costs of protecting your business are proportionately less than the costs of litigation. Plus protecting your business through IP can positively impact the valuation of your business and the prospects of investors.

IP rights are the key to protecting your business, and these rights are obtained through proper and timely registration of trademarks, copyrights, and patents.

Trademark

Trademarks, service marks, and trade names distinguish you from others in the market. They also protect your business name, product, or service. As you grow, the name and symbol of your business grow with you – it builds trust and becomes a distinguishing part of your company's identity.

Trademarks can be created for protection within the State of California, within the United States, and internationally. Trademarks and service marks can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and with California's trademark registry. 

There are some important things to note between a California trademark and a federally registered one, including:

  • California trademarks are less expensive than federal trademarks, and so for smaller, local businesses, this may be an important factor.
  • California registration protects your trademark in California only, not nationally – you will need a federal trademark for national protection.
  • For some companies like marijuana-related businesses in California, you may only be able to register a trademark in California and not federally since marijuana is still illegal under federal law. 
  • The federal government through the USPTO offers classification under which trademarks are registered – California uses the same classifications.

Additionally, California does not allow applications for the purpose of "intent to use"; your trademark must be in use at the time you apply for registration.

At Mohsen Parsa Law, Inc., we understand the importance of trademark and the protections it offers. We will advise you on a strategy and provide comprehensive trademark services, like:

  • filing for trademark registration
  • maintaining and renewing trademarks
  • registering trademarks with Customs
  • licensing and franchising
  • performing trademark clearance search
  • investigating the trademark rights of others
  • performing due diligence
  • enforcing trademark rights
  • providing dispute resolution.

We will help you protect your brand and will aggressively pursue infringers or defend you against claims of infringement.

Copyright 

Your ideas are yours, and the way you express those ideas –whether through a book, song, business strategy, or another creative property – is yours, too. For many companies, these things are the basis of the business and can be protected through copyright. Copyrights for the same then become core business assets.  At Mohsen Parsa, Inc., we help you understand the complexities of copyright law related to:

  • chain-of-title
  • split rights
  • joint works
  • public domain
  • fair use
  • moral rights.

We will assist you in acquiring, registering with the U.S. Copyright Office, maintaining protection, renewing, licensing, and enforcing your rights to copyrighted material. Copyrights can be used for things like:

  • video
  • books
  • music
  • computer software
  • audiovisual works
  • digital content
  • video games.

If anyone should infringe upon your rights or you are accused of the same, we can represent you and your interests.

Patent

A patent is a protection for your invention – the patent grants you, as the inventor, property rights to your invention. Patents are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Typically, the term of a new patent is 20 years, meaning you receive 20 years of protection to your invention property rights. 

A patent excludes others from:

  • making
  • using
  • offering for sale
  • selling your invention.

There are three types of patents that may benefit your company and the product you sell:

  1. Utility Patents. These are patents for any new or useful process, article of manufacture, machine, or improvement of the latter.
  2. Design Patents. These are patents for new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
  3. Plant Patents. These are patents for any distinct and new variety of a plant that was invented, discovered, or asexually reproduced.

Contact a Creative, Knowledgeable Intellectual Property Attorney in Los Angeles Today

Intellectual Property is an important part of a business's assets. Trademarks, copyrights, and patents grant you rights to these business assets and protections against theft and infringers. To discuss a comprehensive IP strategy for your business in California, contact Mohsen Parsa today.

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