For many business leaders in Florida, the concept of “intellectual property” can be a bit mystifying. After all, it is not every day that Florida residents encounter issues in this area of the law, as opposed to family law or personal injury law, for instance. However, for companies, intellectual property can be a crucial part of the overall business strategy. So, what do you need to know about intellectual property? Well, for starters, there are some common areas in this part of the law that having a basic understanding of can be advantageous. First and foremost, there are three terms to understand: trademarks, copyrights and patents.
Common intellectual property terms
We all probably see trademarks every day. These are a company’s call-sign, or identifying brand mark. Think of automobiles. Every type of car has a different, and unique, trademark – Chevy, Ford, BMW, Tesla – the list goes on. Protecting these identifying marks is a significant part of protecting a company’s goodwill and easy identification with customers.
Copyrights can be a bit more complex. To “copyright” something is to protect that unique work product. Books, software, recordings – these are all works that can usually be protected under copyright law. And, as a result, anything that is derived from those copyrighted works is protected as well.
Lastly, the term “patent” is common enough, and many people probably associate the term with inventions, and rightly so. A patent is federal law protection for an invention. Once an invention is patented, the person or company who gets the patent has an exclusive period of time in which control of the patented invention is theirs, and theirs alone.