Frequently Asked Questions About Copyright and Patent Law

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Intellectual property law refers to the rules and regulations for securing and enforcing the rights to inventions and artistic works. We all know that the law protects an individual?s ownership of personal property, but did you know that your less tangible assets are protected, too?

Read ahead to find out more about which of your works and creations are automatically protected by the U.S. Constitution, and which are not.

Frequently Asked Questions About Copyright and Patent Law

What is copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection granted by U.S. law, as stated in the U.S. Constitution, for original works founded in a tangible medium. Works can be published or unpublished; either way, they will be protected under copyright law as long as they are recorded in some format.

What does copyright law protect?
Copyright protects original works, including literary, dramatic, musical, and other artistic pieces. It does not protect ideas, facts, or systems.

What is a patent?
A patent is an exclusive right given to individuals who invent something, allowing them to profit from their invention for a fixed period of time. A patent prevents others from making, using, or selling the invention without the inventor?s consent. In order to obtain a patent, the inventor must publicize the details of the invention.

What is a trademark?
A trademark protects words, phrases, designs, and symbols that identify the source of particular goods and services.

When does a work become protected by copyright law?
A piece becomes protected by copyright the moment it is created in tangible form. You do not have to register your work for it to be protected.

Oftentimes, copyright and patent law cases can be settled outside of court through either arbitration or mediation, though sometimes patent litigation is necessary. If you have any additional questions regarding intellectual properties law, feel free to post in the comments section below.

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