Effective Strategies For Establishing And Asserting Your Intellectual Property Rights

Does your company have discoveries, innovations and brand names? Safeguarding your intellectual property (IP) is essential for the best financial return for your effort. How do you protect your work from counterfeiters who produce low-priced knock-offs? How do you keep people from reproducing your IP for distribution without authorization? Is there a way to prevent others from using unlicensed IP to further their own interests?

Your IP is one of your company's most valuable assets. Managing your IP right and defending against competition, including your trade secrets, is critical to the success of your business. However, it is complex without the help of an experienced lawyer. For more than 30 years, Paul C. VanSlyke, Senior Counsel at Hoover Slovacek LLP, has helped businesses protect their IP and monetize it through license agreements. Mr. VanSlyke understands trademark litigation, brand law and how to effectively establish your IP rights. Call his Houston office at 713-364-0730 today for a consultation.

What Are The Forms Of Protection Under Intellectual Property And Unfair Competition Law?

Claims to exclusive ownership of original creations or inventions come with different forms of protection. Mr. VanSlyke can help you understand and seek the appropriate IP protection.

  • Copyrights — Copyright laws protect original works of authorship and give the copyright holder the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt or distribute the work. Copyright applies to literature, music, visual and dramatic art, photographs, film, videos and computer software. Copyright exists at the time of creation, but registering a work with the U.S. Copyright Office gives the owner greater protection. If an unregistered work is infringed, the owner must prove damages to win compensation in court. However, if the work is registered, a court can award damages. Copyrights run for the life of the author plus 70 years.
  • Trademarks — A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that distinguishes one company's products from its competitors. In common law, trademarks came about simply by use and could be limited to a geographic area where a company had a strong presence. Today, companies can register for protection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office even before a trademark would have earned protection through usage.
  • Trade secrets — A trade secret is a formula, process, device or collection of business information that companies use to give them a competitive advantage. Businesses commonly use nondisclosure and noncompete agreements to protect their trade secrets. The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 makes it possible to sue in federal court to protect trade secrets.
  • Unfair Competition — Unfair competition is all dishonest of fraudulent rivalry in trade or commerce. It usually means substituting one's own goods or products in the market for those of another, by means of counterfeiting the name, title, size, shape or distinctive features of the article, or the shape, color, wrapper or general appearance of the package, or such other simulations with the imitation being enough to mislead the general public or deceive any unwary purchaser.

What About IP And The Internet?

The internet has laws and regulations that require legal compliance review. For example, if you allow users to post text, photos, videos, artwork and other content on your website, you are required to record with the U.S. Copyright Office the name, address, email address and telephone number of your designated agent for copyright owners to send DMCA takedown notices for such items under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. You must also comply with all the state and federal laws dealing with false, deceptive and unfair acts and practices. Many industry-specific laws apply to websites for real estate, banking, finance and credit cards.

Does your company use social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Social media can be used for advertising and promotion and employee relations. But you need proper policies to regulate how social media is used.

Intellectual property infringement, unfair competition and lack of compliance with internet laws can be harmful to your company. If you are the owner of intellectual property, social media or your business has been accused of infringing someone else's IP, Paul C. VanSlyke, Senior Counsel at Hoover Slovacek LLP, can provide the counsel and experienced court representation you need.

Call An Attorney Today To Protect Your Intellectual Property Or Stop Unfair Competition

Call the firm at 713-364-0730 to learn more about protecting or defending your rights or property, schedule a consultation with Mr. VanSlyke. You may also reach out to the firm online. Serving clients in Texas, throughout the United States and internationally.