Likelyconfusion, PLLC is a law firm run by Attorney David Greene, who is also the manager of Greene and Greene, PLLC, which is a general practice firm. Likelyconfusion, PLLC, however, is dedicated to protecting clients’ intellectual property, otherwise known as IP.
IP includes patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and to some extent, databases. Patents are typically thought of as new, useful, and non-obvious inventions, but also include designs, such as Apple’s iPhone. We often consult with clients that have questions about protection of inventions, whether via registration at the patent office or by keeping their ideas as trade secrets. Many clients don’t understand that both types of IP can apply to inventions.
Copyrights are tangible expressions of ideas, but are typically thought of in the vernacular as art. Copyright protection is incredibly broad and applies to a work as soon as that work is created. Therefore, as soon as I publish this post, it is “copyrighted”. Most people don’t understand this concept of common-law copyright and believe that registration is a prerequisite to protection. This is not the case, though registration does provide certain additional remedies to the aggrieved copyright owner, and is a prerequisite to suing for copyright infringement. We often consult clients that have questions about some of the intricacies of copyright law, so if you have any questions, please call.
Trademarks are words, names, symbols, or devices that indicate the source of goods or services. Trademark protection is also quite broad, and almost anything can act as a trademark. The NBC chime is a trademark, the smell of Victoria’s Secret is a trademark, the look and feel of Best Buy is a trademark, business names are trademarks. Like copyright, trademarks are protected without registration, but additional remedies are provided for registered marks. Trademarks are quite a bit more complicated than copyrights and tend to be more integral to the operation of business. We have plenty of experience with registering and protecting trademarks, so please get in touch with us and schedule an appointment if you have questions.
Trade secrets are relatively self explanatory. Some clients have inventions that either don’t qualify for patent protection, or that they do not want to patent due to the requirement of public disclosure. Trade secret protection is available to these clients. To simplify, if your idea is the subject of reasonable procedures to keep it confidential, then trade secret laws will protect it. KFC’s secret recipe and Coca-Cola’s secret formula are examples of trade secrets. With both of these examples, it is unlikely that patent protection would apply and quite likely that the recipe and formula are comically simple. Despite this, both Coca-Cola and KFC would consider their secrets to be incredibly valuable.
Databases are tricky. Unlike some European countries, the US does not have specific legal protection for databases. If you have a database that you wish to protect, please get in touch with us so that we can devise the best plan possible.
Typically, our clients needs strategies for protecting their IP. Thinking of only one type of IP is typically too narrow a focus. Sometimes more than one form of intellectual property applies to a single idea. Many logos are the subject of both trademark and copyright protection. Some people patent their inventions are later seek to enforce trademark rights in that invention in an effort to lengthen the term of exclusivity. If you have questions about any IP, please talk to us, because we would be happy to help.