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Protecting Your Intellectual Property

If you have created anything, your creation is your intellectual property. That means that it is yours to use or to license use of to others.

Various laws exist to protect your intellectual property rights. These laws include the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the America Invents Act, and the Copyright Term Extension Act. An individual or a group of individuals, including a corporate entity, may hold the intellectual rights to a particular work.

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property can include any of the following types of creative work:

  • Pieces of visual art;
  • Works of literature;
  • Inventions;
  • Discoveries;
  • Symbols;
  • Words;
  • Musical compositions;
  • Designs; or
  • Phrases

Intellectual rights are a form of intangible property, which means that although you can not touch and physically handle them, they are yours and you have legal recourse options if they are violated in any way.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property From Infringement

You can file for a patent, copyright, or a trademark for your work with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. This office is tasked with granting protection for intellectual property rights within the United States. It is important to understand the differences between these three options.

  • Registering a trademark simply demonstrates your ownership of a your work. It does not provide significant legal protection against infringement.
  • A patent stakes your ownership of a concept you are currently developing or have developed.
  • A copyright provides the greatest amount of legal protection for a creator. With a copyright, you have the right to pursue an infringement claim and recover damages in the event your work is used without your permission.

If Your Work is Infringed

You have a few options. They are as follows:

  • You may send a cease and desist letter to the offender, which tells the group or individual to stop using your work without your consent.
  • If the infringement is occurring online, you may send the group or individual a Digital Millennium Copyright act takedown notice.

If the infringement persists, you may do either of the following:

  • Request a court injunction, which is a request that the court take action to stop the offender from making a profit using your work.
  • File a copyright infringement lawsuit against the offender and potentially recover the amount of money you lost due to his or her unauthorized use of your creation.

The option that is best for you depends on the extent of the infringement. It is often not necessary to file an infringement lawsuit against an individual simply using an image of your work to illustrate his or her personal website. When the offender is using your work to turn a profit for him or herself, taking stronger action such as filing a lawsuit could be the best option for you.

Intellectual Property Attorneys in Winter Park

As a creator, you have the right to protect your intellectual property. If your intellectual property has been used without your consent in any way, contact Hornsby Law Group in Winter Park at 407-599-3800 to discuss your rights as an intellectual property owner and your legal options.

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