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Intellectual Property - An Overview

At the law firm of Sanders & Parks, our attorneys are committed to helping you protect your intellectual property. In addition to offering you assistance in protecting your ideas and creations, we want to offer you guidance on how to maximize their value. Our lawyers have been helping people in Phoenix, Arizona, and nationwide for more than 30 years. From intellectual property registration to intellectual property litigation, our experience can work for you.

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Intellectual Property - An Overview

Intellectual property law regulates the reproduction of creative and original works. When a work qualifies for protection, its author or creator has the right to exclude others from copying, distributing or otherwise using the work for economic benefit. Generally, intellectual property can be transferred, regulated and protected like other forms of property. The four primary areas of intellectual property are:

  • Copyright: protects an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression, such as a book, computer program, graphic artwork or motion picture
  • Patent: protects a novel, useful and non-obvious invention, process or design
  • Trade secret: protects confidential business information, including a computer programming code or other business formula, that gives its owner an advantage over other businesses
  • Trademark: protects a word, symbol, name or other designation of a product or service

If you have questions about copyrights, patents, trade secrets or trademarks, contact an experienced intellectual property attorney from Sanders & Parks, P.C. in Phoenix, AZ.

The Purpose of Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property law is specifically designed to reward authors, inventors and creators for their ingenuity and creativity. In addition, these rights are intended to support a free-flowing exchange of information and ideas, encouraging constant improvement in industry and the arts.

Regulation by Federal, State and International Law

Depending on the subject matter of the work, intellectual property rights are protected under a combination of state, federal and even international law. The U.S. Constitution recognizes intellectual property in the Patent and Copyright Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8), giving Congress the power to provide authors and inventors a limited monopoly on their work for the purpose of advancing science and the arts. Likewise, trade secrets and trademark law find their origins in the common law.

As the global marketplace emerged in the 20th century, the need for international protection of intellectual property came to the forefront of global trade discussions. In response to this need, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was created within the United Nations to monitor, regulate and control matters of intellectual property worldwide.

Intellectual Property and Unfair Competition

Intellectual property law also works to eliminate unfair competition in commercial markets. Trademark infringement, trade secret misappropriation and deceptive marketing practices stifle the ability to compete in the marketplace. While trademark law specifically has roots in unfair competition law, the philosophy behind unfair competition law informs all areas of intellectual property. Unfair competition law proscribes numerous acts, including: the deceptive marketing of goods through either misrepresentation or "passing off" one's goods as those of another; false advertising that confuses consumers and causes a business to lose sales; criticism of another's goods through false or deceptive statements, causing intentional economic harm; wrongfully using a known trademark to market a product; and misappropriating a competitor's property rights for one's own benefit.

Speak to a Lawyer

The laws of intellectual property and unfair competition together seek to eliminate dishonest commercial practices and ensure the expansion of markets and the ideas that drive them. If you have questions regarding intellectual property law, contact an attorney at Sanders & Parks, P.C. in Phoenix, AZ, who has the experience to assist you.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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