Intellectual Property Law​

Intellectual Property Attorneys in Phoenix, AZ

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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property is a unique legal category that consists of original ideas, product designs, processes, and more. Examples of intellectual property may include photographs, artwork, software, medical treatments, inventions, company logos, taglines, and any of a wide variety of things of this nature. These things are much more than simple ideas where intellectual property law is concerned; they are what make businesses and individuals with business interests unique and separate them from their competition. As the business and consumer world constantly shifts, intellectual property can be the most valuable asset an individual or business owns.

Intellectual Property Law

Helping You Understand Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property consists of four major categories:

Patents

Patents protect both processes and tangible inventions that are new and non-obvious. If an individual applies for and is issued a patent, he or she is granted the exclusive right to market, produce, sell, and commercialize that process or product. However, those exclusive rights are not only difficult to obtain but do not exist in perpetuity. It often requires a skilled intellectual property attorney to obtain the patent and protect the rights secured thereby.

Trademarks

Trademarks protect logos, brands, slogans, and other specific identifications that a company or brand may use. Trademarks prevent anyone who is not the owner from using a given mark in connection with a commercially offered good or service. Examples of trademarks include phrases like “Just Do It” and the swoosh logo on athletic shoes, both of which are associated with the Nike company. Combatting trademark infringement is a complex task that often requires the assistance of experienced Phoenix intellectual property lawyers.

Copyrights

Copyrights are intellectual property protections for works of art. This includes books, music, photographs, speeches, plays, movies, and more. With a copyright, the author or creator has the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display, perform, or otherwise derive other ideas from their creation. Although the author gets a copyright automatically upon creating a new work, they cannot use the legal protections afforded by the Copyright Act unless and until they register the work, which frequently necessitates the assistance of a knowledgeable intellectual property attorney.

Trade Secrets

One of the most difficult forms of intellectual property to protect is a trade secret, which can be loosely defined as a proprietary way in which businesses seek advantages over their competitors. More specifically, trade secrets are information that the owners make reasonable efforts to keep secret, and they must have some form of economic value due to their secret status. A good example of a trade secret would be the recipe used to create a specific product like Coca-Cola. Trade secrets are often the most valuable assets that a company possesses and an experienced intellectual property attorney can help advise you on how to maintain the trade secrets and utilize them for commercial gain without compromising their legal status.

Intellectual Property Infringement

Because intellectual property is an important component of an individual’s current and future success, it must be correctly and competently protected from others’ attempts to infringe upon it. Intellectual property lawsuits arise when other people knowingly or unknowingly attempt to use someone else’s intellectual property in a way that diminishes or damages the property’s value.

Competing businesses or individuals may attempt to use the positive influence of a piece of intellectual property for their own profit. For example, a jewelry store may decide to use Tiffany blue boxes for their products, which would infringe upon the trademark Tiffany holds for that specific shade of blue in the context of jewelry sales. Depending on which area of intellectual property law is violated, intellectual property infringement may look different. Here are some examples of types of intellectual property infringement Gillespie, Shields & Taylor can handle.

Trademark Infringement

Because these slogans, logos, or other types of identifiers are what create brand recognition, infringement cases often arise when another entity attempts to create a brand identifier that is too similar to an existing one and causes confusion for what the court considers a “reasonable consumer.” For example, if Nike uses the swoosh logo on its shoes to identify its brand, but another shoe company uses a similarly-shaped check mark on the side of its shoes, it could be considered infringement. In this case, the seemingly similar design pattern could cause a reasonable consumer to be confused about whether those particular shoes were in fact made by Nike. The skilled intellectual property attorneys at Gillespie, Shields & Taylor can help you pursue recourse if someone infringes upon your trademark rights.

Patent Infringement

If you hold a patent for a design or a process, you have the right to authorize it for use by others or retain all patented activities for your own benefit. However, this protection lasts only for a limited time and requires the patent holder to keep up with appropriate application and maintenance fees. Patent infringement lawsuits are among the most difficult types of litigation, but an experienced attorney can help you determine whether infringement has taken place and protect your patent rights in court.

Copyright Infringement

When an original work is reproduced without the permission of the creator, whether they are a songwriter, author, painter, photographer or other creative artist, it is considered a copyright infringement. However, some conduct that would otherwise be infringement is allowed, such as fair use or in cases of a parody. A knowledgeable intellectual property attorney can help you determine whether you need to register your work with the United States Copyright Office, whether a later work infringes upon a prior work, and whether to file an infringement action in District Court.

Trade Secret Misappropriation

Some information is commercially useful only so long as it remains confidential, prompting the owner to protect that information as a trade secret. Trade secrets are protected by tools such as limiting access to the information and binding anyone who learns the secret to confidentiality through the use of a non-disclosure agreement. Trade secret misappropriation occurs when a trade secret is disclosed wrongfully or without the owner’s consent. If you have experienced a loss due to trade secret misappropriation, contact an intellectual property attorney in Phoenix to learn your next steps.

Cyber Privacy Violations

Sometimes a person’s privacy is violated through electronic means, such as when a company uses your personal information for an unauthorized purpose, or when your personal data is stolen because a company used insufficient safeguards to protect it. This could take the form of trade secret theft, misappropriation of customer information, and more. It is critical to know what the law requires, how to comply with those requirements, and what to do in the event of a data breach.

Cyber-Stalking, Harassment, and Revenge Pornography Violations

Gillespie, Shields & Taylor can also help people with cyber-stalking, harassment, and revenge porn cases. Cyber-stalking laws may apply in many situations, including if your home wifi was hacked, if you’ve received strange direct messages, emails, texts, or phone calls, or if you think somebody is otherwise following your online activity. Depending on the nature of the contact, anti-harassment laws can protect both adults and students – especially when it comes to peer or school bullying.

We can also help you seek justice for revealing photographs or videos shared without your permission, known as revenge porn. A skilled intellectual property attorney can help you use copyright law to secure legal rights to the photos/videos, then submit copyright infringement notices to the people or websites in question to force their removal. Arizona’s revenge porn statute can provide further legal basis to support the removal of unauthorized content.

Cyber Squatting

Cyber-squatting is a specific type of trademark infringement. It occurs when a person registers a website with an address confusingly similar to that of a well-known brand. For example, if the owner of a used car lot purchased the internet domain www.ford.net, and then attempted to pass that business off as the well-known Ford Motor Co., that would be cyber-squatting. The law provides strong safeguards and it is important to know them so that you can select domain names that will not violate the rights of others. It is also critical to know that you can take legal action when others register internet domains that appear likely to siphon off your customers.

Intellectual Property Litigation

If you feel your intellectual property rights have been violated, or if you are accused of intellectual property infringement, it is important to secure the services of an intellectual property attorney. At Gillespie, Shields & Taylor our skilled intellectual property attorneys can help you take the necessary steps to secure your intellectual property and prevent others from eroding its value. Typically, these steps occur as a part of the intellectual property litigation process.

If it becomes evident infringement has occurred, our attorneys can take one or more of the following actions:

    • Sending a cease-and-desist letter that explains the facts and controlling law before demanding that the offending party stop the violation.
    • If the infringement persists, seeking a temporary restraining order or pursuing injunctive relief.
    • If the infringement resulted in financial gain for the entity in violation, filing a civil action to recover that which was wrongfully gained.
    • If the infringement had negative impacts on the business such as diminishing profits or loss of customers as a result of the violation, obtaining a judgment to reimburse the business for those losses.
Intellectual Property Litigation

Each intellectual property infringement circumstance is unique and requires a careful and thorough review of the evidence and details involved. Our attorneys will review your case to inform you of the next steps necessary to obtain a positive resolution.

Other Intellectual Property Legal Services We Provide

When it comes to protecting your intellectual property, our team maintains a strict focus on helping you through every stage of your case. From pre-launch planning to integrating your property into your brand to legal actions that protect your rights, we can help you ensure your property retains its value. Outside of intellectual property litigation, our services include:

Trademark Registration

When you select a trademark, it is your responsibility to ensure that your chosen mark does not violate anyone else’s pre-existing rights. Your brand name, logo, and catchphrase are crucial ways to build brand recognition and loyalty. We can help you work with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to ensure your trademarks are registered and protected.

We can register trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to have imports of counterfeit products seized and destroyed at ports of entry.

Copyright Registration

If you create an original work of authorship, such as music, literature, photography, or other such creations, we can help you register your work with the United States Copyright Office. Registering the copyright is an important prerequisite to licensing or selling the work and is required before you may maintain a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Licensing Agreements

Oftentimes, the purpose of creating and registering intellectual property is so that it can be licensed or sold to others. We can prepare and negotiate licensing contracts and assignment of rights agreements such as those commonly used in book publications, employment contracts, performing artists, or movie rights.

Non-Solicitation Agreements, Non-Disclosure Agreements, Non-Compete Contracts, and Trade Secret Protection

If you operate a business, it is crucial to protect the unique people, proprietary information, and processes that make you successful. However, everyone who interacts with your organization is a potential threat to the customers, employees, data, and trade secrets you hold dear. We can help you create the necessary legal avenues to protect your business through the use of trade secret protections, non-disclosure agreements, non-compete contracts, and non-solicitation agreements.

Technology Contracts and Agreements

If your intellectual property incorporates technology, such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or collects user data, such as health and fitness apps, you will need a variety of terms and conditions, privacy policies, disclaimers, purchase agreements, and licensing agreements to get the service to function correctly. Our intellectual property attorneys can help explain what you need, guide you through the process, and set up your product or service for success.

Our attorneys are well-qualified to represent you in any of these areas, as well as many others. From contract negotiations, to issuing and responding to copyright violation notices, to defending you against infringement, Gillespie, Shields & Taylor has the intellectual property services you need to succeed.

 We can help clients comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Christopher Ingle, Esq.

Christopher Ingle, Esq.

During his legal career, Mr. Ingle has represented a diverse array of clients, ranging from individuals and small business to multinational corporations and government entities. His practice focuses on intellectual property, litigation, commercial transactions, social media, and new technology. He is admitted to practice in the Arizona Supreme Court and all lower courts, Arizona District Court, Arizona Bankruptcy Court, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. At a prior law firm, Mr. Ingle served as chair of the Intellectual Property practice group, and before that he had also chaired a Cyberlaw practice group. In 2018 Arizona Business Journal selected him as one of the Top 100 Attorneys in Arizona, and in 2017 Thomson Reuters selected him to receive Super Lawyer and Rising Star status.

Learn More About Christopher Ingle, Esq.

Top Phoenix Intellectual Property & Copyright Lawyers

Intellectual property services from the attorneys at Gillespie, Shields & Taylor ensure you have access to the skilled legal acumen you need to establish your intellectual property, protect it, and bring it to market. If infringement occurs, our attorneys can help you pursue litigation to rectify the situation. For more information about how you can protect your intellectual property, prevent liability, or pursue litigation, contact our offices to request a consultation.

Top Phoenix Intellectual Property & Copyright Lawyers

Intellectual Property FAQs

Intellectual property services from the attorneys at Gillespie, Shields & Taylor ensure you have access to the skilled legal acumen you need to establish your intellectual property, protect it, and bring it to market. If infringement occurs, our attorneys can help you pursue litigation to rectify the situation. For more information about how you can protect your intellectual property, prevent liability, or pursue litigation, contact our offices to request a consultation.

What Is Intellectual Property Law?

Intellectual property law protects things that you create. If you write a story, or choreograph a dance, or invent a new device, then you have created intellectual property. The law gives special protections to intellectual property to encourage people to develop and share their ideas. Attorneys practicing intellectual property law can help you ensure these special protections are not violated and take legal action when they are.

What Is the Difference Between a Patent Attorney and an IP Solicitor?

A patent attorney will typically help a person prosecute (register) a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and may represent a client in hearings before the USPTO, but rarely goes to court. An IP solicitor, by contrast, is an attorney who spends a lot of time going to court for intellectual property litigation cases, but would not necessarily help people create or register their intellectual property.

What Are the 4 Types of Intellectual Property?

The four major types of intellectual property are patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Protecting each of these types of intellectual property is key in ensuring your success. Contact an intellectual property attorney to learn more about these protections.

What Is the Most Common Violation of Intellectual Property?

Copyright infringement is likely the most common violation of intellectual property laws. The internet makes it easy to post content for the world to see, but people often use this pre-existing content to make their own original works, often violating IP laws. For example, creators and influencers on social media often use snippets of songs or movie clips so they can reference an existing work. This leads to many copyright violation notices, which mostly originate from automated systems that constantly scan the internet looking for anything that matches their database of protected works.

What Are the Limitations on Intellectual Property?

There are many – probably too many to list- but the most obvious is time. Patents generally expire after 20 years, and copyrights last for the life of the author plus 90 years. Trademarks can theoretically last forever, but they must be continually used in commerce. However, even trademark rights can be extinguished if the trademark owner is not diligent about preventing others from misappropriating the mark.

Another important limitation is the purpose for using the work, as copyrighted material can be used for certain purposes in certain situations. In addition, trademarks that exist in one industry do not generally carry over into other industries. There is also a distinction between commercial use and personal use.

Who Enforces Intellectual Property Rights?

Most often, the owner of the intellectual property has the obligation to ensure it is not infringed upon. However, some forms of intellectual property are protected by the government. For example, US Customs and Border Control is responsible for inspecting and seizing counterfeit goods being imported into the United States. Also, the federal government sometimes gets involved in trade secret misappropriation cases, such as when national security interests are at stake. Sometimes intellectual property rights will even be enforced by third party companies like Google, which is obligated to remove copyrighted material from its search results upon the issuance of a copyright violation notice, commonly referred to as a DMCA notice.

How Can Intellectual Property be Protected?

The best way to protect your intellectual property is to talk with an attorney before you begin your project. Sometimes, there are rules that a person would not ordinarily know about, such as the requirement that you apply for a patent within one year of commercially unveiling an invention to the public. Beyond that, intellectual property is often protected by registering it with the government, which typically confers a registrant with exclusive rights to the work for a certain amount of time. Sometimes intellectual property is protected by policies, procedures, and contracts, such as those used in connection with trade secrets.

What Intellectual Property Cannot be Protected?

Naturally-occurring phenomena cannot be patented. In the context of trademarks, terms that are generic or merely descriptive cannot be protected. The intent of this distinction is to ensure common sense; for example, if you called your restaurant “Hamburgers” and then forbade everyone else from using that term, it would become difficult or impossible for anyone else to actually sell a hamburger.

Insightful Intellectual Property Law Articles

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