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Glossary of Intellectual Property Law Terms | TR&R

IP Law Glossary – Common Terms and Definitions in IP Law

Attorney -- A person who is admitted to practice law in one or more jurisdictions and is authorized to conduct criminal and civil legal activities on behalf of clients.  These activities can include providing legal counsel, drafting legal documents, and representing clients before courts or administrative agencies.  An intellectual property attorney specializes in IP Law relating to patents, trade secrets, trademarks and copyrights.

Copyright -- protection granted to authors of original works including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, and computer software, as well as performing artistic performances, musical recordings, radio and television broadcasts. A work that is created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is given a term of copyright protection enduring for the lifetime of the artist plus an additional 70 years after the artist's death. In the case of "a joint work prepared by two or more artists who did not work for hire," the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving artist's death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the artist's identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter. Copyright registration may be done by an attorney specializing in IP Law.

Copyright Registration -- the process and result of preparing and submitting Form CO with the U.S. Copyright Office.  While not required for copyright protection, copyright registration is necessary before a court action may be brought to stop infringement.  In the event of an infringement action, the owner of a registered copyright is presumed to be the rightful owner, with the ability to collect statutory damages and attorney fees.

Copyright Attorney – an IP Law attorney with experience and expertise in Copyright Law. Copyright Law -- the area of IP Law dealing with intellectual property rights to literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works (including musical, video and artistic performances), as well as computer software.

Copyright Lawyer -- an attorney specializing in Copyright Law.  See Copyright Attorney.

General Counsel -- the senior lawyer or head of the legal department in a corporation or other organization.  Many small businesses outsource their legal work by obtaining General Counsel Services from law firms like Taylor Russell & Russell.

Intellectual Property (IP) -- the unique and non-obvious product of human intellect that has marketplace value.  IP Law is the legal specialty dealing with the protection of intellectual property.  According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), intellectual property is divided into two categories: 1) Industrial Property: including inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and 2) Copyright (Library/Artistic Property): including literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, text and images on a website, architectural designs, scientific publications, and artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, as well as artistic performances, musical recordings, radio and television broadcasts.

Intellectual Property Attorney -- an IP Law attorney with specific training and experience in Intellectual Property Law.  Intellectual property attorneys also have subject matter expertise (in technology, literature, music, etc.) and practical business experience which enables them to properly evaluate and enhance the value of the client’s inventions, discoveries or literary works.

Intellectual Property Lawyer -- an attorney with specialized training and experience in IP Law who works with clients to obtain, preserve and enhance the value of patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets.  See also Intellectual Property Attorney.

Intellectual Property Law (IP Law) -- field of law which addresses the rights of ownership of ideas, inventions, trade secrets, processes, programs, data, formulas, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trade dress, service marks or trademarks, and the legal or illegal use of this property.  An IP law firm often has specialists in the major fields of IP Law: Copyright, Patent, Trademark, Trade Secrets and Licensing.

Intellectual Property Rights -- exclusive rights granted to the creator or holder to the intellectual property for varying lengths of time, depending upon the type of intellectual property.  In the United States, patent and trademark Intellectual Property rights are overseen by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, while copyright IP rights are overseen by the the United States Copyright Office.  Internationally, the World Intellectual Property Organization promotes the protection of intellectual property throughout the world through cooperation among countries and in collaboration with other international organizations.

International Business Law -- also known as International Trade Law, refers to the laws, regulations and processes governing business between corporations and individuals in different countries.  The World Trade Organization (WTO), established in 1995, is a global international organization dealing with rules of trade between nations (International Trade Law).  The WTO helps resolve dispute issues arising from international trade agreements siuch as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and also IP Law issues stemming from the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.

Internet Law -- also known as Cyberlaw, is the field of law dealing with the creation, distribution and use of information on the Internet.  Austin IP Law firm TR&R specializes in the portion of Internet Law pertaining to the establishment, protection and enhancement of intellectual property rights on the Internet.

Invention -- a new device, process or composition.  To be patentable, an invention must be useful, novel, and unobvious.

IP -- Intellectual Property.  According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), "IP refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. IP is divided into two categories:  Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs.  Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs."

IP Attorney – An attorney specializing in IP Law.  See Intellectual Property Attorney and Intellectual Property Lawyer.

IP Law -- See Intellectual Property Law.

IP Lawyer – An attorney specializing in IP Law.   See Intellectual Property Lawyer and Intellectual Property Attorney.

IP Rights -- See Intellectual Property Rights.

Licensing Agreements -- Owners of patents, copyrights or trademarks may allow another party to use this intellectual property, in exchange for a royalty or other consideration, by executing licensing agreements.  These agreements typically specify the technology or product being licensed, the permitted use of the IP, geographical restrictions, term of the agreement, and payment terms.

Litigation Support -- In the field of IP Law, litigation support refers to legal services provided to a plaintiff or defendant to a law suit involving a patent, trademark, copyright or trade secret.   TR&R provides litigation support to United States and International clients.

Patent -- the right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing an invention or discovery.  Patents last for 20 years (and are renewable), and can be registered in foreign countries.

Patent Agent -- a non-attorney who can prepare and file patent applications.  Patent agents typically have a technical education in engineering, chemistry or physics; and must pass the USPTO registration examination.

Patent Application -- a document submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to request the grant of exclusive intellectual property rights to an invention.

Patent Attorney -- an attorney with specialized patent legal training and experience in Patent Law (and IP Law generally) who assists clients in preparing, filing and prosecution of a patent application; as well as providing patentability opinions, filing oppositions to patents, and assisting with Technology Licensing.  A patent attorney is licensed to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  A patent attorney has the requisite qualifications necessary for representing clients trying to obtain patents and preserve the intellectual property rights embodied in those patents.

Patent Cooperation Treaty -- see PCT.

Patent Infringement
-- third party manufacture and/or use of an invention for which someone else owns a patent, without obtaining permission of the patent holder via contract, license or waiver.  In general, an infringing party will be liable to the owner of the patent for profits made from the use of the invention, as well as any harm which can be demonstrated.

Patent Law -- the branch of IP Law which deals with the IP rights ascribed to inventions.  The Constitution of the United States gives Congress the power to enact laws relating to patents in Article I, Section 8 which reads "Congress shall have the power . . . to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive rights to their inventions and discoveries."  Under this power Congress has from time to time enacted various laws relating to patents.  Taylor Russell & Russell has patent attorneys with expertise in Patent Law -- as well as practical business experience in engineering, software development and marketing -- which enable TR&R to obtain the maximum scope and value for clients in patent applications, patent prosecution and defense against patent infringement.

Patent Lawyer – An IP Law attorney specializing in patents.  See Patent Attorney or Patent Agent.  

PCT -- The Patent Cooperation Treaty enables patent applicants to file one international patent application in a receiving office (in the United States the receiving office is the United States Patent and Trademark Office) and have that application acknowledged as a regular or regional filing in as many contracting states (countries that have signed the PCT) as the applicant selects.  The filing date of the PCT application automatically becomes the filing date in any of the elected countries.  The PCT also provides for an international search report and written opinion (for international applications filed on or after January, 1, 2004) that are established normally at 16 months from the priority date, and publication of the international application 18 months from the priority date.  Upon payment of national fees and the furnishing of any required translation, usually 30 months after the filing of any priority application for the invention, or the international filing date if no priority is claimed, the application will be subjected to national procedures for the granting of patents in each of the designated countries. 

-- The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce which issues patents and registers trademarks to inventors and businesses.  The USPTO cooperates with the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), and the patent offices of other countries to address intellectual property issues which arise in International Business Law.

Service Mark -- a trademark which identifies a service, as opposed to a product.  Service marks must meet the same standards of distinctiveness as product trademarks, but are used in trade dress, uniforms, vehicles, displays or advertising.

Taylor Russell & Russell -- an IP Law firm specializing in Patent Law, Trademark Law and Copyright Law.  In addition to expertise in Intellectual Property Law, each TR&R patent attorney, trademark lawyer and copyright attorney has practical experience in developing and bringing technology to market to maximize the value of clients╒ intellectual property rights.   Taylor Russell & Russell is located in Austin, TX and provides IP Law services to clients throughout the United States.

Technology Licensing
-- an agreement through which an IP holder, including a patent holder, enables another party to design and/or market a product which embodies the patent owner's technology.  Technology licensing is typically done in exchange for a licensing fee (fixed or per unit), or in exchange for a reciprocal technology license.

Trademark -- a logo, name, symbol, color, sound, words or other device used to distinguish a product or service of one person or business from that of another.  Trademark protection in the United States lasts for 10 years from the date of registration, and is renewable.   Foreign trademarks have similar terms of protection.  Trademark applications and prosecutions are conducted by trademark attorneys with experience and specialization in IP Law.

Trademark Application -- a document filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requesting a Registered Trademark for a distinguishing phrase, slogan, logo, emblem or device.   A Taylor Russell & Russell trademark attorney can assist an individual or corporation with trademark search, trademark application filing, and protection of trademark rights.

Trademark Attorney – an IP lawyer specializing in obtaining, enhancing and defending the intellectual property rights associated with trademarks and service marks.  A trademark attorney assists clients with trademark registration and trademark enforcement.

Trademark Law -- the subspecialty of IP Law pertaining to the establishment, registration and protection of a logo, emblem, distinguishing design or wording which differentiates the trademark holder from other businesses or individuals.  Federal trademarks last as long as they are actively used, and may up-dated re-registered.

Trademark Lawyer -- see Trademark Attorney.

Trade Secret -- a formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which gives a company a tangible advantage over its competitors.  Trade secrets are covered by both state and federal laws.  

TR&R -- The Taylor Russell & Russell law firm.  Located in Austin, TX, TR&R patent attorneys, copyright lawyers and trademark attorneys provide IP Law services to companies throughout the United States.  TR&R intellectual property lawyers have business experience and legal expertise in licensing, trade secrets, Internet Law, government contracts, international business law, litigation support and general counsel services.

United States Copyright Office -- a division of the Library of Congress which is responsible for administering and sustaining copyrights for U.S. creative works.  Applications for Registered Copyrights are submitted to the USCO, along with the filing fee and a copy of the copyrighted work.

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
-- a Federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce which is responsible for granting U.S. patents and registering U.S. trademarks.