The term intellectual property describes a category of property that includes creations by the human mind. Essentially, it is something that manifests through an idea into something that has practical and tangible effects. The tangible form of a concept or idea can be assigned property rights. For instance, the idea of inserting something into a travel cup of coffee to prevent spills into the tangible product seen at Starbucks company called the Splash Stick. Another example is the idea of writing a document on a computer into a program such as MS Word®.
Since 2008, Boyer Law Firm’s intellectual property attorneys have provided excellent representation to businesses to protect their valuable intellectual property. We serve clients throughout Florida in securing U.S. trademarks and copyrights for companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals domestic and abroad.
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What is Intellectual Property Law?
Intellectual property law involves the laws designed to protect and enforce the rights of the creators and owners of intellectual property. Intellectual property can be a very valuable asset to an individual or business if adequately protected. Once properly identified and protected, the owners of the I.P. can market their work without competition from anyone else. As such, I.P. can add significant worth to your business, and it is something you should protect.
Depending on the type intellectual property involved, protecting it can range from a similar application to a complex procedure. At Boyer Law Firm, our attorneys handle trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.
Types of Intellectual Property Rights
Common types of Intellectual property rights include:
- Copyright – A Copyright is a legal right that gives the exclusive to make copies of creative work, usually for a limited period, and it may also apply to a wide range of creative expressions.
- Trademark or Service Mark – A Trademark is a recognizable design, sign, word or phrase that differentiates a particular trader from similar products or services of other merchants.
- Trade Secret – For a business or inventor, a trade secret is a practice, process, formula, instrument, pattern, design, or compilation of information, which is not known publicly, by which the company can accomplish an economic advantage over their competition and customers.
Who Owns Intellectual Property Rights?
Claiming ownership rights over intangible property is often difficult, which is why as early as 500 BCE, ancient Greece recognized a type of rights to the inventors. Today there are numerous laws to help protect the rights to intangible property both at the state and federal level.
The underlying principle regarding intellectual property law and I.P. ownership is that the ownership resides with its creator, inventor, or developer. However, the I.P. might be owned by a company or business if it was created on behalf of the industry in exchange for some form of compensation, including employment. It should be noted that I.P. rights heavily favor employers over employees.
Intellectual Property Business Advice
If you have a unique idea, you might be thinking about protecting it through a trademark, trade secret or copyright. However, there are several things to consider before taking the first step.
Meeting with a knowledgeable intellectual property attorney can save you time and money. After reviewing the information below, contact Boyer Law Firm in Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville to start your project.
Questions to Ask Yourself
When making any business choice, your plans must be clear and decisive. As attorneys with more than 15 years of experience advising Florida businesses through their intellectual property needs, we highly recommend that you ask yourself the following questions when considering protecting your idea:
- Does a market exist for my product or service?
Market research is essential to the success of your business. It is not wise to pursue protection for your intellectual property before researching your potential customer base, size of the market, and available alternatives to your product.
- Are there several components to my idea that should be protected?
It may take more than one trademark or copyright to cover all of the elements and versions of your product. At Boyer Law Firm, we can help you build a protective barrier around your idea so that no piece of it is left unprotected.
- Where do you want to fit in the future of your product or service?
There are many routes that a successful business can take and multiple ways that you can be involved. Will you be the CEO of a company? Or are you interested in seeking out other businesses to execute your idea? Identify where your passion lies. If you prefer a hands-off approach, our law firm can help you with a royalty arrangement.
- Do you need a non-disclosure agreement? If you are contemplating whether to protect your idea legally, you may need a non-disclosure agreement in the meantime. If you are going to reveal your product or service to someone, a non-disclosure agreement can provide temporary protection. Our lawyers can draft the contract for you and, if you decide to extend protection down the road, we can help you file the trademark, copyright, or trade secret.
If you are ready to gain protection for your intellectual property through registration, contact our lawyers at Boyer Law Firm.
Registering Your Trademark
At Boyer Law Firm, we work closely with inventors, entrepreneurs, and small to midsize businesses to transform their ideas into legal registrations. We have extensive experience working with every form of intellectual property in many different industries.
To speak with an attorney about registering your service, logo, or another intellectual property item, contact us. We have assisted countless businesses in obtaining protection for their valuable logos. At Boyer Law Firm, we work closely with small to midsize companies to transform their ideas into legal registrations.
We help our clients protect their invaluable intellectual property rights for works of expression and authorship. This includes helping clients protect their expressive works in art, literature, music and website content.
Preservation of Trade Secrets
For a business to maintain a competitive edge, it must protect confidential operational information from being leaked to the public. This information is sometimes cannot be covered with a trademark or copyright registration. Client lists, marketing plans, formulas, or recipes are a few examples of protectable trade secrets.
Our firm regularly composes, implements, and enforces non-disclosure agreements for clients. These agreements protect their confidential information and trade secrets when, during normal operations or specific projects, disclosing this information to employees, third-party suppliers, or collaborators is necessary.
Additionally, we advise clients on their rights and duties when subject to a non-disclosure agreement and have successfully litigated these issues on many occasions. By establishing trade secret policies and procedures, we help businesses avoid liability from accidental disclosures.
Confidentiality agreements must be prepared by lawyers to bind employees to comply with your demand to keep their knowledge private, or they will be legally liable for leaks of information.
Other common names for confidentiality agreements are:
- Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)
- Confidential disclosure agreement (CDA)
- Proprietary Information Agreement (PIA)
- Secrecy Agreement (S.A.)
Non-Compete Agreements and Protection Against Unfair Competition
As defined above, trade secrets carry a competitive advantage over competitors. The purpose of non-compete agreements is to prevent unfair competition. It is typically part of an employment contract where an employee agrees not to work for a direct competitor for a stated period of time after leaving the company. The agreement protects the company so that competitors will not have access to the confidential information you disclose to an employee for the time specified.
Licensing and Transfer of Intellectual Property Rights
An expanding component of Boyer Law Firm’s practice includes the licensing and transferring of various forms of intellectual property rights. These transactions range from licensing agreements to outright sales and assignments of trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights. Boyer Law Firm’s depth of experience in other forms of commercial transactions provides our clients with comprehensive representation in all aspects of an IP transaction, from planning to negotiation to documentation and closing.
Licensing Agreements for Intellectual Property Rights
Licensing grants a third-party partner with temporary access to your products for their use, branding, and distribution. Licensing agreements can define parameters of IP use, including but not limited to the quality of product, distribution process, and non-exclusivity clauses. For this reason, it is crucial to consult an experienced intellectual property lawyer to ensure that all aspects of IP protection are established in the contract.
Transfer of Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual Property transfers or assignments are a permanent transfer of IP rights. Specifically, you are permanently selling the rights to someone else. Assignments are typically made by way of employment or contractor agreements, such as in ‘work for hire’ contracts. Additionally, assignments are used when companies acquire the assets of other companies or when intellectual property is used as security for project financing. For example, a movie studio may secure financing by assigning movie rights in return for a loan. Most notably, the transfer of intellectual property rights must be in writing to be enforceable.
Franchising is often an effective form of distribution of goods and/or services sold or traded under your brand. Franchise sales in Florida are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Florida Franchise Act (“FFA”).
Our franchise attorneys help draft Florida and FTC-compliant:
- franchise disclosure documents
- franchise agreements
- master franchise agreements
- area development agreements
- all other ancillary documents necessary to protect your brand
Whether you are exploring franchising for the first time or a well-developed franchise system, our franchise attorneys can assist you in:
- document drafting
- complying with state franchise sale statutes
- managing franchisee relationships
- enforcing the franchise system
- overseeing various franchise transactions
Contact Us to Protect Your Trademark, Copyright, or Trade Secret.
To learn how we can help you with your trademark, trade secret, or copyright, contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. We can provide you with valuable advice on protecting your business property.
Offices in Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville.