Types of Property in US Law
1. Personal Property
first type is personal property, such as your toothbrush and your
computer your car, you coat, your lawn chair, your purse, you camera,
you golf shoes, your CDs. If someone steals your laptop computer, you
can press charges for theft and have them arrested. You can also bring
a civil suit against the thief to get monetary compensation for your
2. Real Property
second type of property is real property - that's your house, the land
it sits on, commercial buildings, etc. If you are a real property
owner, you get a deed. Your deed provides proof of ownership. The deed
gives you the owner, the right to exclude others from using your
property. If someone tries to take your house from you, you can
show that you are the owner and stop a someone from stealing your house.
3. Intellectual Property
third type of property that is not as well recognized by the general
public is Intellectual Property. Many people are not absolutely certain
what the term intellectual property means. If you are one of
those people do not be embarrassed – many attorneys who do not practice
in this area do not know exactly what is involved in intellectual
property. I’ll explain it to you.
Intellectual Property is
often referred to in short form by the acronym "IP". Sometimes
"IP" is confused with IP ("Internet Protocol") in the computer industry.
(that is Intellectual Property) is a body of law that includes
copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, undeveloped ideas,
unfair competition, and right of publicity. It's helpful to think of IP
overall as a big umbrella, with the individual protections (copyrights,
trademarks, patents, etc.) each being a spoke of the umbrella. Each of
these IP legal protections is briefly described below. Copyrights can
be federally registered with the United States Copyright Office.
Trademarks and patentable inventions can be federally registered with
the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Federal
registration of these Intellectual Property rights - copyright,
trademark, and patent, affords certain legal protections throughout the
United States to the registered owner. Some forms of IP are also
protected under state law. Intellectual Property protections also exist
in many foreign countries.
Intellectual Property deals with
one's ideas and inventions - more simply put, it deals with products of
the mind or intellect - things like books, songs, choreography, movies,
photographs, books, catchy names for businesses, new kinds of Christmas
tree lights and paintings If someone steals your song, you can sue them
for money. In some cases you can bring criminal charges against a "song
thief". When someone steals intellectual property, we call it
I will help you protect and manage your intellectual property through:
Cease and desist letters
Settlement Negotiations for infringement casesm Licensing
Responses to Trademark Office Actions
Rights of Publicity
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) litigation
Entertainment law is an area of law is an area of law that deals
routinely with copyright and trademarks.
Why is Intellectual Property Important?
the only thing that is simple in discussing intellectual property is
answering the question, "Why is Intellectual Property Important?" The
simple answer is money. That’s why Michael Jackson bought the
rights to the Beatles music -megabucks!
Property is a very complex area of the law. Because the subject is
complex, I offer in everyday English, a mini-lesson overview of the
legal protections provided by Intellectual Property law.
Intellectual Property protectable rights include:
Rights of Publicity
Sounds confusing, you say? Here’s an example that makes it simple:
CD Intellectual Property DEMO
a song recorded on a CD, which contains words (i.e., lyrics) and
musical sound that, in addition to being on the CD, that has also have
been published in sheet music which contains the music notation and
lyrics. The CD, which is just a plastic disk and the sheet of paper are
tangible means of expressing the music. A blank plastic disk or a sheet
paper are virtually worthless, yet add sounds and lyrics and “voila”
you have intellectual property. The CD could contain the
intellectual products of a lyricist, a musician, and an artist who
designed the CD jacket cover – each respectively holding a copyright.
It is the Intellectual Property that gives the CD value. Instead of the
CD being worth only mere pennies for the blank plastic disc, the CD's
worth will be whatever someone is willing to pay for the music embedded
in it, perhaps $15.00 or more. That's why IP is valuable.
copyright gives its owner the right to prevent others from copying a
work that is fixed in a tangible means of expression. Tangible means
something that can be experienced with one or more of our five senses
(sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch). Examples of "fixed
expressions” of ideas are books, CDs, sculptures, photographs,
architect drawings, sheet music, dress patterns, videos, etc. Copyright
does not protect the idea itself, only the manner in which the idea is
tangibly expressed. An example of a work that is copyrighted is
this page that you are now reading and all other pages of my web-site.
The way I have chosen to express my professional explanation of IP law
is different than how another attorney would express his or her
explanation. Nothing prevents another attorney from writing his
or her own explanation of IP.
indicate the source of origin of a goods/products or a services. A
famous Trademark for a product is McDonald's® (the R means the
trademark is federally registered). When we see the McDonald's name or
the distinctive golden arches, most of us can immediately envision a
certain type of hamburger. Slogans can also be a trademarked. One of my
trademarks is "Law Before You Leap”.
patent protects an invention. There are three types of patents:
utility, plant, and design. Inventions can be simple, like the safety
pin, or complex, like a microprocessor chip for a space shuttle. A
patent gives its owner a monopoly on an invention for a fixed period of
years. Utility patents are granted a longer monopoly than plant or
design patents. Historically in the United States, to patent an
invention, an invention must be conceived by the person seeking the
Trade Secrets is dead give-away – it’s an idea you keep secret – and if
you follow certain legal precautions, if someone tells and/or uses your
trade secret, you can sue them. One of the most famous trade
secrets taught in law school is the recipe for Coca Cola – it’s over
100 years a secret and only a select group of people are allowed to
know the secret recipe.
competition is sort of a net that captures a variety of business
conduct that is or can be construed to be legally unfair. The
"unfairness" is just a polite way of saying that in the marketplace,
one's commercial competitors can gain or attempt to gain advantage by
dishonesty - in other words they sometimes slander, mislead, deceive,
lie, cheat and steal. The unfair competition legal terms that cover
these various forms of "unfairness" are: passing off, false
advertising, misappropriation, false light, product disparagement,
misrepresentation, fraud, product dilution, and trademark cyber
squatting. Sometimes an unfair competition claim can even be made when
someone negatively impacts another person's business by behavior that
may have nothing to do with an intent to gain commercial advantage over
the competitor. An interesting example of an "unfair competition" claim
was when the meat industry sued Oprah for talking badly about meat
allegedly contaminated by mad cow's disease. In the lawsuit, the meat
industry claimed that Oprah showed beef to be in "false light" -
suggesting it was bad to eat.
law includes not only copyright and trademark concerns, but also
contract and licensing law. I am a master of contracts of all
types. Trust me when I say that I have never reviewed an
entertainment contract that did not “the screws to” the artist.
Entertainment law is an area of law is an area of law that deals
routinely deal with intellectual property - with copyright ,
trademarks, and rights of publicity and also incorporates most
aspects of business law – especially contracts, licensing and
Right of Publicity
know you know you cannot make money off of someone else’s likeness or
image. What that means is just because you love Michael Jordan,
you cannot open a restaurant in his name. Somebody tried that –
Jordan sued them – guess who won? Jordan.
Undeveloped and Underdeveloped Ideas
are of law is really still underdevelopment (pun intended).
Largely, “underdeveloped;” ideas are protected through contract law.
an experienced intellectual property attorney, I am knowledgeable in
copyright, trademark and patent matters. I can help you protect the
value of your idea or invention with proactive planning so you can
avoid litigation. In a competitive environment, if you don't protect
your intellectual property, I will secure your international and
domestic registration for your copyrights and trademarks - for example
filing trademarks under the Madrid Protocol. I will represent you in
international arbitration, mediation, and litigation. I will
collaborate with appropriate foreign and domestic patent attorneys for
Patent Cooperation Treaty filings.
AIntellectual Property Licensing or
Transfer of Rights
your secure legal protection for your intellectual property, especially
through federal registration such as obtaining a copyright registration
certificate, trademark registration or grant of letter, there are
three ways that you can make money from your invention you can
use the right to sell or r conduct business on your own, you can
license your right to use the intellectual property to someone, or you
can sell them the entirety of your right in the intellectual
International Intellectual Property
your intellectual property attorney, I will safeguard your work during
international arbitration, mediation, and litigation and I can secure
for you international protections for intellectual property. I handle
Madrid Protocol trademark filing and consultation and collaborate with
appropriate foreign and domestic patent attorneys for Patent
Cooperation Treaty filing.
Contact Me for All Intellectual
Attorney experienced in business and entertainment arts
Call or stop by my convenient suburban location in Westmont, Illinois
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