Do you have a unique idea or product that you want to ensure is kept safe? Intellectual property can be one of the most valuable assets of a business, but it is rarely protected without seeking legal advice. To get started, understanding the basics of New York intellectual property law is essential.

The state of New York grants special protections to patents, trademarks, and copyrights, which are all forms of intellectual property. Intellectual property protects the creative and innovative works of companies, organizations, and individual creators. Each type of intellectual property is treated differently and the New York laws vary from federal standards in technical ways. In this article, we'll cover the basics of patent, trademark, and copyright law in New York, as well as how long each form of protection lasts.

What is Patent Law?

Patent law is a legal system that grants and provides protection for new, innovative, and unique inventions. A patent grants the owner exclusive rights to make, use, and sell their invention. Additionally, patent owners can prevent others from making, using, or selling their invention without express permission.

In the United States, patent law is set forth by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Patents can be filed with the USPTO for inventions that are novel, useful, and non-obvious. Patentable inventions include machines, processes, articles of manufacture, and compositions of matter, as well as improvements of existing inventions.

Once a patent is granted, the patent holder has exclusive rights for 20 years from the date of filing. Once the 20-year period has ended, the patent is said to have expired and the rights are no longer enforceable. Patent rights are only enforceable within the jurisdiction in which the patent holder has applied and been granted.

What is Trademark Law?

Trademark law is a legal system that provides protection for words, symbols, designs, and colors that distinguish a brand from competitors. A trademark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression that identifies products or services. Trademarks can be brand names, logos, and slogans.

In the United States, trademark law is set forth by the USPTO. Trademarks must be registered with the USPTO to qualify for protection. To qualify for registration, a mark must be distinctive and uniquely recognizable. Additionally, the mark must be associated with a product or service, used in interstate commerce, and not be associated with a generic good or service.

Unlike patents, trademarks can remain in use indefinitely, as long as they are being actively used. If a trademark is abandoned, it can expire and then be reused by another business. Trademark rights are only enforceable within the jurisdiction in which the trademark holder has applied and been granted.

What is Copyright Law?

Copyright law is a legal system that provides protection for original works, such as literary works, artistic works, sound recordings, and photographs. A copyright provides the creator exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, adapt, and perform the work, as well as to assign or transfer any of these rights to another.

In the United States, copyright law is set forth by the US Copyright Office. Copyrights do not have to be registered with the Copyright Office, but doing so provides extra protection.

Unlike trademark law, copyright law is not based on the recognition or distinctiveness of a work. Instead, it rests on the originality of the work. Copyright protection lasts for a fixed period of time, which varies by jurisdiction. In New York, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 50 years. Once the copyright expires, the work enters the public domain and can be used or reproduced by anyone.

Last reflections

Patent, trademark, and copyright law all provide important protections for your intellectual property. It is important to seek legal counsel to ensure that your innovations are properly protected and that your rights are enforceable. The lawyers at UpCounsel have experience with New York intellectual property laws and can ensure that all measures are taken to protect your intellectual property and maximize your legal rights.


Patent Law,

Trademark Law,

Copyright Law