The landscape of intellectual property (IP) law in the United States is everchanging. With the patent system evolving and the economic climate being fluid, businesses in the U.S. and around the world must stay up to date with IP law in order to remain competitive and to protect their assets. Understanding the nuances of each specific state and region can be difficult, particularly for those headquartered in Chicago. To that end, let’s look at some commonly asked questions from Chicago businesses navigating IP law.

What Is Intellectual Property Law?

Intellectual property (IP) laws are designed to protect inventions, creative works, and other forms of intellectual property. The main types of IP protection available to individuals and businesses in the United States are copyrights, trademarks, and patents. These are discussed in more detail below.

What Is a Patent?

A patent is a government-issued piece of legal protection that grants the patent owner specific rights and exclusivity in relation to a product they have invented or produced. Generally speaking, a patent can be held on any novel and non-obvious invention, such as a new medical or chemical compound, a manufacturing device, methods of production, etc. Patents are granted for a period of time, typically twenty years, and are used to protect the owner’s incentive to create and develop their invention.

What Is a Copyright?

A copyright is a type of legal protection for any original work of authorship, such as creative works like books and movies. This type of protection is usually used for works that are fixed in a tangible medium, like print or magnetic media. The copyright is used to protect the creator of the work from theft, preventing people from making unauthorized copies or reproductions of their work.

What Is a Trademark?

A trademark is a type of legal protection used to protect symbols, logos, words, and other identifiers that identify a particular source of goods or services. The purpose of a trademark is to provide a means of identification so customers can quickly and easily identify the source of the goods or services. This makes it easier for businesses to protect their customer base and brand.

What Is Copyright Infringement?

Copyright infringement is when someone reproduces, distributes, publicly displays, or performs a copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright holder. Copyright infringement is a type of legal violation and can result in civil or criminal penalties.

What Is Trademark Infringement?

Trademark infringement is when someone uses a trademark without permission in order to confuse the public into thinking that the goods or services on offer come from the same source as the trademark holder. Trademark infringement can also result in civil or criminal penalties.

Understanding IP law can be complex, and it is important to consult an experienced IP attorney who is familiar with the specific laws of your state or region. For businesses in Chicago, UpCounsel’s convenient network of experienced lawyers provides a great resource to tap for cost-effective legal services. With UpCounsel, you can access a talented pool of attorneys with an average of 14 years of experience. Profiles of their online attorneys offer ratings and reviews of recent work from their satisfied clients. Whether you need a one-time consult or an entire freelance legal department, UpCounsel can help.

Intellectual property law is ever-evolving, and businesses in Chicago must stay on top of it in order to protect their assets. We have taken an in-depth look at the frequently asked questions regarding IP law from business in Chicago, and provided some helpful resources to make it easier for companies to get the legal help they need. Understanding the complexities of IP law is integral to remaining competitive, and UpCounsel can help you do just that.