Intellectual property services are designed to protect the rights of the IP owner. Maintaining a solid IP portfolio is one way to gain valuable protection for your IP.

The Importance of Intellectual Property Services

More companies are realizing the importance of their intellectual property as assets. IP can help businesses hit their revenue targets and carve out a path for future services and products.

It's important to maintain and protect your IP portfolio. Some entities that don't sell actual products but instead rely on litigation as revenue-generating tactics prey upon weaknesses in a company's IP rights. Professional tools and services can help you fight this threat.

It's important to stay ahead of the curve to avoid costly litigation as well as a situation in which a competitor can stop your business operations. You could wind up without a service or product to sell if your IP rights are invalidated as a result of litigation.

Other companies may attempt to attack yours and take away your valuable IP rights. They may also try to infringe on your rights. Infringement could be flagrant, requiring litigation, or it could be minor, even accidental.

There are several ways you can handle accidental infringement, whether you're the offending party or you're the one being infringed upon. These non-litigation methods are usually preferable to legal action. These methods include buying or licensing patents as well as creating patent pools or cross-license agreements.

The legal system regarding IP was designed to encourage innovation. The important rights you hold allow you to profit from your ingenuity. 

As the rights eventually pass on to the public, companies can make agreements to provide new innovations, services, and products. To form arrangements with other companies, you should make sure your IP portfolio is highly secure and protected. There's little point in obtaining a license for IP if it's a questionable one that's easily challenged.

Even if the patent itself is solid, lacking a strong management structure often attracts legal challengers who will try all sorts of tactics to invalidate it.

The same is true of IP rights. Unless you adequately protect them, it's unlikely that a company will want to enter into a patent or license agreement with you.

Different Types of Intellectual Property

There are different IP types, including the following:

  • Copyright
  • Trademark
  • Patent

Copyright protects tangible creative works, such as the following:

  • Movies
  • Books
  • Games
  • Music
  • Artwork
  • Other creative products

Every day, you see and hear copyrighted products. All expressions of original creativity and thought are copyright-protected. Creators don't have to register their copyright with an official government agency. Even without registering with the Library of Congress, creators own all rights to their copyright.

You register trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a way to protect your mark as one that distinguishes its source of services and goods. Trademarks are a pretty broad example of IP, as they can be anything that makes one company distinct from its competitors. The following can be trademarked:

  • Slogan
  • Logo
  • Color
  • Sound

Copyrights and trademarks may overlap. For example, you can copyright a logo as an artistic creation and register it as a trademark. However, trademarks can protect designs, words, and other elements that cannot be copyrighted. Similar to copyrights, trademarks can be protected under the Lanham Act and common law, even if their creator doesn't register them.

Patents protect inventions as well as functional designs for products. Inventors must publicly disclose the invention or design to obtain a patent. In exchange, inventors have exclusive rights to the patented product for a set period of time. Design patents offer 14 years' protection, and utility and plant patents are good for 20 years.

After you put a lot of hard work and effort into creating something unique, it's important to take steps to protect your creation. For certain IP types, such as trademarks and copyrights, you don't have to register your property with an agency. However, you should check before using, selling, or distributing your product to ensure you're not infringing on anyone else's trademark, copyright, or patent. If you're found guilty of infringement, you can face costly consequences. 

If you need help with intellectual property services, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.