York Law LLC have served residents and businesses of the Tri-State for more than 14 years. York Law LLC is centrally located in Proctorville, OH, and reaches into the Ohio River Valley and Tri-State area, the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, and from coast-to-coast, an important characteristic considering the potential geographic scope of intellectual property issues.
If you have questions about exploiting and/or protecting your innovations or creations, contact York Law LLC (contact information below) to schedule an appointment to speak with the only intellectual property attorney in the region with an advanced and specialized legal degree in intellectual property, and let York Law LLC assist you in developing the appropriate legal and business strategies for your ideas.
Please explore the individual practice area categories for information on each form of intellectual property or for general information about the practice area.
As a brief tutorial, please understand that each discipline of intellectual property provides different forms of legal protection, both in terms of scope and duration.
To protect specific forms of technology, whether protecting a product incorporating technology or processes or techniques for making such a product, a party needs to consider both patent protection and/or trade secret protection. A patent is issued by a government, usually by an examination process, and provides the patent owner with the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, and importing and/or exporting a product or service. A patent may cover the utility (arrangement or function), the design (aesthetics), or a new plant variety. However, a patent has a limited time-window of exclusivity. On the other-side, a trade secret is recognized at common law and codified by state law, and subject to both interstate compact and a developing federal codification. Trade secret requires no filing or examination, and instead requires the owner to take reasonable measures to protect proprietary information from disclosure or discovery. Trade secret may last into perpetuity (forever). Occasionally, a combination of technology and/or processes may be separately protectible by both patent(s) and trade secret strategies.
Copyright protects the expression of an idea, but not an idea itself (since ideas are often protectible by patent or trade secret). The expression must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression from which the expression can be perceived. Thus, the general plot used in literature or film of an underdog overcoming difficulty is not protected by copyright, but the expression of such a plot is copyrightable by using the (real) character of an undersized and above-average athlete Rudy Ruettiger who worked hard and overcame learning difficulties to eventually attend and graduate from the University of Notre Dame while experiencing a brief moment of success on the football field (as represented in the feature film "Rudy" (1993)). Such expressions enjoy an extended copyright term of the life of the author plus 20 years, generally.
Trademark and/or trade dress protection provides legal rights for any letter, number, word, phrase, symbol, device, design, sound, or smell that identifies the source of a good or service. Although trademark and trade dress provide benefits to the owner, such legal protections are mainly driven by consumer protection policies in an effort to reduce or eliminate consumer confusion in the marketplace and increase shopping efficiency. Trademark and/or trade dress rights arise from adoption and continued use of marks and trade dress, and registration is not required for legal protections at either the state or federal levels. However, registration is highly recommended for qualifying marks as the benefits and advantages are significant. Theoretically, with continuous use, a trademark or trade dress may have an unlimited duration.
Right of publicity is a legal protection enjoyed by each individual, a species of the right of privacy, which prevents the unauthorized use and commercial exploitation of someone's name, image, or likeness (NIL). Typically, celebrities enjoy significant right of publicity privileges especially when commercial vendors attempt to capitalize on the fame or publicity of a celebrity by placing or associating the NIL of the celebrity with one or more of the vendor's products or services. Occasionally, non-celebrities are forced to pursue such claims because of commercial intrusion into their right to be left along and not disturbed.
Other areas of interest and overlap include licensing and/or franchising opportunities. Strategic partnerships or alliances may be formed in which two parties agree to exchange proprietary technology, information, or other forms of intellectual property for fees or payments, embodied by a licensing agreement. Related, an organization that has a highly structured business system and method that is repeatable, reliable, and consistency and is associated with identifiable trademarks and/or trade dress, then the organization may be interested in franchising the business model to interested business owners in exchange for a buy-in and a royalty payment.
Please consult the separate practice areas tab and the individual area(s) of interest. For more information, please arrange to speak with York Law LLC for personalized discussion and strategy development.