IP Intro Basics
This group of webs pages explains the basic concept of intellectual property (“IP”). IP law constantly changes, primarily because technology changes far more quickly than the law, and forces the law to change. Courts, legislators, and commentators continually develop new claims and defenses as technology evolves. This group of pages explain the fundamentals of the various types of IP, the legal goals of the IP system, and what policy makers should balance when developing or debating new IP rights and remedies.
IP protection is a part of every society's fabric., Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution is known as the “patent and copyright clause,” or the “copyright clause.” It says: “The Congress shall have Power … To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” In contrast to property rights in land, which generally lasts forever, or until the owner decides to transfer the property, IP rights are limited in duration.
From a creators’ standpoint, e.g., an entrepreneur or corporate giant, the creation, ownership, and the business and legal process of leveraging IP is an integral part of any business model. Prevalent examples are in science, hardware and software, and medical devices. In each of these endeavors, IP creators must bring their innovations to market. IP rights encourage innovation and predictability and can range from patent or trademark, trade secrets or copyright. But, like land, an IP owner can lose IP right by abandonment or neglect.
Material that is not granted IP protection, or for which the IP right has expired, is public domain IP. Public domain policy seeks a balance between preservation of a large public domain from which future creators can draw, and incentivizing creation of new works. This balance necessarily requires limitations on the IP holder’s property rights. For example a patent will after 20 years.
Judges, lawyers, legislators and intellectual property police makers and theorists frequently debate the proper balance of IP, because such rights may inhibit future creation by limiting or reducing the resources available to inventors or creators. Sometimes monopolies are discouraged and what may seem like “plagiarism” are encouraged as policy matters if in society’s best interest.
Indeed, many creations are derivative or cumulative. The current inventor or author borrows from and builds on from previous successful works. And, importantly, the law of copyrights and trademarks steps to prevent one creator from taking as his or her own, an invention, a logo, a poem or the goodwill of a business that other people have created. The policy goal is to prevent misappropriation and the reaping of undue rewards with impunity, when such rewards rightfully belong to the creator or inventor. Otherwise, why would anyone endeavor to create anything new?
Intellectual property law steps in to protect legitimate and reasonable rights of inventors by giving an inventor a limited monopoly on creation. These are the kinds of rights that are intended to promote future innovation by allowing an inventor and other creators to recoup then leverage their investments in the creative process.
The copyright and trademark lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle have over thirty-years of experience defending and prosecuting intellectual property claims for large and mid-size corporations and businesses. We are knowledgeable regarding the changes and complexities of copyright and trademark law. We are committed to fighting for our clients' property rights or defending them against baseless infringement claims at both the trial and appellate court levels. We have successfully defended large corporations in multi-million-dollar copyright or trademark infringement suits and regularly prosecute complex copyright infringement cases for computer software having achieved large six and seven figure settlements for our clients. Conveniently located in Chicago and Elmhurst, Illinois, we have successfully litigated intellectual property, trademark and copyright cases for clients all over the Chicago area. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, you can contact us online or give us a call at 630-333-0333.