Intellectual Property Lawyers in Seattle and Tacoma
Dickson Frohlich | Distinguish Yourself
Our Intellectual Property Attorneys Protect Your IP
Your innovation needs protection and our experienced IP lawyers have the skills needed to defend, enforce, and commercialize your intellectual property. We handle cases and transactions involving trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. Our intellectual property lawyers provide comprehensive protection and defense of clients’ IP in all fields, some of which include business, technology, science, and entertainment.
Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your innovations and IP matters with our intellectual property attorneys. We will handle licensing, enforcing, and defending your work. Call today at 206-429-6931.
What is Intellectual Property and Why Does IP Law Matter?
Intellectual property, often referred to as “IP”, encompasses the intangible assets of a company. Intellectual property covers four primary types: (1) trademarks; (2) copyrights; (3) trade secrets; and (4) patents.
Intellectual property often represents a large portion, if not the majority, of a company’s value. For example, Coca Cola’s® most valuable assets are not its manufacturing plants or its inventory; its most valuable assets are its brand (i.e., a trademark) and its secret recipe (i.e., a trade secret).
Intellectual property is essential to businesses of all sizes. Every business, large and small, needs to distinguish itself from its competitors, and intellectual property is the tool to accomplish that goal.
Trademarks | IP Protection for Your Brand
An early step in the process of protecting your intellectual property is deciding upon a trademark and getting it registered. Contact our intellectual property law firm to ensure your choice of a trademark, and the steps you take in the trademark registration process, position you for the best IP protection.
A trademark includes any “word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof” that: (1) is used in interstate commerce, and (2) indicates the source of a good or service (i.e., the company that produces the goods or provides the services). Although trademarks cover a wide variety of forms (e.g., designs, logos, colors, sounds, etc.), the most common type of trademark is a company or product name, referred to as a “word mark” or “character mark”.
The underlying goal of trademark law is to prevent consumer confusion as to the source (i.e., manufacturer or provider) of goods or services. Accordingly, trademark infringement occurs when consumers are likely to confuse two separate companies that provide similar goods or services, based on the similarity of their trademarks. This analysis is a complicated one and depends on many factors. For example, the strength of trademark protection varies between trademarks. Made-up words (e.g., Google®) have stronger protection than words that are descriptive of the goods or services provided (e.g., Fish-Fri for fish batter). Thus, it is important for a company to carefully select a name in order to avoid infringement liability and maximize its scope of protection.
Trademarks may be registered with a federal agency called the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). Federal registration provides several benefits, the most important of which is nationwide trademark protection. States also have their own trademark registrations for businesses that do not participate in interstate commerce, although state registrations do not provide the benefits that federal trademark registrations do.
Our IP attorneys provide the following trademark services:
- Trademark advising and clearance searches
- Trademark registration (federal and state level)
- Representation in USPTO proceedings
- Trademark and unfair competition litigation
- Transactions and licensing involving trademarks
Copyrights | IP Protection of Creative Works
If you are unsure of whether or not your work can be copyrighted, or how to start the registration process, our intellectual property lawyers will explain how copyrights and IP law can protect your work.
Copyright protection applies to a wide range of creative and innovative works, the most common of which include literary works (e.g., written materials); sound recordings (e.g. music track); pictorial or graphic works (e.g., photographs); and audiovisual works (e.g., movies). Even software can be protected under copyright law. Software code can be copyrighted as a literary work and a software program’s visual display can be copyrighted as an audiovisual work.
A copyright grants six exclusive rights:
- Reproduction right
- Derivative works right
- Distribution right
- Performance right
- Display right
- Digital audio transmission right.
The reproduction right prohibits others from making copies of the work. The derivative works right prohibits others from creating works that are derivatives of the original work (e.g., movies based off books). The distribution right prohibits others from distributing copies of the copyrighted work to the public. The performance, display, and digital audio transmission rights prohibit others from publicly performing or displaying the work. Each of these rights provide different tools in protecting a copyright owner’s assets, as well as provide multiple revenue streams through licensing.
Our intellectual property lawyers provide the following copyright services:
- Copyright asset identification and advising
- Copyright registration
- Copyright litigation
- Transactions and licensing involving copyrights
Patents | IP Protection of Inventions and Innovations
Patent protection applies to functional inventions and provides the patent owner with the exclusive rights to make, use, import, and sell or offer to sell the patent owner’s invention. Patents allow inventors to retain exclusivity of their inventions for a fixed amount of time in order to recoup the costs of research and development.
Patents can be registered on a national or international basis, though the costs associated with these vary greatly. A patent advisor can help you decide the best way to meet your needs within your budget.
Our IP attorneys provide the following patent services:
- Patent advising and clearance searches
- Provision applications
- Design patent applications
- Utility patent applications, including PCT applications
- Patent litigation
- Transactions and licensing involving patents
Trade Secrets | IP Protection of Confidential and Proprietary Information
A trade secret is any information that provides economic value by being confidential and that the trade secret owner actively tries to keep confidential. In other words, a trade secret is confidential information that provides the owner with an advantage over its competitors. Classic examples of a trade secret include the Coca Cola® secret recipe or the Google® search algorithm. However, a trade secret does not need to be immensely valuable to be protectable; only some provided value is required.
To maintain trade secret protection, the owner must take “reasonable” measures to protect the confidentiality of the trade secret. This depends on the owner’s business and may include steps such as nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), limitations on access, or signage indicating confidentiality.
If you are unsure whether or not your intangible assets qualify as trade secrets or how to best protect your work, consult with an intellectual property attorney at Dickson Frohlich. Call 206-429-6931 for a free consultation.
Our IP lawyers provide the following trade secret services:
- Trade secret asset identification and advising
- Trade secret best practice protection measures
- Trade secret and unfair competition litigation
- Non-disclosure agreements (NDA)
- Transactions and licensing involving trade secrets
Technology Law and Intellectual Property Protection of Technology
Our intellectual property attorneys provide the following technology law services:
- Legal protection of software
- IP licenses and assignments
- Software End User License Agreements (EULA)
- Privacy Policies
Distinguish Yourself. Protect and Commercialize Your IP.
Talk to an Intellectual Property Lawyer.
Our skilled intellectual property attorneys at Dickson Frohlich will ensure your IP is fully protected, commercialized and when necessary, defended. From the early stages of trademark, patent, trade secret, and copyright protection through IP litigation, our team will handle all of your intellectual property legal needs. Strong protection of your work and innovations begins with a call to a Dickson Frohlich IP lawyer. You can reach us for a free consultation at 206-429-6931.