Essentials of Intellectual Property for the Paralegal

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9780929563442: Essentials of Intellectual Property for the Paralegal

This book helps readers search and value intellectual property assets across the globe. It covers patents, trademarks, and copyrights in detail, including how to search for all three and the legalization and authentication of documents. It walks readers step-by-step through sample searches of selected Dialog databases for patent, trademark, and copyright information. Patent Basics. The U.S. Patent Application. he International Patent. Trademark Basics. The U.S. Trademark Application. The International Trademark Application. Copyright Basics. The Copyright Application. International Copyright Protection. Overview of Other Intellectual Property Areas. Legalization and Authentication of Documents. Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Searching. For paralegals.

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From the Inside Flap:

The field of intellectual property law has experienced tremendous growth in recent years due to the ever increasing importance of businesses competing in the global marketplace. This competition has fostered heightened awareness of the value of intellectual property assets and an interest in the protection of such assets internationally. The concept of intellectual property is also referred to as "industrial property" and includes such assets as patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Patents

A patent is a right granted by the government of a country that excludes other parties from making, using, or selling an invention. In order to be patentable in the United States as a utility patent, an invention must be a new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter. For example, a mechanical or electrical process, a machine such as a boat engine, an article of manufacture such as a hand tool, and chemical compositions such as plastic are patentable. A design patent covers original and ornamental designs for an article of manufacture.

Inventions are patented for a limited period of time in each country. There is no such thing as an "international" patent that protects an invention around the world. Once a patent expires, the invention may be freely used by anyone in that country. Trademarks

A trademark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination thereof that is used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify its products or services and to distinguish them from the products or services of others. For example, the mark EXXON® identifies the oil products and serrvices of Exxon Corporation and distinguishes them from the MOBIL® oil products and gas station services of the Mobil Oil Company.

In the United States, trademark rights are based on use in the marketplace and not on registration. While registration of a trademark provides the owner with important advantages and benefits, registration is not a prerequisite to trademark rights. Rights in the trademark will last as long as the trademark is used in the marketplace.

In many foreign countries, however, rights in a trademark are granted to the first party to register the trademark, irrespective of whether the trademark has been used. As with patents, there is no such thing as an international registration that protects a trademark globally. For the most part, separate trademark applications must be filed in each country. There are, however, multinational treaties and arrangements that provide for the registration of a trademark in numerous countries, such as the filing of a Benelux application covering Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Another example is the filing of a European Community trademark application covering all 15 countries of the European Union. Copyright

Copyright protects the particular expression of an idea that is created and fixed in a tangible form, such as writing or an audiovisual work. Copyrightable works cover the following: categories:


* literary works
* musical works, including accompanying words
* dramatic works, including accompanying music, pantomimes and choreographic works
* pictorial, graphic and sculptural works
* motion pictures and other audiovisual works
* sound recordings
* architectural works.

Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery. It is not the general idea but, rather, the specific expression of an idea, that is protectable under copyright law.

A copyright is created the moment a copyrightable work is created and fixed in a tangible form. For example, the moment I write down an original poem on a piece of paper, I have a copyright in that poem. The copyright is owned by the author who created the work. There is no requirement for registration in order to create a copyright in a work. There are, however, benefits to registering a copyright. Copyright protection is limited in duration. Once the term expires, the work is released into the public domain and may be used by anyone.

A copyright provides the owner with the exclusive right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works based on the work, to distribute copies of the work, and to perform and display the work publicly.

Numerous international treaties define the protection afforded a copyright in the various member countries that do not include registration as a prerequisite for protection. In fact, in many foreign countries, there is no procedure for even registering a copyright. Other Intellectual Property Rights

Other intellectual property rights consist of trade secrets, publicity rights, privacy rights, semiconductor chip protection, and plant variety protection. The Role of the Paralegal

There are employment opportunities for intellectual property paralegals in corporations, in large general practice law firms having an intellectual property practice group, or in law firms that specialize in intellectual property law. The practice of intellectual property law is dynamic, because it focuses on the marketplace activities of businesses that are constantly introducing new products and services, thereby creating new intellectual property rights to be protected. A new product or service may involve the creation of rights protectable under the patent, trademark, and copyright laws, and may also involve other areas of intellectual property.

A paralegal is a valuable resource to an intellectual property attorney. Many of the tasks involved in securing protection for patents, trademarks, and copyrights discussed in this book are well suited to the paralegal, subject to the attorney's review. For example, a paralegal will search to determine whether a proposed trademark is available for use and registration or determine who is the record owner of a patent or a trademark or copyright registration.

Other appropriate tasks include


* the preparation and filing of United States trademark and copyright applications and renewal applications
* the preparation and filing of foreign trademark applications and renewal applications
* the filing of foreign patent applications and the payment of patent annuities required to maintain the patent
* the execution and legalization of documents required to file a foreign patent or trademark application.

Much of the preliminary research regarding the filing and maintenance for foreign patents and trademark registrations may be conducted by a paralegal to assist the attorney.

Another important role for a paralegal with respect to foreign patent and trademark matters is to ensure that all of the information is communicated effectively between the foreign agent who is handling the patent or trademark application and the attorney. For example, when a letter is received from the foreign agent, the paralegal should look for deadlines in the letter and locate any relevant country information for the attorney's review.

The paralegal should also ensure that the attorney's instructions and comments are communicated to the foreign agent in a timely manner. Follow-up with the foreign agent is crucial to confirm that the foreign agent has received the information required to meet a deadline and to act on that information. Often, a facsimile machine may be out of order or a letter may not arrive.

Another important task of a paralegal is to look ahead on the docket for deadlines to ensure that necessary information and documents are sent in time to the foreign agent.

It is impossible to list all of the tasks that an experienced intellectual property paralegal can perform. Paralegals play an integral role in the successful operation of any intellectual property department.

About the Author:

Christian R. Andersen is a senior intellectual property paralegal who has been working in the area of intellectual property since 1987. He is currently employed by an internationally known corporation as the senior paralegal of the Intellectual Property Section. He has been involved in all aspects of intellectual property, including prosecution, maintenance and enforcement of patents copyright and trademark rights. Chris graduated in May 198 from the English honors program at California State University, Northridge, with a bachelor of arts, magna cum laude, and obtained his paralegal certificate in 1987 from VTI Institute for Paralegal Studies. Prior to joining his current corporation, Chris was employed by several law firms in Dallas, Texas, including Locke Purnell Rain Harrell and the Dallas office of Baker & McKenzie. He has served as chair of the Intellectual Property Section (1993-96) and as chair of the Community Service Committee (1994-95) for the Dallas Association of Legal Assistants and has served on the International Trademark Association (INTA) Committee of the U.S. Trademark Office (1994-95).

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