Business 302: Intellectual Properties

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Everett Rogers’ Innovation Adoption Curve
  • Copyright – exclusive rights given to an author or creator of an original work
    • Stands as an automatic right, and registration is only for securing legal grounds
      • It is implicit for many things:
        • Written works like books, plays or sheet music
        • Artwork of any sort (paintings, photographs, music)
        • Computer software code
      • Includes the right for the copyright holder to:
        • Reproduce the work in any manner or form
        • Publish the work
        • Include the work in a film or TV broadcast
        • Make an adaptation of the work
      • Extends in duration to:
        • Individual Works
          • 70 years from being made public or first published (if made in 2000, public domain 2070)
          • End of year of author’s death if not made public or published (if died in 2000, public domain 2001)
          • Does not include anything made before 1923 (public domain)
        • Corporate Works – the earlier of:
          • 95 years from publication or publishing (if published in 2000, public domain 2096)
          • 120 years from authorship (if written in 2000, public domain 2120)
      • If you do not file for a copyright, a perfectly suitable legal defense is to mail a package to yourself that isn’t opened until you’re in front of a judge
    • Fair Use – using the work for whatever is reasonably necessary for illustrative purposes in teaching
      • Educators can use the materials in a classroom but cannot share the materials in an online space
    • Informally, copyright law is essentially forever, since Disney will always pay to have ownership rights extended
    • Copyright is restricted to the work itself, not the ideas behind the work
      • e.g. a novel cannot be reproduced, but the plot elements can be
  • Creative Commons – created to provide rights that copyright protects, but with more flexibility
    • Includes the freedom to “pick and choose” what can be defended:
      • BY (Attribution) – Others can copy, distribute, display, perform and remix the work if they credit the original author’s name
      • ND (No Derivative Works) – Others can only copy, distribute, display or perform verbatim copies of the work
      • SA (Share Alike) – Others can distribute the work only under a license identical to the one chosen for that work
      • NC (Non-Commercial) – Others can copy, distribute, display, perform or remix the work for non-commercial purposes only
    • Though CC License is newer, it is extremely popular and is usually the best way to go when recognition of a work or creator is more important than making money off of it
  • Trademarks/Service Marks – distinguishes goods and services from others’ goods and services
    • The legal framework of trademarks is very complex, and any intended trademark should be secured early on
      • Trademarks need to be filed with the USPTO after performing a clearance search
      • There are different things that can be trademarked:
        • Words – when there is a “design” element and a word element, the word portion is what matters most
        • Names – surnames cannot be registered, even when combined with a generic term
        • Symbols
        • Devices (Music, Scents, Colors)
      • A big portion of why trademarks are so difficult to define is because it all lies on the “strength” of the mark
        • A trademark cannot be two distinctive marks, only one
          • Therefore, it is best to split words and images apart for trademarking
        • Trademarks cannot be confused with something else
          • Generic marks refer to their use (e.g. carports are for cars, not hair gel)
        • A famous mark will always take precedence
        • Portions of a brand are assessed as well
        • Secondary works (phrases or ideas not crucial to the trademark) cannot be used to defend a trademark
        • When trademarks are in a different language, they are translated to English before being assessed
        • Very descriptive marks can have a very narrow scope!
          • However, too much descriptive verbiage can exempt it from being a trademark altogether!
        • Trademarks cannot be scandalous, which is a very broad and interpretative definition
      • The tm symbol means the owner thinks they have an original trademark
      • The (R) symbol means that the symbol has actually been registered with the USPTO
        • Filing with the USPTO costs around $3,000 across 18 months
  • Patents – exclusive rights given to an inventor to prevent others from selling or making the idea that the patent covers
    • The idea has to be original and created by the creator (e.g. cannot patent sunlight or the feeling of love)
    • The patent process will cost about $8,000 across 3-4 years
      • The patent itself will be valid for up to 20 years with maintenance fees every 5 years of about $1,000
    • Though a patent is about an original idea, other creators with enough money will try to patent a similar idea if there’s money to be made in it
Next: The Art Of Changing Jobs