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Action Is Required To Protect Your Intellectual Property

Misunderstanding the nature of intellectual property can cost a business or individual dearly. Some people hold the mistaken view that intellectual property is protected automatically. If you develop something, you must have the rights to it, right? While a level of copyright protection is created when a work is "fixed," true protection requires effort on the part of the creator.

Creation and copyright law

One recent example making headlines involves a dispute between LeBron James and Nick Saban. Each has participated in media wherein sports personalities hold discussions in a barbershop. Mr. James has asserted that Mr. Saban's version infringes up copyright, trademark and intellectual property rights. Mr. Saban has disputed this.

The outcome of this case is not as important as what it should mean to businesses and others looking to protect their rights. Early reports indicate that Mr. James has not filed for trademark rights connected with his version of the barbershop conversation. Without a properly filed trademark application, the creator of a symbol, logo or other mark is at risk.

Manage your intellectual property

Establishing and defending an intellectual property portfolio is a vital component to the success of many businesses. Any effort to build a brand can be co-opted without the right protection. At a minimum, most businesses should consider the following:

  • Filing and prosecuting trademark applications with the US Patent & Trademark Office
  • Filing applications for copyright registration

At that point, you can decide the extent to which you want to pursue litigation or licensing agreements to protect your rights and maximize the value of your work.

Innovation can benefit your business and enrich the world. It can also enrich your competitors if you are not careful.

Source: Above The Law, "NBA Player LeBron James And Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban Squabble Over Copyright," by Krista L. Cox, 5 April 2018

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