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Aliso Viejo California Intellectual Property Law Blog

Understand how the 'work made for hire' doctrine works

Are you a creative individual who works for hire? If you work as any sort of freelancer or independent contractor, you need to understand how works created for others are regarded in terms of the resulting intellectual property rights. Without a solid understanding, you won't be able to negotiate your contracts properly and protect your interests.

The "work made for hire" doctrine

Applying for a business method patent

Your company has developed an operational innovation that gives your company the edge it needs. The last thing you want is for your competitors to start using the method your business has invested in producing.

One way to safeguard a business method is to patent it. Because getting USPTO to approve a business method has become increasingly complicated and difficult, it is important to make sure your application gets everything right.

The different types of patents for inventors

Most inventors don't realize that there are several different types of patents out there. This can make figuring out what patent you should apply for somewhat difficult at first.

Getting your patent application right is important, and it starts with understanding the different kinds of patents available. These are the basics you should know:

Avoid accidental intellectual property infringement

As an entrepreneur, you are full of good ideas -- but it's important to do some research before you move ahead with those ideas. That's the only way to avoid accidentally infringing on someone else's good idea.

Accidental infringement of intellectual property happens all the time. Unfortunately, it can end up costing your budding company a lot of lost time, effort and money if it ends up in litigation -- or you get a cease and desist letter and have to start over with a whole new logo, slogan or product. Here's how to avoid the issue:

Use these rules when crafting the description on your patent

One of the big challenges of a good patent application is your invention's description. You know you need to get everything right the first time to avoid problems later.

What's the best way to make sure that you aren't forgetting anything? Here's a set of rule to follow:

How to react when your online content just got pilfered

In the world of online marketing, content is king -- which makes it particularly problematic when you find out that your original work has been pilfered and is being passed off as somebody else's. It also lowers the value of your work while simultaneously unjustly enriching someone else's search engine rankings.

In other words, you need to put a stop to it. So, how do you do it? Follow this guide

Tariffs hope to protect against intellectual property theft

If you work in business, one of the things you're probably interested in protecting is your intellectual property. One country known to create duplicates of items and to sell them to consumers throughout the world is China. For those looking to protect their rights, this is unacceptable but something that was hard to stop.

Today, around 40 percent of the imports into the United States come through Los Angeles and Long Beach. Shipments from China are on the rise, but now, tariffs will slow them down. Imports from China include toys, electronics and other items. Tariffs aren't always bad, but these will add up to 25 percent onto the cost of goods at the border when they come from China.

Can you trademark a slogan?

A great slogan can take an ad campaign to the next level. From "Maybe It's Maybelline" to "Just Do It," slogans have the power to become synonymous with a brand, but many aspiring entrepreneurs wonder if they can actually place a trademark on a specific string of words. 

The legal problems many slogans encounter is that they are usually common words. For instance, Nike's "Just Do It" has fairly common words in its slogan. However, that slogan has been in use for so long that is has become synonymous with the brand.  

Artificial intelligence: The difficulty in patenting software

When it comes to patenting artificial intelligence (AI), there are some things that make it difficult. One of those things is the black box AI algorithms.

These start with training data that give the AI information on how to learn and expand. The issue is that with this set up, the AI learns to make decisions but doesn't give any information on how connections are made. Thus, it's nearly impossible to patent any algorithms from AI programs.

Professor opposes trademark for Rapunzel doll

Imagine if you saw that a company was trying to trademark something in common daily life. For example, you see a company trying to trademark the name "Cinderella," even though it's a classic character. Normally, a trademark can't be obtained for things that are in the public domain.

Do you, though, have a right to question a trademark application, if it doesn't affect you directly? Generally, you have to have a reasonable interest in the issue. That means that normally, it's your own business under threat that you're trying to protect when you file an opposition to the trademark application.

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