Frequently Asked Questions


Table of Contents


1.  What is an Intellectual property right?

Answer: An intellectual property right is a legal right that allows creators, or owners, of patents, trademarks or copyrighted works to benefit from their own work or investment in a creation. The term intellectual property itself is now commonly used to refer to the bundle of rights conferred by each of the following fields of law: 1.Patent 2. Trademark 3.Copyright and 4.Trade Secrets

2.  What is a Patent?

Answer: Generally speaking a patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention – a product or process that provides a new way of doing something, or that offers a new technical solution to a problem. It is a protection provided by the law for the inventions, improvements or discoveries of a person or entity or for the procedures developed by such person or entity. Patent protection allows an owner to exclude others from making, using, distributing or selling without his/her consent. Protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years.

3.  What is a Trademark?

Answer: A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. Trademarks seek to protect against customer confusion.

4.  What is a Copyright?

Answer: A copyright is a legal right that grants authors, artists and other creators protection for their literary and artistic creations, generally referred to as “works”. Copyright law protects the authors of original works.

5.  What are the works covered by copyright law?

Answer: Works covered by copyright include, but are not limited to: novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers, advertisements, computer programs, databases, films, musical compositions, choreography, paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architecture, maps and technical drawings.

6.  How do I protect my artistic works and apply for a copyright registration?

Answer: Copyright is a legal protection given to an original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression. Thus, there are two threshold requirements for protection—originality and fixation—and a significant limitation—no protection for ideas. A Copyright registration is not mandatory to protect a certain work. An artistic work which is original and fixed in any tangible medium acquires automatic copyright protection. However, the Copyright Act does provide additional benefits to those who register with the Copyright Office. Copyrights are registered at the Copyright Office, Library of Congress. Information concerning copyrights may be obtained from the U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559, or you may visit their web site at: http://www.copyright.gov.

7.  What is a “Trade secret”?

Answer: A “Trade secret” is an information, including but not limited to, a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that derives independent economic value, that Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

8.  Do I need to hire a lawyer or an agent to register my intellectual property rights?

Answer: No, you don’t! Any inventor, author, or a trademark owner may apply for patent, trademark or copyright registration. According to the laws, Inventors, authors or trademark owners may prepare their own applications and conduct the proceedings by them-selves. However patent law is a complicated subject matter which requires technical assistance from various professionals.

9.  What are the advantages of trademark registration?

Answer: Federal trademark registration confers key benefits and rights such as 1) constructive notice of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark 2) nationwide constructive use as of the date of application 3) the right to request Customs officials to bar the importation of goods bearing infringing trademarks 4) the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in Federal court 5) the use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries etc…

10.  What are the advantages of copyright registration?

Answer: Copyright registration offers several advantages, such as:-

  • Registration establishes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and facts stated in the certificate when registration is made before or within five years of publication.
  • When registration is made prior to infringement or within three months after publication of a work, a copyright owner is eligible for statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
  • Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration (or refusal) is necessary for works of U.S. origin.