IP PROTECTION FAQ’s
Ference eFence International™ works closely with our clients in the United States and across the globe to obtain Intellectual Property rights and solutions– we currently handle IP matters in over 90 different countries. Our team has the experience, education and legal knowledge to prepare and prosecute patent, trademark, design, and copyright applications on behalf of individuals or businesses.
How can Ference help me protect my Intellectual Property?
We will evaluate your current intellectual property protection. We will strengthen and enforce it.
- As an intellectual property boutique law firm, we work with clients to protect the four types of Intellectual Property: Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks and Trade Secrets.
- We pride ourselves on creating value for our clients through our extensive expertise to prevent intellectual property theft.
- We have established a strong network of foreign associates to handle intellectual property matters outside of the United States.
I plan to sell my product in the United States. Should I be concerned about getting protection in other countries?
- IP protection is geographical in scope. There is no such thing as world-wide IP protection.
- It can be beneficial to obtain IP protection in multiple countries – the focused market country, potential secondary markets, and the manufacturing country.
- Online marketplaces located outside of the United States may only accept IP protection in their home country.
I’ve been selling my product for a while; can I still file a patent application? Is there a time limit for filing a patent application?
- In the United States there are three main types of patent applications: utility, design, and plant. In other countries, design rights may be handled as part of the patent system or as part of a registration system for industrial designs. When people talk about a patent application, they are generally working with a utility application.
- There is a limited window of time to file a patent application.
- Most countries require that a patent application be filed prior to a public disclosure of an invention.
- The United States, however, permits a one-year grace period from the time of a public disclosure or commercial use of the invention.
I’ve been selling my product for a while; can I still file a trademark application? Is there a time limit for filing a trademark application?
- A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design that acts as source indicator. Trademarks can also be colors (Tiffany Blue), sounds (MGM Lion Roar, Harley Davidson exhaust), the configuration of a product (iPhone design), or the design layout of a store (Apple store).
- There is no time limit for filing a trademark application in the United States. Rights are created through use and the first user of the mark is generally entitled to a registration. It may be beneficial, however, to obtain a trademark registration to assist in policing online marketplaces, for example a US trademark registration is required to participate in Amazon Brand Registry.
- In most countries outside of the United States, there is no requirement that the mark be used to get a trademark registration. Therefore, the first party to file a trademark application is entitled to the trademark registration. You may want to file in other countries to ensure you have the ability to use your mark in those countries.
- Each country has its own rules on which marks may be registered. A mark that may be registered in the United States may not be able to be registered in another country, and vis-a-versa.
I’ve been selling my product for a while; can I still protect the design of my product? Is there a time limit for filing to protect the design of a product?
- Design protection generally protects the ornamental (i.e., non-functional) elements of a design.
- In the United States design rights are obtained by filing an application for a design patent, which is examined like any other patent application.
- In other countries design rights in industrial designs may be obtained through the patent system or may be registered outside of the patent system.
- Some countries require an application in order for registered design rights to be filed before any public disclosure of the design, while other countries provide a grace period for filing after public disclosure.
- Certain aspects of product design may function as a trademark and a trademark registration may be obtained, even if a design patent or other design rights are not available.
I’ve been using my marketing materials for a while; can I still file a copyright application on my marketing materials? Is there a time limit for filing a copyright application?
- There is no time limit for filing a copyright application in the United States. Copyright protection attaches when work is first created.
- It is necessary to register your copyrights, however, to enforce your copyrights. For example, you are generally not permitted to file a copyright infringement lawsuit unless the Copyright Office has issued a registration certificate.
- There may be benefits to filing an application before the first publication of the work or no later than three months after the first publication.
Why is someone still selling a competing product, using the name of my product or using my marketing materials and photos?
- A common misconception is that once a patent, trademark, or copyright has issued others will automatically respect your patent, trademark, or copyright. Even though you have done everything you could, people may still steal your idea, product name, marketing materials, etc.
- When you begin protecting your intellectual property by practicing the steps above, you have the ability to sue to enforce your rights.
- Not only can Ference eFence™ International help you get IP protection, the firm can also help you enforce your rights. click here to learn more about online brand protection and click here to learn more about online counterfeiting litigation.
We have worked in intellectual property law for decades. The experience our legal professionals possess is invaluable when it comes to the protection of your business portfolio. If you have any questions regarding brand protection litigation or IP infringement contact the Ference eFence™ International legal team at (844) 741-8400 or by filling out the form below.