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Intellectual Property

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property is merely a special class of property that differs from ordinary personal or real property that you can see or touch; the only real difference is that intellectual property is created by the property owner’s mind. Various statutes, both state and federal, have been enacted to protect the rights of intellectual property owners in their property. More…

Patent Maintenance Fees

Utility patents apply to inventions and processes and are distinguished from design and plant patents. Under current patent law, the term of a new utility patent is 20 years, during which the patent holder has the right to exclude others from using, making, selling, or distributing the invention or process. However, for utility patents based on applications filed on or after December 12, 1980, the 20-year patent term is subject to the payment of maintenance fees. More…

Patent Law and Collateral Estoppel

In a patent case, under collateral estoppel, once a court has decided an issue of fact or law necessary to its judgment, that decision may preclude relitigation of the issue in a suit on a different cause of action involving a party to the first case. Once a patent has been declared invalid via judicial inquiry, a collateral estoppel barrier is created against further litigation involving the patent, unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that he or she did not have a full and fair chance to litigate the validity of the patent in the prior case. Defendants may be collaterally estopped from contesting issues of infringement and patent validity. More…

The First Sale Doctrine

A copyright owner’s right of distribution is limited by the first sale doctrine, which is an exception to the Copyright Act. The first sale doctrine is a legal principle that limits the rights to control content after a work has been sold for the first time. The first sale doctrine states that once a copyright owner sells a copy of his or her work to another, the copyright owner relinquishes all further rights to sell or otherwise dispose of that copy. More…

Patents

A patent allows an inventor to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention without the inventor’s permission for a limited period of time. Patent rights are granted by federal law, which also provides that an inventor whose patent is infringed may seek a remedy in court as one might for other wrongs. There are several defenses to patent infringement that may be asserted by one who is sued for patent infringement. One defense that not only will negate infringement liability but will also destroy the validity of a patent is inequitable conduct on the part of the inventor in procuring the patent. More…