Patent Services in Hickory, NC
What is Hickory, NC trade dress?
Trade dress is the overall commercial look and feel of a product and can include the product’s packaging, features, or a combination of features. In order to be protectable, the Hickory, NC trade dress must identify the source of the product and distinguish it from the look and feel of other products. A product’s trade dress must also be (1) distinctive – it must identify and distinguish the source of the product; and (2) non-functional – it must not be essential to the use of the product or affect its cost or quality. If the trade dress is not inherently distinctive, it can still be registered if the owner can show that it has acquired secondary meaning.
What is a registered Hickory, NC patent attorney?
A registered patent attorney is an attorney who is, in addition to their state law license, also licensed to represent clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Generally, only practitioners who are specifically qualified by the USPTO may file and prosecute patent applications. In order to be registered by the USPTO, a patent attorney must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in a technical field (e.g. engineering, physics, chemistry, biology) and must pass a special USPTO exam, often called the “Patent Bar,” separate from the bar exam that all lawyers must take. Not all patent practitioners are lawyers; patent agents are practitioners who are qualified to file patent applications but are not licensed to practice law. Unlike patent agents or unregistered attorneys, a registered patent attorney can both render legal advice and also file and prosecute patent applications.
Five different types of Utility Patents in Hickory, NC
A utility patent is a legal protection granted to investors for new, useful, and non-obvious inventions. There are five major types. A “process patent” is a protection granted to anyone who invents or discovers a new and useful process, which can include chemical, industrial, or technological processes. A “machine patent” protects mechanical devices or combinations of mechanical elements that work together to produce a certain effect or result. A “manufacture patent” protects the method with which a new or original product is manufactured. A “composition of matter patent” covers new and useful compositions of matter, whether they be chemical compounds or mechanical mixtures, and include gases, fluids, powders, or solids. Finally, an “improvement patent” protects the distinction between a new product and previously existing products of a similar type.
What type of services does an intellectual property attorney in Hickory provide?
An intellectual property (“IP”) attorney isn’t just for filing patent applications. An IP attorney should be well-versed in trade secrets, trademarks, unfair business practices, and copyrights. Some of the key services Axenfeld Law provides include patent prosecution, trademark registration, copyright registration, litigation to enforce your intellectual property rights, and domain name disputes. Axenfeld Law can also work with your business to license or transfer your IP rights, whether as an individual transaction or as part of a larger deal, such as IP due diligence for mergers and acquisitions. This would include assessing your IP portfolio and determining the steps needed to protect your IP while maximizing its value.
Axenfeld Law has experience in representing Hickory, NC businesses and individuals before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) involving both trademarks and patent matters. Additionally, Axenfeld Law’s litigation team is well versed in all areas of intellectual property law and can represent you in enforcing your rights against infringers or defend you when accused of infringement. IP law is a complex field with each sub-area of law containing its own nuances, therefore it is imperative to look to a team like Axenfeld Law that is familiar with the practical intricacies in order to maximize the value of your IP while minimizing the costs.
What does a Hickory design patent protect?
Whereas a utility patent covers an invention itself including the way it functions or its mechanical structure, a design patent protects only the appearance and design of the object. Put differently, a utility patent protects the way an invention is used and how it works while a design patent protects how it looks. Design patents may be obtained only where the ornamental features of the invention predominate over its functional features. An invention that is primarily utilitarian in nature is generally not protectable by a design patent. A design patent affords the patent holder the right to prevent others from making, using, or selling a product that resembles the patented product closely enough that an “ordinary observer” might confuse the infringing product for the patented one.
Hickory NC Trademark Protection for a Service
A trademark can protect a service, just like a product. A service trademark is used to identify and distinguish the services of one company from those of others in the same industry. Service trademarks play an important role in protecting a company's brand identity and reputation, and help customers differentiate the company's services from those of its competitors. Service trademarks are registered with the same process as trademarks for goods, while receiving the same legal protection. Registering a service trademark provides the owner with exclusive rights to use the trademark to promote and sell their services, as well as the ability to take legal action against anyone who infringes on their trademark rights.