Intellectual property is any type of work or invention that is the result of creativity. In the state of Colorado, inventors, authors, musicians, and artists need to protect their intellectual property to prevent others from using or financially benefiting from their creations without their permission. There are three types of IP protection: trademark, patent, and copyright. The following example shows how these different kinds of IP protections can apply in the development of a health app.
Entrepreneurs and business owners in the Colorado cannabis industry have unique motivations to protect their intellectual property. A strong strategy in many cases requires securing trademark protection for new strains of cannabis as well as cannabis-related products. Trademark protection is available for visual features, such as phrases, symbols and words, that consumers associate with a particular company or product. It grants exclusive rights to the owner to use it in commerce.
Colorado entrepreneurs generally try to get their new business ventures up and running as quickly as possible, but this eagerness to bring products or services to market can sometimes lead to important legal issues being overlooked. While new business owners usually take steps to ensure that their insurance coverage is adequate and all of the permits and licenses they need are in place before opening their doors, they often fail to address the important issue of intellectual property.
Many business owners in Colorado and around the country are finding it increasingly difficult to protect their intellectual property in the information age. Eight out of ten of the senior executives who were surveyed in a poll said that intellectual property infringement was becoming more common, but many of them also said that they were doing little to keep track of or address the problem.
Colorado residents who are following the development of driverless car technology may be interested in learning about the latest twist in the ongoing litigation between Waymo and Uber over Waymo's driverless car technology. Waymo previously filed a trade secrets and unfair competition lawsuit against Uber. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant and one of Waymo's former employees infringed on Waymo's patented technology and used it in Uber's driverless cars. Uber filed a motion to force Waymo into arbitration and to stay it while related federal patent infringement litigation is proceeding.
Colorado residents may be aware of the ongoing legal dispute between Alphabet and Uber about self-driving car technology. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, previously filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Uber, and the company has now added a patent claim to its complaint.
Some Colorado businesses want to trademark a family of marks that they have been using in their advertising. In order to better understand what is required to do so, business owners might want to be aware of a case involving Little Caesar's.
Many people in Colorado use Apple products for business and personal use. Now, the complex technology that goes into creating many of those devices has become the subject of patent infringement claims. On Dec. 21, Nokia OYJ filed two lawsuits against Apple Inc. over dozens of alleged patent violations. The lawsuits involve technology that is used to create products such as the iPhone, iPod, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac computers.
When forming a business in Colorado, naming the business represents an important first step. In many cases, the business owner will want to trademark the name or elements of the products or services to create a brand identity separate from competitors. Before making a final decision, the business person must determine if the soon-to-be-trademarked identity is not already in use.
Colorado businesses are usually allowed to register any of their trademarks as long as no other party has already done so. However, the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act states that a request for trademark registration may be refused if the content of the trademark may disparage persons, institutions, beliefs or national symbols.