Intellectual Property News - Law and Daily Life
Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Recently in Intellectual Property Category

One in three Americans are sitting on a patentable idea, but very few of them have actually applied for a patent.

According to a recent FindLaw.com survey, 32 percent of Americans have an idea that they would deem patent-worthy, but only 10 percent of home inventors have even taken the first step toward obtaining a patent for an invention.

What else does this survey reveal about American desire to innovate and invent, and how can patents help?

"Cease and desist" has a commanding and alarming ring to it, one that makes recipients of cease-and-desist letters quake in their figurative boots.

But there's really nothing magical or legally damning about a cease-and-desist letter. Often they are just a cheap way for one party's lawyers to shock or bully another party into "ceasing" or "desisting" without actually filing suit.

Don't be fooled by angry words in legalese. Here's how to decipher a cease-and-desist letter:

Is It Legal to Photocopy Textbooks?

College and grad students subsisting solely on Top Ramen may be trying to save money by photocopying textbooks. But is it legal to do so?

While the best approach is to lawfully purchase or rent a textbook, you may be able photocopy a small section of the book for a single assignment without violating copyright laws, as Lifehacker explains.

However, photocopying too much of a textbook could potentially lead to costly copyright infringement claims.

As college students prepare for to start their fall terms, the unfolding saga of Senator John Walsh's plagiarized college paper should act as a warning of the potential perils of academic plagiarism.

Walsh is facing calls to withdraw from the race to defend his Montana Senate seat after allegations surfaced that he failed to properly attribute sources in a 2007 paper written while earning his master's degree at the U.S. Army War College, reports The Huffington Post.

Plagiarism -- copying another's work and passing it off as your own -- can have potentially dire consequences, sometimes many years after the fact. Here are five potential legal consequences of plagiarism:

In a victory for broadcasters, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Aereo's online TV-streaming service violates copyright laws.

The ruling, issued Wednesday, could affect not only the availability of television broadcast content online, but also the future of cloud computing, Reuters reports.

Here are five things you should know about the Supreme Court's 6-3 decision in American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo:

Getty Makes 35M Images Free for Bloggers' Use

Getty Images is now allowing bloggers to use 35 million of its images for free as long as they're used for non-commercial purposes.

Despite Getty placing a watermark on all its online images, Getty executives are aware that people have been copying and pasting copyrighted pictures without permission. So they've created a new system that allows select Getty images to be embedded on websites, with the proper attributions prominently displayed, Forbes reports.

What do bloggers need to know about using Getty's free images?

What Is Fair Use? Consider These 4 Factors

The legal doctrine of fair use allows you to use copyrighted material for certain purposes without permission from the copyright owner.

Stated otherwise, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use of copyrighted material qualifies as fair use, it would not be considered illegal infringement.

To be considered fair use, your copying must be limited and serve a "transformative" purpose.

Legal How-To: Copyrighting Your Screenplay

So you've written a screenplay. Before you share it with others, you'll want to legally protect your script by copyrighting it.

While your work is technically copyrighted the moment you create it, certain legal protections exist only when you register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. For example, registration with the Copyright Office is required before you can file a lawsuit for copyright infringement.

A written treatment or outline of a fully developed, unique story should be enough to qualify for copyright protection, and a completed script usually does. Here's a general overview of what screenwriters need to know about the process:

What Do Copyright, Trademark Symbols Mean?

You see copyright and trademark symbols everywhere, but what exactly do they mean? Generally speaking, they put a stamp on your ownership.

Each of these symbols provides notice to the world that you are claiming legal rights in the mark or work. A few may require you to actually register your mark or work with the government.

Here's an overview of what each of these symbols mean:

Legal How-To: Looking Up Patents, Trademarks

How do you look up a patent or trademark? As today is National Inventors Day, it's a question many creative minds may be wondering about.

When contemplating a patent or trademark, it's important to conduct a preliminary patent and trademark search to make sure there isn't one that's similar -- or even identical -- to your idea.

Regardless of the reason for your search, there are a variety of ways to search for a patent or trademark.