INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION
PRODIGY LAW® provides legal representation and counseling to ensure the safety of your businesses' most important assets, its intellectual property (IP). We provide our clients with Intellectual Property Protection throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

We can ensure the safety of your IP by:

1. Copyrighting your businesses works.
2. Trademarking your businesses name and logo.
3. Preparing forms and agreements to protect your businesses trade secrets.
4. License your IP.
5. Prepare strong contracts regarding all IP matters.

The following is a list of IP documents that Prodigy Law can prepare for your business:

Copyright Registration and Counseling
Trademark Registration and Counseling
Patent Counseling and Referral
Trade Secret Protection and Counseling
Content License Agreement
Development and License Agreement
Hosting License Agreement
Joint Developers' Agreement for Sales, Licensing, and Marketing
License Agreement
OEM Hardware & Software License and Purchase Agreement
OEM Reciprocal License Agreement
Patent Cross License Agreement
Patent Rights Purchase Agreement
Promotional Services & Customer Database Services Agreement
Purchase and License Agreement
Software Distribution and License Agreement
Software License Agreement
Technology License Agreement
Television Rights License Agreement
Trademark and Service Mark License Agreement

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DEFINITIONS

A businesses intellectual property is commonly comprised of copyrightable material, trademarks and service marks, patentable material and trade secrets. It is quite common for individuals even in technical fields to be fuzzy on the distinctions between the IP categories.

Copyright refers to material that is most commonly identified as art and literature. However, copyright more broadly extends to graphics, illustrations, paintings, drawings, fiction writing, nonfiction writing, website text and content, self-made business manuals created for employees, specially prepared charts and diagrams, and all other things written that are not mechanical in nature (mechanisms are patented). One of the most common misconceptions in the copyright versus patent understandin, is that source code or software programming was deemed by the Courts to be copyrightable, not patentable. (I think the courts missed the mark here, because a modern understanding of software programming and source code is that the programming text operates more like a mechanism than a writing. In nonfiction or fiction writing, the text's inherent value is the information or story it provides. Programming code's value is to make something, like a computer or a piece of machinery, perform a function.) Copyright ownership begins at creation and is protectable without registration with the United States Copyright Office. However, it is recommended that copyrightable material be registered, because statutory money damages become available and thus is more of a deterrent from others thinking about stealing your copyrightable work.

Patents refer to the protection of ideas that are embodied in mechanisms and processes. The blueprints for a better mousetrap, the six-slice toaster, the thinnest laptop computer, the most energy efficient microchip, and the process for manufacturing memory foam for a mattress are examples of patentable material. Patents are most popularly identified with the protection of innovative tools, gadgets and gizmos, but also include processes. Often how to make an innovative thing, is just as, or more important than, the thing itself. Process Patents should not be confused with Trade Secrets (discussed below), which relate to the provisioning of services more than the manufacturing of goods and products. Patents
can only be protected if they are registered for with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Trademarks and Service Marks refer to those emblems that announce to a consumer that he or she is about to use, purchase or select the genuine product or service from a company, who has built a reputation for reliability and satisfaction in providing said product or service. Trademark owners must protect their marks as having a life of its own and not become the pronoun or generic for the category to prevent risk of losing the trademark (e.g. Coca-Cola needs "cola" as a description of the entire category of beverage or lose their Trademark; Kleenex needs "tissue" to describe the category of its product or lose its Trademark; SPAM by Hormel has a note that "spam" should only be spelled in lower-case letters when used as a reference for junk email, reserving SPAM in capital letters as the Trademark for Hormel's canned meat product). I should emphasize that Trademarks and Service marks are for the protection of consumers, so they are not duped by a lesser brand into receiving inferior product. Tradmark law stands for the proposition that consumers should be able to purchase the "product" they desire with the signature quality the consumer has come to rely on. Trademarks and Service marks can only be protected if they are registered for with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Trade Secrets refers to that special category of innovative ideas that businesses develop to best their competition. The law provides that these Trade Secrets are protectable from theft as long as the business that created them maintains the secrecy of its special idea. Trade Secrets are not registerable with any government agency, and is protected through confidentiality agreements, locked cabinets, locked doors and other means that safeguard the secret. (One of the most famous Trade Secrets is Kentucky Fried Chicken's Col. Sanders secret herbs and spices to make up their original recipe chicken.)