Intellectual property law can be extraordinarily complex, even in the best of circumstances, and those who are considering pursuing IP protection or whose intellectual property rights have been violated may be left with a substantial number of questions about their options under the law. At Gagnon, Peacock & Vereek, P.C., our dedicated team of attorneys understands the difficulty that many in Dallas and Fort Worth may encounter in trying to find answers to these questions. Therefore, we have put together a brief collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about intellectual property law with their answers.
If your question isn’t currently answered here, or if you would prefer to speak with a member of our legal team directly, contact us today by calling (214) 317-4448.
When is a foreclosure wrongful?
In some cases when a lender or lender’s representative acts in “bad faith,” a foreclosure may legally be considered wrongful. For instance, if you are subjected to predatory lending practices, lender dishonesty, not receiving appropriate notice from a lender, or overcharges for late payments, then you may be dealing with a wrongful foreclosure. Speaking with a Dallas attorney can help you learn more about your legal options.
What is a boundary dispute?
Boundary disputes arise when two or more property owners fail to agree on the exact distinction between their properties. Disagreement over boundaries can happen for a number of reasons, such as a flawed deed, unmarked boundary lines, an adverse possession, or a flawed title transfer, among other factors. It is of the utmost importance to resolve boundary disputes, as well as protect your rights. The attorneys from Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., in the Dallas area are familiar with real estate litigation and can help you through the legal process.
Does poor property workmanship qualify me for a lawsuit?
If you employ a person or company to construct on your property, you have every right to believe that this person or company will provide the highest-quality of workmanship possible. Unfortunately, poor workmanship might have left you with a dangerous or inadequate structure. You could qualify for a real estate claim, in which you and your attorney cite poor workmanship as the reason for filing the claim. Protecting your investments is incredibly important, and the attorneys of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., in Dallas have the skill to effectively represent you in such a situation.
What is intellectual property?
Intellectual property is the formal term that refers to a product or idea that is originally one’s own; in other words, a person’s creation. This can refer to a material object, or it can refer to a less tangible product, like an idea. Either way, you have a right to pursue government protection for your intellectual property through a variety of means, including patents, licensing, trademarks, copyrights, and other avenues.
What is a patent and how do I get one?
A patent is meant to be a legal protection on intellectual property. This means that if you invent a product or come up with a new idea, a patent can prevent others from claiming it as their own and benefitting from it financially. Patents require an extensive application before they can be awarded, and unfortunately, these applications often result in confusion or error. However, with the help of an attorney who is experienced at preparing patent applications, you can be well on your way towards getting the protection you need for your intellectual property.
What if I suspect trademark infringement?
Trademarks are the staple of a company’s branding and marketing efforts, both for their products and for a company itself. If another person or entity infringes on your trademark (or uses it as their own), there could easily be consumer confusion regarding services, products, quality, and more. Fortunately, there are legal protections against trademark infringement, and as such, you might be able to take legal action against a person or entity that infringes on your trademark. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal options as they apply to trademark infringement, and can help you take legal action when appropriate.
What exactly is copyright infringement?
Copyright infringement occurs when a person or entity violates the federally protected copyrights of another person or entity. The Copyright Act protects intellectual property against infringement. This intellectual property can include literary works, musical works, dramatic work, choreographic work, pictorial, graphic, and sculptural work, motion pictures, audio visual work, sound recordings, and architectural work. Infringement on any of this intellectual property could result in legal action of the rightful owner against the person who infringed.
Is my product protected under Texas law?
Yes. Texas law considers stealing intellectual property (including portraying a product or good as one’s own when it isn’t) as illegal. You can protect yourself against these acts, by taking legal action against those who commit them. Speak with an attorney in Dallas today from Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., to learn more about what you can do as a victim of trademark infringement or unfair trade.
What is the difference between trade secrets and patents?
The protection of a trade secret lasts forever unless it is made public. With a patent however, a business must often refile for protection every 20 years. When you have an idea, or a product, you’ll want to protect it, and you can do this through applying for trade secrets or patent protection. Though there are benefits to both types of protections, trade secret protection is often easier to obtain than patent protection. A Dallas attorney at Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., can help you decide which protections is best for your particular situation.
Do I need an attorney for licensing?
An attorney can be extremely helpful for a person undergoing an intellectual property issue, such as obtaining licenses. An intellectual property attorney can help with the fair negotiation of licenses, the preparation of agreement drafts, the protection of agreements, and the enforcement of agreements if they are ever violated. Attempting to handle the legal aspects of all of these issues without the help of an attorney can be nearly impossible. Fortunately, a Fort Worth attorney can streamline the licensing process.
What are the different licensing options for intellectual property?
There are many different kinds of licenses to consider when looking to protect your intellectual property. For instance, there are licenses for patents, trademarks, copyrights, cross licenses, exclusivity, non-exclusivity, software, trade secrets, know-how, and comprehensive needs. Depending on your particular needs, it may be beneficial to consider numerous licenses. An attorney in Fort Worth can help you determine which type of license protection is right for you.
Can you enforce a licensing agreement?
Absolutely. If you have a licensing agreement for a product, service, good, or idea, and that agreement is violated by another person or entity, formal litigation can be an option. Enforcement of licensing agreements is a critical component to protecting your intellectual property, and a Fort Worth attorney from Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., can be an immense help to you and your business.
What is predatory lending?
Predatory lending refers to a type of practice where a lender will apply abusive or unfair terms for a borrower. If a borrower agrees to unfair terms as a part of deceptive or false lending practices, this too can constitute predatory lending. Unfortunately, many people suffer due to predatory lending practices. If you think that you have been subjected to predatory lending, you might be able to put a stop to it with the help of an experienced real estate attorney.
Can my creditor overcharge me for late payments?
No. Although there are often fees associated with a late payment on a home or property, a creditor is not permitted to charge more than the amount of late fee stated in your homeownership contract. If you have been subjected to overcharges, then your creditor might be trying to force a wrongful foreclosure on you, and you do not have to stand for this. You can talk with a real estate litigation attorney today and learn more about how to protect yourself from unfair practices like overcharges and excessive late payment penalties.
What is trade dress?
Trade dress is, in the most basic sense, the general appearance or image of a company. It can refer to a company’s trademark, logo, product packaging, and more. Unfortunately, trade dress infringement is all too common in Forth Worth, and can cost business owners a lot of time and money to combat. Fortunately, an experienced intellectual property attorney can protect your company against such infringement.
Can I recover damages for trade dress infringement?
Yes. Trade dress infringement is illegal, and if your business has been victimized by such a crime, you could be eligible to pursue compensation from those responsible for the infringement. You could recover damages for lost profits, monetary expenses, attorney fees, defendants’ profits, statutory damages, and fees for filing an injunction to protect against any future infringement.
What is typosquatting?
Typosquatting is a form of cybersquatting. Cybersquatting is an illegal practice in which the registration or use of a domain name online is very similar to another, existing domain name. Typosquatting, then, incorporates another’s trademark only with misspelled versions. This practice is illegal and can cost a business a lot of financial problems. Fortunately, Fort Worth businesses can combat typosquatting with the help of an experienced intellectual property attorney.
What is an easement?
In the most basic sense, an easement entitles certain persons or entities to access parts of a property for a particular use. Though easements can be beneficial to many groups or individuals, sometimes property owners dispute them, and this is when the need for legal intervention arises.
What kind of easement disputes are there?
There are numerous easement disputes that might arise in the Fort Worth area. If possessors of an easement think that they have the right to certain aspects of a property but the property owner disagrees, then legal disputes may arise. The most common forms of easement disputes are utility easements, private easements, and prescriptive easements. Discussing your legal position with an attorney is the best way to know for sure how to pursue your complaint.
Can I sue for a construction defect?
Sometimes. In many cases, real estate litigation involves disputes about the quality of construction, or construction defects that create poorly-designed or unsafe structures that may cause injuries. For instance, you might have a claim if you have experienced poor workmanship, the use of defective materials, negligence on the parts of contractors or subcontractors, code violations, or any safety defects. An experienced Fort Worth attorney could help you evaluate your legal options.
Why do oil and gas disputes arise?
Everyone is eager for oil and gas and other natural resources because the industry is booming, so when oil or gas is discovered on a property, people leap at the chance to be a part of ownership. Unfortunately, sometimes disputes between property owners and oil and gas companies arise because there is no agreement about who the rightful owner of the minerals is. An experienced attorney can help settle these differences to your benefit.
What can I do if an oil or gas company is harassing me about my mineral rights?
Sometimes oil and gas disputes arise because an oil or gas company is attempting to encroach on your mineral rights. Unfortunately, legal intervention is often necessary to help property owners and mineral rights owners stake their claim to oil and gas, or at least protect them financially if they sell their rights. The attorneys of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. can help Forth Worth and Dallas mineral rights owners protect themselves against undue harassment from oil and gas companies.
Another company is copying my product and taking my customers, what can I do?
When another company markets their product as your product, it can be vinancially detrimental to your business. Luckily, there is action you can take under intellectual property law. Protecting yourself from unfair competition is an important aspect of company ownership, and an experienced attorney from Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. can help business owners prevent unfair competition and help them fight back if they have already experienced it.
What is a utility patent?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, has strict guidelines regarding utility patents. It is the most common form of patent (making up about 90% of approved patents nationwide) and is “issued for the invention of a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof.” Basically, it is meant to protect inventors from someone else using, making, or selling an idea or product for a set amount of time—usually 20 years. This can be crucial for Fort Worth inventors who want to protect their ideas or products from infringement or fraud.
How is a design patent different from a utility patent?
A design patent is similar to a utility patent, but a design does not have to have yielded an actual product yet. It may still be in the early workings of thought or production, but an experienced intellectual property lawyer would likely recommend you protect it with a design patent. This patent, if approved by the USPTO, can protect you from any other individual or company that wants to make, use, or sell your design for its own profit. Fort Worth designers should also know that there is usually a fourteen-year term on a design patent once approved, as opposed to a 20-year protection for a utility patent.
Can I get a plant patent?
Plant patents are extremely rare because they are so specific. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) mandates that a plant patent is “issued for a new and distinct, invented or discovered asexually reproduced plant including cultivated sports, mutants, hybrids, and newly found seedlings, other than a tuber propogated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.” While rare, if you qualify for the patent and it is approved, the plant patent will offer you exclusive access to make, use, and sell the plant for a period of up to 20 years.
Does the name of my company count as a trademark?
Yes. Trademarks are meant to make your company stand apart from others, especially those that offer similar products or services. They can include many things, such as the name of the company, symbols, colors, scents, sounds, and words. If you believe that your trademark has been infringed upon, you could be facing huge profit loss, but an experienced intellectual property attorney may be able to help Fort Worth inventors and companies.
Do you charge for an initial consultation?
No. At Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., we believe in letting our potential clients in Dallas see what we have to offer before making any financial commitments. This is why we offer a free initial consultation regarding your intellectual property concerns. Ask us all of your questions today by contacting our office to set up your own initial meeting.
Can my dramatic work be protected under copyright law?
Yes. According to the Copyright Act, dramatic work like a play or stage work can be protected under copyright. This means that only the authors of the copyrighted work can reproduce it, prepare derivative work from it, distribute copies of it, perform it, display it publicly, or make a sound recording of it. Fort Worth playwrights must be able to protect their dramatic works from infringement, and the copyright attorneys of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., may help them do this.
How do I find the right attorney?
Finding the right attorney is important in cases of intellectual property issues, because this aspect of law can be confusing and nuanced. However, you can begin by asking a few simple questions that can quickly hint at how your relationship with an attorney would work. These questions include:
- How much do you charge and do your fees ever change?
- Have you won any cases like mine? How many?
- What will you need me to do during a case?
- Will you / how will you enforce the court’s decision?
Answers to these questions should give you an idea of how you will be handled by a firm individually, and should help you narrow your search considerably.
Is your firm also on social media?
Yes! At Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., we understand the growing interest and value of social media outlets to stay in contact with our clients. This is one reason you can follow our practice on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. In addition to having our personal and individualized attention on your particular case, you can follow our activity and success more generally on these outlets, or even tell others about our services.
What is required of me during my lawsuit?
Because every person’s individual intellectual property case is unique, it can be difficult to say exactly what your role will be in your own case. Depending on circumstances, you might be called to be a witness; you might also have to collect and provide documentation to substantiate your claims; you might not be required to take any action. The only way to really get an accurate sense of your requirements during your case is to talk with your attorney in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Can I represent myself?
Although it may seem tempting to think about representing yourself in intellectual property cases, this is not always advisable. Some people think that doing so will save them money, but not having experienced legal representation can actually end up costing you more money. If you make a mistake while representing yourself, that one error can cost you the case, whereas an attorney who understands the minutia of intellectual property law has been trained to avoid common errors and will work tirelessly on your behalf. You should at least speak with an attorney in Dallas/Fort Worth about your options for representation before making any big decisions.
How long will my case take?
It is extremely difficult to say how long an individual case will take. When it comes to intellectual property cases, individual cases are all so different that only a rough estimate of a timeline can be made. The best way to get a more accurate idea of the time frame you’re looking at is to speak with an attorney about your case, and he or she may be able to outline the likely course your case will take.
What if I cannot afford a lawsuit?
You may think that you cannot afford to file a lawsuit, but if you’ve been wronged in the area of intellectual property, it might actually end up costing you more if you don’t file. If someone has infringed on your property or your rights, then you could be losing profits that are rightfully yours. This could mean financial ruin for you, or the dissolution of a promising financial future. Many people think that they cannot afford a lawsuit but are operating under a mistaken idea of how much it costs. Speak with an experienced Dallas attorney to become fully informed about your options today.