Types of intellectual property and how to handle disputes

| Jul 1, 2021 | Firm News

Most people have heard of the term intellectual property, and they may have a fairly good idea of what it means. However, fewer people understand exactly what constitutes intellectual property and how long protections last.

There are different types of IP, and if another individual uses IP without permission, this is infringement. To handle disputes related to intellectual property, the parties may choose one of the common resolution methods.

Common types of intellectual Property

According to the Denver Business Journal, there are three common types of intellectual property. These include:

  • Copyrights: This refers to intellectual property that has an author. Examples include music, novels, artwork, lyrics and software. Copyright protection lasts for the life of the creative author plus an additional 70 years.
  • Patents: A patent refers to a new invention or one that is different enough from an existing one. Protections last for 20 years after the filing date.
  • Trademarks: This refers to logos or brands that identify the origin of a service or good. Trademark protection lasts forever as long as the owner continues to renew the protection.

Options for dispute resolution

The Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation discusses the three main types of resolution strategies individuals may use if they suspect IP infringement. The most well-known is litigation, which is when the parties’ attorneys argue their cases in front of a judge and jury. The jury or the judge makes the ruling based on the evidence presented.

A more informal and less stressful method is mediation. A neutral third-party individual works with both sides to help them come up with an agreeable solution.

Arbitration is a third option. There is also a neutral third party, but this individual listens to each side and reviews the evidence before making a ruling on the case.