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An Overview of Intellectual Property Law

What is Intellectual Property Law?

Intellectual property law protects the rights of ownership of created works to the author or creator.

They are sets of laws focused on encouraging the creation and innovation of new inventions, discoveries, and technologies. By providing protection, people are free to expand their fields of knowledge, think freely, and ultimately bring innovative change to the world.

Under these laws, authors, artists, inventors, researchers, companies, and corporations can nurture their creations without fear of losing their rights. To enable more bandwidth within their creative space, without the fear of another party taking their ideas, concepts, or products.

Today’s world thrives on new ideas and innovation. So, intellectual property laws ensure a concept can develop into reality and move how we view the world forward.

This enables creators to focus on taking their ideas from concept to a new invention, plant hybrid, machinery, or work of art. Creating something new takes effort, dedication, and lots of time. With intellectual property law enforcement, these creators are more likely to thrive.

Types of Intellectual Property

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) classifies ‘intellectual property’ (IP) as creations of the mind. Such as inventions, designs, symbols, literary and artistic works, names, and images used in commerce.

The United States divides intellectual property into several types to provide better coverage. They are Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, and Trade Secrets.


Trademarks are a service, design, word, symbol, or a combination that distinguishes a source of goods and services.


From the time the works are created in a fixed form, copyrights protect the original works of authorship.


Patents protect new, useful process, machine, composition of matter, article of manufacture, or any new useful improvement thereof.

Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are formulas, processes, practices, designs, instruments, or patterns that a creator uses to produce a product or service. Which can provide an economic advantage over competitor products or services.

Defining intellectual property into specific types enables better enforcement of laws and protection, safeguarding creators and their works.

Different Types of IP Rights

Intellectual property law exists to protect intellectual property, and to provide creators with specific rights. Each type of intellectual property has a set of benefits and requirements.

Trademark Rights

A registered trademark protects the right to use any word, symbol, design, or combination of these to identify as the sole source of products or services.

This provides legal protection to a brand and helps guard against counterfeiting and fraud.

Copyright Rights

A copyright provides the owners with these exclusive rights:

  • Distribute copies or phono records of the work to the public
  • Create derivative works based on the original work
  • Reproduce copies of the work
  • Perform the work publicly
  • Display the work publicly

Copyright also provides the owner with the right to allow others to practice these rights, subject to certain statutory limitations.

Patent Rights

Patents gives the inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling an invention.

Trade Secret Rights

If the owner makes a reasonable effort to keep the information secure, the system protects these by default.

Owners can enforce upon the unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of trade secrets.

Who can Benefit from IP Protection?

Anyone. Since intellectual property rights protect creations of the mind, any person can benefit from the rights granted in any type of IP protection.

If you are seeking help in navigating the intellectual property law, please call (312) 236-8500. There, one of our knowledgeable team members will be available. They can provide more information regarding our capabilities and can answer your questions. You can also send us a message by filling out the form found on this page, and we will contact you shortly.

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Importance of IP Protection

Innovations, inventions, discoveries, and other types of creation are crucial in the advancement of many aspects in society. Not to mention that they are a massive source of revenue and the continued employment of a large portion of the population.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of intellectual property law to protect creators and their work.

Economic development thrives with innovation and investment. By protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) helps ensure the success of U.S. Businesses of medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The U.S. Chamber of commerce estimates that IP intensive industries employ over 55 million Americans, and the Small Business Administration estimates that SMEs alone employ half of Americans and account for 65% of new jobs.

Intellectual property thefts are a serious matter, subduing innovation, slowing economic growth, and weakening the competitiveness of U.S. employers.

Basic Steps to Protecting IP

Some basic ways to combat the loss of intellectual property include:

Register trademarks, patents, and copyrights — By performing registration of these IPs, creators give themselves the rights to protect their intellectual property and pursue litigation when necessary.

Register product, business, and domain name — This helps protect brand identity and ensure the business can capitalize on their own branding without risking unauthorized copies or imitations

Non-Disclosure, Confidentiality Agreements, and Contracts — By defining terms of access and usage with employees and vendors, companies can further protect their IP like trade secrets.

Security Measures — Technology puts information into a super-fast highway. But on the same subject, it also allows for greater accessibility of that information, and without proper security measures, your IP can be compromised.

Some of the most valuable assets a company has may be IP. Which is why it is important to take advantage of the protection intellectual property law offers.

Common IP Violations and Misconceptions

Intellectual property matters can be confusing. Which leads to people having a misunderstanding of how IP rights work and result in infringement or fraud.

Common Violations

Trademark Infringement — People may use a similar word, symbol, phrase, or logo as a well-known brand to sell similar products or services. Which can lead to confusing customers to purchase from a brand posing as another.

Patent Infringement — Others using an exact product that matches a registered patent.

Copyright Infringement — An unauthorized party uses a creative work, like words or images for their own profit.

Common Misconceptions

A Patent Grants Worldwide Protection — Registered patents in the United States only protects patents within the country. Those looking to protect their IP overseas need to register with foreign authorities to ensure their rights.

No Copyright Symbol — The idea that if there is no copyright symbol present, it means that it is free to use. Companies do not have to include the symbol, even if the material is copyrighted.

All Encompassing Protection with Trade Secrets — Some young businesses believe that classifying information not covered by copyright or patents as trade secrets can protect it. But trade secret protection is difficult to prove and dispute.

Businesses Own all IP Created by Employees — Unless specified, a company does not automatically own the rights to any intellectual property created by an employee or contractor.

If it Appears ‘Official’ it Probably is — A common practice among scammers includes contacting business owners claiming that they need to pay to protect some of their IP. Because emails come from seemingly official businesses, many pay for the fees without question. It is better to check with the patent and trademark office if there are any concerns about missing fees.

Finding the Right Intellectual Property Law Attorney

Protecting your intellectual property should be at the forefront of priorities to ensure your innovations remain safe. But it can feel like an overwhelming process. The key is finding an experienced law firm that can help. Luckily, you are not alone.

Cook Alex is ready to help you with every aspect of protecting your IP. As your intellectual property lawyer, we review your portfolio and determine the best plan to meet your needs.

We aim to make the entire process as simple as possible. Helping with registrations and documentation to protect all your intellectual property.

Our attorney team has offices in Chicago and Naperville, Illinois. But we are ready to offer counsel, prosecution, mediation, arbitration, and support in other practice areas. We serve clients nationwide and abroad.

Do not risk your intellectual property security, contact us today!

The Cook Alex Difference

Cook Alex has years of experience serving a variety of clients in business law, copyright law, patent law, and more. You can say we have seen a thing or two. And we apply our experience in providing comprehensive intellectual property solutions.

We leverage our experience and focus on providing tailored services that can turn clients’ ideas, thoughts, concepts, and creativity into competitive advantages.

Our intellectual property law firm has successfully represented inventors, start-ups, research institutions, foundations, universities, established businesses, and Fortune 500 companies.

Benefit from our Intellectual Property Law Experience!

When it comes to your intellectual property, do not take a chance. Call (312) 236-8500 and speak with one of our associates. They can discuss your needs in more detail and can help you schedule a free consultation. You can also send us a message by filling out the form found on this page, and we will contact you as soon as possible!

You can trust us to handle all your intellectual property needs!

Get Started Today

Cook Alex

Chicago Patent Attorney
200 West Adams Street, Suite 2004
Chicago, Illinois 60606

Naperville Patent Attorney
2020 Calamos Court, Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: (312) 236-8500
Fax: (312) 236-8176