Intellectual Property Law traditionally encompasses separate areas of the law which share a common theme: they are concerned with intangible property rights which are the results of the creative enterprise of individuals and corporations. These rights may be manifest in products or processes that are made or practiced based on the innovation of the owner, or they may result in a book, play, or sculpture or other creative work of intellect, or they may derive from the reputation and marketing savvy of a merchant or businessman. These rights are no less important to a successful economy than are the property rights in land, buildings, and other tangible things, and setting the boundaries of an owner's rights and helping maintain those boundaries requires as much skill and experience as any field of law.
Patent Law is the Constitutionally based body of Federal Laws that are intended to reward inventors for their innovations and inventions for the benefit of society. The reward is the limited monopoly to control the making, using, selling, offering for sale and importing of products or services embodying the patented invention. Knowledge of the law from the conception of the invention through the distribution of products or services embodying the invention is key to attain the best opportunity to preserve the inventors rights in the invention and the best possibility of turning the limited monopoly in the invention into a profit.
Veal IP seeks involvement with our clients as early in the process as possible. We offer a sounding board at which we discuss the possibilities and guidance along the path to patent protection. Through searches and counseling, we can assist with evaluating the potential for obtaining a patent. Where patent protection is possible, we can prepare the application for filing in the United States Patent Office and shepherd the application through the process of attempting patent protection for the invention.
In another aspect of Patent Law, we review the prior art for guidance as to whether a new endeavor will run afoul of a third party patent and advise how to avoid infringement of known patents. We can assist with evaluating whether areas exist in which new endeavors can safely exploit growth. With respect to litigation, we represent clients who have been accused of infringement as well as patent owners who seek to protect their rights in their inventions through the courts.
Unfair Competiton and Trademark Law
Unfair Competition Law is a body of State and Federal Law that is intended to do exactly what its name implies: regulate the conduct in the marketplace to promote fairness in the free enterprise system. The law doesn't do this by trying to make everyone equal, but rather by establishing what conduct is acceptable for both large and small entities. One aspect of this body of law is Trademark Law which serves to protect the business reputation of the merchant and the expectations of the consumer by allowing the creation and control of Trademarks and Service marks which are recognizable by consumers as the indication of the source of the goods or services with which they are used. Another aspect is to control the use of false or misleading statements about the nature, qualities, or source of another persons business, products or services. Yet another is the body of law surrounding trade dress in product packaging and configuration.
At Veal IP we counsel regarding the factors that make a good trademark and the availability of a particular mark based on searches of existing marks. We prepare, file and process trademark applications through the United States Trademark Office and assist with maintaining registered mark through the renewal process. We also counsel regarding the standards that are acceptable in commercial speech and we advise as to whether specific packaging or configuration is likely to be protectable as trade dress or considered an infringement of an existing trade dress.
We assist with litigation in the Trademark Office in both Oppositions and Cancellations of registrations as well as in the courts, where we represent either plaintiff or defendant in an unfair competition claim.
Copyright Law is a body of exclusive Federal Law intended to secure to writers, artists and other creators exclusive rights in the tangible expression of their ideas. Copyright law is exclusively based on Federal Law and there is no state copyright law. A copyright in a creative work comes into existence by operation of law as soon as the author fixes the work in a tangible medium. A tangible medium may include an electronic file, a piece of paper, a sculpture, a software program and many other variations.
A copyright in a work does not have to be registered to exist, however, registration is a pre-requisite to protecting the work in the courts and failure to register the work promptly can foreclose the possibility of recovery of certain types of damages and fees that are available to registered works.
We guide you as to what is protectable under copyright, how to protect your works, how to avoid infringing copyrights of others, what the doctrine of fair use allows, how copyright affects the internet, and all topics related to copyright. We can litigate copyright issues and hopefully help you avoid having to do so.
With over 34 years of experience in practicing law, I’ve come to appreciate the mediation as a valuable tool for settling disputes with practical results, decided on and agreed to by the adverse parties, at a far less cost in terms of money, time, and stress. I’ve also learned that a good mediator doesn’t have to be a lawyer or a subject matter expert. Rather, the mediator needs to be a good listener with enough life experience to understand what the parties to the mediation are communicating about what they need to resolve the dispute.
Most of my legal career has involved intellectual property law and has lead me to deal with countless businesses as they try to create, protect and defend their property rights in their companies. I’ve been recognized in a book listing the best lawyers in America and in another proclaiming me to be a Preeminent Lawyer. I’ve represented clients in cases in Federal Courts from California to Maine. Most of them settled. More importantly, this part of my life experience has given me a behind the scenes look at business decision makers in start-up companies and multi-billion dollar conglomerates. I have an appreciation of what they go through in running their companies, hiring and firing their employees, allocating their assets, and competing in the business world.
Beyond the legal career, I served in the United States Navy for seven years as an enlisted man and as an officer. I was selected for a Navy scholarship program that allowed me to get an undergraduate degree in physics at a civilian college and then go to flight school where I learned about decision making under pressure. Before the Navy, I worked in a textile factory, a warehouse, on a farm, in a grocery store, and painted houses. Though I was young then, I learned a lot about how people treat each other.
I’ve also served as the director of a youth baseball league for several years and as a coach for my kid’s team. I’ve seen sports bring out the best in kids and the worst in parents and at times I have been the one who had to get everyone to work together to keep the program viable for the kids. I’ve served in civic organizations in leadership positions, on steering committees for the creation of new high schools, on the board of deacons of a church and on the bylaws committee of several others. In each of these situations, I’ve learned about people and what they need to get along, and how to help them do just that.
If you are looking for a mediator that fits your case, I might not be the mediator for you. If you are looking for a mediator that fits the people in your case, then you should give me a call to discuss what we can do together.