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California Intellectual Property San Diego

California Intellectual Property San Diego Summary

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Used in combination, intellectual property protections allow a business to:

• Protect as intellectual property the words, names, symbols, and devices you use to identify your business;

• Protect as intellectual property original works of authorship such as software code, graphics, images, and writings;

• Protect as intellectual property proprietary information and prevent its unauthorized dissemination; and

• Protect as intellectual property functional features and ornamental designs of your products and processes.

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California Intellectual Property San Diego Details

Intellectual Property Generally

Except in the rarest of circumstances, seeking the protection of only one type of intellectual property will not fully protect the rights of a business. In combination, intellectual property laws may provide thorough protection of the brand names, distinctive packaging, logos, source code, sales literature, website, client lists, formulae, functionality, and aesthetic design that the business relies upon to distinguish its products to consumers in the marketplace and keep a competitive advantage over others businesses in the same industry. A brief description of the four main types of intellectual property rights follows.


A trademark is the word or words, designs, and combination of words and designs used to distinguish goods to consumers in the marketplace. If not functional, sounds, colors, and scents may be registered as trademarks if those attributes serve to distinguish goods to consumers.


Copyrights are the exclusive right to use, reproduce, distribute, publicly display, perform, create derivatives, or authorize others to do these things with a work of authorship. Among the most commonly copyrighted works are (1) literary, musical, and dramatic works; (2) pantomimes and choreographic works; (3) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; (4) motion pictures and other audio-visual works; (5) sound recordings; (6) computer programs; and (7) architectural works.

Copyright law protects only the expressions of an idea and not the actual idea itself if the work is fixed in a tangible medium, is original, or an original compilation.

Trade Secret

Trade secrets are broadly defined to be any information of economic value not known to others wherein the owner of the information takes reasonable steps to keep the information secret. As long as the information remains secret, the information remains protected as a trade secret.


Those who own patent rights have the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a specific term of years. When patent rights expire, the information disclosed in the patent become a part of the public domain and may be freely used by any person or business.

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