Intellectual Property

Protecting brand and copyright interests strengthens a nonprofit’s impact.  We work with clients to identify trademark and copyright interests, to implement intellectual property policies, and to develop solutions to clarify ownership and use interests.   

  • Protection and defense of trademarks
    • Nonprofits’ trademarks are valuable assets.  Our law firm assists to aggressively care for these assets through the registration and protection of trademarks and service marks. We employ trademark enforcement strategies that meet our clients’ needs and protect their good names and reputations, including implementing regular checks for infringing uses, drafting of cease and desist letters, and securing adjudicative relief in U.S. District Courts and the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
  • USPTO trademark registrations and proceedings
    • Thoughtful and strategic trademark registration decisions are an essential component to protecting a nonprofit’s brand.  Our law firm conducts comprehensive searches of federal registrations, state registrations, and “common law” unregistered trademarks to assist clients in developing their own marks.  We guide clients through the entire registration process, including determining the best way to describe goods and services and preparing trademark registration applications.  We also represent clients in trademark-related proceedings before the US Patent and Trademark Office, including appeals of trademark registration denials.
  • Unfair competition, misappropriation, and infringement issues
    • We help clients to evaluate such considerations as unfair competition, misappropriation, and trademark and copyright infringement.  We assist our clients to address wrongdoing, whether it be blatant, purposeful infringement for someone else’s gain or subtler issues of using the organization’s name, mark, or copyrighted material without first receiving permission.
  • Copyright protection and policies for a nonprofit's original works of authorship
    • Copyright law encompasses ownership in the expression of an original work of authorship at the time it is fixed in a tangible medium.  No legal formalities are required in order to obtain copyright protection.  Once a work of authorship is fixed in some form that can be communicated, U.S. copyright laws protect it.  We assist in matters relating to the registration and protection of copyrights.  We guide clients through the copyright registration process, including the preparation and filing of a copyright application, and communication with the U.S. Copyright Office.  We also help organizations develop policies about the creation, use, and licensing of copyrighted materials.
  • Licensing, assignment, derivative works, and works-made-for-hire agreements
    • Well-drafted agreements help nonprofits protect their rights and understand their responsibilities when using others’ trademarks or copyrighted materials or allowing others to use their marks or materials.  We assist in negotiating, preparing, and enforcing agreements for the licensing or assignment of trademarks or copyrights.  We draft agreements allowing for the creation of derivative works, such as compilations, translations, or recordings.  Our attorneys also include intellectual property provisions in other contracts as needed, such as by addressing works-made-for-hire issues in employment or independent contractor agreements.
  • Copyright and fair use opinions
    • Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances, especially when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant.  We assist nonprofit organizations by investigating copyright ownership and status, advise on questions of fair use, and prepare formal legal opinions addressing the application of fair use principles to the client's specific circumstances.