An integral part of our representation of businesses includes counseling and prosecution related to copyright law. In our modern economy, many of our clients own and have invested in assets consisting of or protected solely by copyright. Under the U.S. Constitution, the Congress is charged with passing the laws to enforce copyright rules. Those rules are generally set forth in the Lanham Act,the federal law encompassing the copyright rules.A copyright is a legally enforceable right of ownership in an original “work of authorship”, for a limited period of time.
Unlike trademarks, copyrights do not serve as a designation of origin or source for goods or services, and unlike patents copyrights do not protect inventions. Further, copyrights do not protect “trade secrets”, which are generally protected under state law, such as the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Using our background in technology and experience working with business clients, we help clients identify those cases where copyrights will provide the protection needed for an original work of authorship. Those cases often include situations where other sources of protection, like trademark, patent, trade secrets and patents, are not a viable solution for the protection needed. There are cases where patents offer protection and in those cases DR works closely with patent lawyers, including Kyle Rost and other experienced Colorado patent lawyers, where a patent is identified as the best source of protection for our clients. In those cases, often DR will provide the counseling and protection outside of patent and then assist our clients in translating their needs in the areas of patents.
Many of our clients are software, web or information based companies. In those cases, often a combination of protections can best serve a client. For online companies, that might include internal company trade secret protection, and on the web that might include both copyright protection and trademark protection. All of these solutions need to be considered for those companies needing to protect their valuable investment.
In addition, copyright protection is becoming a more common solution for those companies needing to protect information which they have organized but which is in the public domain and otherwise not an original work of authorship. For instance, we have counseled a national cable television education provider in protecting educational materials which are a compilation of public information. Likewise, we have assisted online companies carefully craft copyright registrations to protect their websites.