Trademark, Copyright
& Trade Secrets

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Trademark and Copyright

"Your unique identity has a significant independent value. A trademark is an important part of who you are. If properly protected, a trademark enhances your good will."

Generally, a trademark is any word, name, symbol, or device or combination thereof used by a person or company to identify and distinguish their goods or services from the goods or services of another and to indicate the source of the goods or services.
Harley-Davidson trademarked their sound. Coke trademarks their bottle shape. There are many options as to what may be protected.

Once your Trademark is in use, you have the exclusive right to use it. You have the right to stop and prevent the use of any similar and subsequent trademark which would lead to confusion between their products or services and yours.

Trademarks are only yours, if you used them first. And they remain enforceable only if you protect them. Trademarks can typically be protected and infringement can often be halted with an appropriate notice letter.

Registering your mark makes it stronger, discourages infringement and increases both the likelihood and amount of damages which may be recovered for infringement. The availability of such damages serves as a deterrent to infringement.

Just about any original expression of language, ideas or graphics is protectable through copyright law. Similarly, just about any cut-and-paste job can constitute copyright infringement. It will never hurt to get a clarification before using terminology or graphics for profit.

 

Trade Secrets

“Any information, methods or techniques which you have spent your time and money developing, protected and held in confidence, and which provide you with a business advantage is your property and has a value to be protected.”

As an example, client lists are often protected, particularly when additional information about the client is included in that data base.

The particular danger is that once information reaches the status of a trade secret, it is permanently protected. An employee is never allowed to go to another company and compete with his former employer by using the former employer’s trade secrets.

When recruiting talent, it is important to be familiar with this issue, as well as the often related issues of confidentiality agreements and non-competition agreements. If these issues are ignored they can become devastating for both companies. One will lose a substantial amount of business, while the other is subject to substantial legal liability. Often an initial negotiation can resolve the issue while avoiding years of litigation.

Telephone: 281.762.1377

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House Perron & House PLLC

2211 Norfolk Street Suite 1150,

Houston, TX 77098

Phone. 281-762-1377

Fax. 8663427683