What Government Agency Oversees the Protection of Intellectual Property?
The Technical Expert Solution for IP Teams
There are a number of different types of intellectual property and they all have specific laws to protect them. But it’s most common for people to refer to the umbrella term of intellectual property when they’re talking about copyright, patents, or trademarks.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is tasked with overseeing patents and trademarks. This agency does more than just protect intellectual property though – there are a number of different services offered here including trademark searches and patent search assistance that can be used by regular people.
The USPTO also keeps records of all registered trademarks and patents as well as lists of those items which have been granted as copyrights. Using their online search tools, anyone can check if an item has a particular trademark or if a patent has been granted in the past.
However, copyright law is handled by a different agency. In this case, the government agency responsible is called The United States Copyright Office. This agency offers online registration services and other ways to obtain information regarding copyright-related items like licenses and contracts too.
Copyright differs from patents and trademarks in the sense that it is easier to file for protection of copyright, as long as it can be proven that you’re the original creator. Intellectual property like patents and trademarks must pass through a more rigorous process before they are approved by the agency.
Copyright law also covers more than just written works or audio files – it can include nearly any type of creative expression such as paintings, videos and photographs, and even architectural designs and computer software.
All intellectual property law is handled on a federal level and any infringements of the law will be prosecuted by a federal court. However, some states have their own intellectual property laws in place too.
Now you know what government agency oversees the protection of intellectual property, but you may still have questions about exactly how they protect intellectual property. There are many different ways to protect intellectual property.
These agencies have a detailed process for registering trademarks and issuing copyright notices, so your intellectual property is officially protected. They can also respond to any infringement of your intellectual property rights.
That could be anything from someone copying your website content word-for-word without attributing it to you or using an image that’s similar to yours but not attributed in any way. It could also mean stealing trade secrets or using your business name.
When these agencies find out about these infringements, they can take action against them – ranging from simply asking the person responsible to stop what they’re doing, all the way up to getting a court order forcing them to stop infringing on your property and also paying fines for their actions too.
If you have found out that someone is infringing on your intellectual property rights, what can you do about it? In most cases where this happens, the agency is very receptive to complaints. So once you’ve determined which government agency oversees the protection of intellectual property (in other words, if it’s a patent, trademark, or copyright infringement), it should be pretty easy to figure out how to make a complaint.
You can usually file for infringements online or via mail too, but different agencies may require specific forms and information to complete your notice. It’s best to start with their website and carefully follow all instructions until any necessary steps are performed.
However, keep in mind that registration with these agencies does not allow you to act as an “officer of the law” – meaning you can’t file a legal complaint on your own. In most cases, you must hire an attorney to handle any legal issues involved with intellectual property rights infringement.
Filing a complaint is the first step in the process, but it doesn’t mean that there will be immediate action taken or results from this action. Sometimes no action will be taken at all and sometimes it may take years for anything to happen after filing a complaint. It can be difficult to definitively prove that somebody broke intellectual property laws as they may claim that they created the same product or idea independent of yours. In this instance, it is down to you to prove that there has been an infringement. It is for this reason that businesses sometimes decide not to pursue these cases because they are concerned about the length of time invested and the potential costs. However, with the right legal backing, it is worthwhile.