If you are a business owner in San Diego, California, your intellectual property rights are important because they can have a great deal of value both in the short term and the long term. Whether it’s an invention, a formula, or a creative work, your intellectual property may need to be protected against violations by competitors. San Diego intellectual property lawyers know that the standard legal protections available for intellectual property include copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Conversely, these same legal protections are sometimes abused by unscrupulous actors who attempt to pressure honest business owners into paying cash settlements to avoid costly IP litigation.
Regardless of whether you are looking to protect your IP rights against infringement, or you’ve received a letter alleging a copyright violation, your first step should be to speak with an experienced intellectual property attorney. The legal team at Tauler Smith LLP helps content creators, photographers, models, artists, and others with IP claims. Contact our San Diego IP litigators to schedule an initial consultation.
San Diego IP Attorneys Represent Plaintiffs & Defendants in Claims Involving Copyright, Trademark, and Trade Secrets
The complicated nature of intellectual property law makes it imperative that you have a knowledgeable attorney representing you throughout the legal process. At Tauler Smith LLP, our San Diego litigators are prepared to represent clients in any type of intellectual property dispute, including:
- Copyright Infringement Claims
- Copyright Defense
- Trademark Infringement Claims
- Trade Secrets
- Right of Publicity
Copyright Infringement Claims
Copyright applies to all kinds of original works, including films, screenplays, songs, novels, paintings, photos, video games, jewelry, and clothing. When you have a copyright, no one will be able to use your work without paying for it. The idea behind copyright is that only the actual creator of a work should derive an economic benefit from their creation. Importantly, you get copyright protection the moment you create an original work, even if the work is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. You will need to get the work registered, however, if you discover someone copying your work and subsequently need to take legal action. A San Diego copyright lawyer can guide you through the legal process, which may necessitate a cease & desist letter, settlement negotiations, or trial in federal court.
Not all copyright infringement claims are brought in good faith. Sometimes, a dishonest person will threaten to file a lawsuit against a business in the hopes of securing a quick cash settlement. These individuals, known as “copyright trolls,” will search the internet for reproductions of photos on websites and social media accounts, and then they send a copyright infringement letter or a DMCA notice to the website or account owner. The letters often demand exorbitant sums of money, and the senders hope that the person on the receiving end will simply pay to make the potential lawsuit go away. If you have received a copyright cease & desist letter, the San Diego copyright lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP can defend you against the frivolous claim and protect your business interests. Our legal team has extensive experience dealing with copyright trolls, so we know how to counter their demands and help you resolve the case without incurring significant legal bills.
Trademark Infringement Claims
Trademark rights typically have value in a commercial context, and they apply to words, phrases, slogans, symbols, and designs that distinguish one product from another product. A trademark means that your good or product is protected against misappropriation by a competitor who might attempt to confuse consumers about which brand they are purchasing. When you have a trademark, it means that you’ve got the exclusive right to use the slogan, logo, or design because consumers are likely to associate it with your brand.
Like a trademark, a service mark provides protection against infringement of a unique visual element of a service that you provide, while trade dress covers the visual appearance of your product’s packaging or labeling. If someone is violating your trademark, service mark, or trade dress, you may be able to pursue damages by filing a Lanham Act claim in federal court. This will require you to register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but it is important to understand that you have trademark rights the moment you begin using the mark. The San Diego trademark attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP can explain your options and guide you through the process of enforcing your IP rights.
Some businesses depend on secret ingredients, formulas, client lists, and other types of proprietary information for much of their value, particularly if competitors could benefit from having access to this information. When a business owner wants to ensure that proprietary information remains secret even after an employee leaves the company, one of the tools at the business’ disposal is a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement. But what happens when a former employee violates the agreement? Federal trade secret law provides businesses with a way to seek damages through legal action in U.S. District Court if someone steals or uses trade secrets, whether it’s a former employee or a competing company. California also has its own trade secrets law that provides businesses with a cause of action to sue anyone who misappropriates confidential information. The San Diego trade secret lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP understand this area of the law because we’ve represented both plaintiffs and defendants in trade secret cases.
Right of Publicity
Right of publicity laws recognize that people have the exclusive right to use their name, likeness, and persona in a commercial context. Right of publicity is an intellectual property right that protects individuals against the unauthorized use of any aspect of their identity. If someone else wants to generate revenues from your identity, they must first acquire the licensing rights from you. But what happens when a person or company uses your name, voice, signature, or image without authorization?
Unlike copyright and trademark, you can’t officially register your right of publicity with the federal government. Although celebrities may be able to file for trademark protection of their name or likeness, there is no federal statute for right of publicity. California, however, does provide statutory protections for the right of publicity in California Civil Code section 3344. Importantly, the California law doesn’t just protect celebrities. For instance, a social media influencer may need to avail themselves of the statute to file a lawsuit against someone who uses the influencer’s image to promote products or services without permission. Whether you are a celebrity, a social media influencer, or someone else whose likeness or identity has been infringed, your best move is to speak with a San Diego right of publicity lawyer who will make sure that your IP rights are fully protected.
About San Diego, CA
San Diego is the county seat of San Diego County in California. The city has a total population of nearly 1.4 million people, and they live on a land area of more than 372 square miles. The median household income for San Diego residents is approximately $86,000, which is significantly higher than the median household income of $67,000 for the rest of the United States.
San Diego has a thriving economy, and it’s been named one of the best U.S. cities for startup businesses. The city’s location near the Pacific Ocean also makes it a hub for international trade. In fact, San Diego is an official foreign-trade zone (FTZ) because a substantial amount of commercial merchandise flows through the Port of San Diego, necessitating the need for some degree of tariff and tax relief for U.S.-based operations. Another important driver of international trade in San Diego is its location on the border with Mexico. There are two border crossings, one of which is recognized as the world’s busiest international border crossing.
Contact the San Diego Intellectual Property Attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP Today
The nationally recognized intellectual property lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP represent clients in San Diego, CA. If you are a business owner, content creator, model, or artist whose creative work was copied or stolen, we can help you. Similarly, if you have been accused of infringing on someone else’s intellectual property rights, our legal team can help defend you against the claim. Contact us now by calling 310-590-3927, or by filling out the firm’s contact form.