Trademarks | International Trademarks | Copyrights | Trade Secrets | Licensing | IP Portfolio Service
With our help, entrepreneurs rest assured that their ideas will be protected until those ideas come to life. Owners of established businesses learn how to protect their assets and property.
The most important assets of many businesses are the intangible things like goodwill that have grown over time and the intellectual property (IP) assets where businesses invest so many resources yet often do little to protect them. While business owners will always remember to lock the doors, they often leave their IP vulnerable.
Our clients' intellectual property is protected at every step of the way. We help them:
- Register trademarks (at the state and federal level and internationally) and license trademarks.
- Selecting and rolling out new brands.
- Protect trade secrets through contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and other means.
- Create and maintain intellectual property portfolios.
- Understand their rights and learn effective techniques to protect intellectual property.
- We train our clients to register and protect their copyrights.
By protecting its intellectual property, businesses can maintain and enhance the goodwill they enjoy with their customers, vendors, and other business partners.
In particular, we provide an Intellectual Property Portfolio service. We help our clients to systematically protect their IP assets by developing and maintaining an IP Portfolio for them. Small- and medium-size businesses can have the same protection as large corporations through our service.
Trademarks and branding
A company’s trademarks are among its most valuable assets. Trademarks are linked to a company’s identity and goodwill. Developing and protecting those trademarks can be critical to the success and value of a business. Failing to protect those trademarks can be devastating to a company.
We provide counsel on the use of domain names and the process of branding that includes a company’s trademarks, domains and Website content. We have experience with the relationship of trademark law and domain name law, and how those areas affect a company's branding efforts.
In today's hardball business environment, businesses launching a new brand or website are faced with several threats. Competitors will snatch up domains. Unscrupulous persons (and their attorneys) will file bad faith trademark applications to prevent a legitimate registration. Business owners need counsel on how to avoid these pitfalls.
Our clients are guided in the timing of their domain registrations, trademark registrations, and website launches. They enjoy the maximum of legal protection for their brand and the minimum of exposure to the loss of domains or harrassment from bad faith trademark filings.
The clients of the Law Offices of Eric D. Morton get expert advice on the development, selection, use and protection of their trademarks. Businesses sometimes develop and build a business for years and suddenly receive a cease and desist letter from a large law firm saying their trademark infringes on a registered trademark.
We protect our client’s brand from the beginning. During the process of selecting a new brand, we counsel our client on the availability and protectability of the brand. We employ a systematic method of securing domains and trademarks before our clients begin using a new brand. We file the necessary applications for registration that will prevent the loss or weakening of the brand. Our clients can develop and use their brands with peace of mind, knowing that they are fully protected.
We can register our clients' trademarks in 80 foreign countries through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The United States is a party to the Madrid Protocols which provides for a streamlined process for international trademark registration through WIPO. We have used this process successfully to protect and add value to our client's trademarks.
A foreign registration can protect a trademark overseas, combat piracy and add value to a business.
The Law Offices of Eric D. Morton educates and trains its clients in the protection of their copyrights. We provide training to our clients so that they can systematically and routinely register their copyrights.
Copyright registration can be extremely important to the protection of a company’s assets. Copyright-protected materials are often the very basis of a business. Artists, photographers, software companies and many other professionals solely traffic in copyright protected works.
The registration of copyrights is important for two reasons. First, such a registration gives public notice of ownership of a work. Second, and most importantly, registration is the only way to enforce the ownership of a copyright.
In order to enforce a copyright, the copyright must be registered. The U.S. Copyright Office registers copyrights. Once a work is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, the owner may enforce his or her rights to enjoin infringement and seek damages under the Copyright Act.
Once the basics of copyrights are understood, copyright registration is a straightforward process. We encourage our clients to file their own copyright registrations. To this end, The Law Offices of Eric D. Morton offers copyright registration training. We meet with business owners and their staff and walk them through the registration process, including what can be registered and how to do so.
Trade Secrets can be among the most difficult of all intellectual property to protect. By their very nature, trade secrets are developed confidentially, and sometimes business owners don’t even recognize their trade secrets until it is too late to protect them.
Trade secrets include business methods, customer lists, recipes and any other process or idea that a business may want to keep confidential.
Business owners must take steps to preserve the confidential nature of their trade secrets. Trade secrets are ultimately nothing more than information that can be easily taken and transmitted. Unethical competitors and former employees can put trade secrets to use immediately and to the great harm of the owner.
Once trade secrets are compromised, it is very difficult if not impossible to undo the damage. In today’s business world, with its highly mobile workforce, a business owner must think about what information is available to employees, vendors, customers and consultants. Misappropriation of confidential information is always a threat.
Our clients are counseled and educated to identify and protect their trade secrets. We develop customized and fully enforceable non-disclosure agreements. We develop employment contracts with non-solicitation clauses that prevent employee theft of customers. We work with our clients to ensure that their trade secrets are fully cataloged in their intellectual property portfolios and safeguarded by limited access and the appropriate agreements.
Great care must be taken in entering into a licensing agreement. Certain terms must be included in agreements to protect the rights of the parties. For instance, a trademark license must contain a provision that the licensor approves or disapproves of all licensed designs and goods. If such a provision is not included, then the licensor can lose its rights to the trademark.
We have negotiated, drafted and reviewed scores of licensing agreements in a variety of industries. We represent both licensors and licensees in trademark and copyright licenses.
The reporting and payment of royalties can vary widely depending on the industry. In the apparel industry, license royalties are usually paid quarterly and are reported and paid within 30 days of the end of each quarter. However, in licenses between Internet-based companies, royalties are often paid weekly within one day of the end of each week.
Our clients benefit from license agreements that are negotiated and drafted by an experienced attorney--an attorney who not only knows the law but understands the differences in their individual businesses and industries.
We understand the sometimes-subtle nuances of IP licensing. Negotiating and drafting license agreements takes an understanding of the law, the industry and the client. We know the law and we take the time to get to know our clients and their industries.
ip portfolio service
An IP portfolio is a systematic method of protecting the intellectual property of a business by inventorying, cataloging and periodically reviewing the businesses’ IP. The reason for doing is to prevent the loss of IP through the lapse of registrations or licenses and to prevent the misus of a company's IP assets.
Unless a company has a systematic method of reviewing its IP assets, it may let the registration lapse.
The Law Offices of Eric D. Morton helps its clients create and maintain IP portfolios for their important intangible assets. A client’s assets are inventoried and a systematic method of tracking and managing the client’s intellectual property assets is created.
Another advantage of creating an IP portfolio is that it reminds business owners of their IP assets and gets them thinking about their use and other items that may need protection.
The most essential reason for creating an IP portfolio is that it increases the marketability and value of a business. A company that does not have registrations for its trademarks or does not protect its copyrights is almost unmarketable. A company that not only protects its IP assets, but also has a standard system for reviewing and protecting its IP is much more valuable and attractive to potential buyers.
Large corporations have in-house attorneys, or hire big law firms, to manage their IP portfolios. Companies that own massive amounts of copyright-protected material, own many patents, or have several brands, may have several attorneys dedicated to managing their IP portfolios. Those companies are very serious about protecting their IP. The small- and medium-sized business owner should likewise treat their IP with care.
Our clients have the same advantages as large corporations in creating and maintaining their IP portfolio but at considerably less expense. We review a company's IP assets and help organize an easy-to-use portfolio that the business can manage. We then send periodic reminders to our clients for them to review their portfolios. In this way, these businesses can have the same level of professional IP management as large corporations, even if they don't have their own in-house legal departments.
As a part of that review, the business owner can also think about what other IP assets the company has that need to be protected. For instance, a company might start using a trademark for goods that were not listed in its original registration. A new registration should be filed to list those goods.
A well-managed IP portfolio can be invaluable to a business. It increases the value of a company and prevents the loss of important IP.
Based in Carlsbad, California. We serve clients throughout San Diego County, California and the United States.