As companies in New Jersey and across the country struggle to protect their intellectual property rights in an era of easy digital information-sharing, many are turning to trade secrets litigation when confidential information is disclosed. After the passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, it became easier for wronged parties to bring a claim under federal law for disclosure of trade secrets. At a time when intellectual property is key to the success of technology and other businesses, these claims are a powerful tool.
According to a recent study funded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, trademark registrations could be tied to company growth and employment rates. With new trademark laws on the way, unemployment rates in New Jersey and other parts of the country might begin to drop even further. The evidence suggests that companies are willing to spend more on research and development when they know that their intellectual property is protected from trademark infringement and theft.
New Jersey consumers may be wondering about the ongoing legal dispute between the tech companies IBM and Groupon over the latter's alleged use of four protected e-commerce patents. IBM claims that Groupon illegally used several of its proprietary technologies without permission. Other tech companies pay millions of dollars in licensing fees for the rights to use the same patents.
Business owners in New Jersey can use trademarks to protect aspects of their company, such as a logo or brand. However, some illustrated intellectual property can present some complications when it comes to trademarking if the illustrations are not representative of the business brand or do not have sufficient uniqueness.
Not all enterprising New Jersey inventors are ready to jump right into the process of seeking a long-term patent. Instead, patent-seekers may wish to consider a provisional patent application, or PPA. It's essentially a short-term way of protecting an invention in a way that does not require the same effort or expense typically associated with a standard patent. Having a PPA on file can also allow an applicant to use the filing date of the PPA if a non-provisional application is filed within a year.