Put a © on it! 20 Minutes with Attorney Lawrence Zale
Mr. Zale received his Physics degree from Wilkes University and his Biomedical Engineering Degree from Drexel University. He further studied at Franklin Pierce Law Center (now UNH Law School) in Concord, NH with an emphasis in Intellectual Property Law. After passing the PA and NJ Bars, and the US Patent and Trademark Office bar exam, he was admitted to practice IP Law before the USPTO Nationally, and other law through the PA and NJ Courts. After working for several premier IP law firms over the years, he opened Zale Patent Law located in downtown Scranton, PA and handles Intellectual Property law and related matters. The firm provides IP support for small to mid-sized businesses.
Numerous patents and trademarks have been issued through Attorney Zale’s firm and we had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with him about some of the experience he’s had with start-up companies to venture capital firms. He expressed the importance of always protecting you work. Whether it be the budding of an idea jotted down in a personal notebook or a large company trade secret, it only belongs to you if you protect it. If you were to lose that notebook someone may have the opportunity to steal those ideas. If you have unprotected trade secrets or digital assets on public company computers you are leaving yourself open for an internal or external attack.
In either case, your options for legal action would be very limited because you failed to claim and protect your work. An easy way to protect yourself in the case of the notebook or a written work would be to put a © on it. You can physically mark a copyright symbol on your document along with your name and the year to claim your work. Although, this method should be used more as an interim plan and completing a simple application for $35 with the United States Copyright Office would be the real first real step in protection. Aside from legally registering your intellectual property, any type of digital assets like source code or trade-secrets should always be secured with strong passwords for further complete protection. It is important to take the initial steps to register and and also to protect your work if it is valuable to you. Failure to take the initial steps of registering your intellectually protection can lead to costly legal litigation.
Mr. Zale also provided the creative group a tip for getting a trademark approved: Be selective and creative when picking a name you want to trademark. The more unique the more likely you can claim the trademark. Think of pharmaceutical companies launching products named NEXIUM® and Prilosec®. They are often made-up words or cleverly crafted spellings of words, making them unique to the market and easy to claim.
To contact Attorney Lawrence Zale for assistance please visit zalelaw.com.