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How long do intellectual property rights remain in effect?

Some of the more common types of intellectual property are patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights. Many Californians invest a significant amount of time creating their artistic works, crafting a recognizable logo for their brand, designing a much-needed product or coming up with the right recipe for success. Savvy individuals protect the integrity of those items by filing for the appropriate intellectual property rights to them. These protections remain in effect for varying lengths of time.

A U.S. utility patent remains in effect for 20 years from the time that you apply for it. Periodic fees have to be paid for the patent to remain enforceable. Design patents typically last for 14 years from the date you file your application for it.

Trademarks last indefinitely as long as you, as its owner, use the mark for commercial purposes and defend it against infringement.

Copyrights last for 70 years after the author has died. If your work is "made for hire" (for instance, owned by a small business), then the copyright is good for 95 years from when it was first published or 120 years from its initial creation, whichever expires first.

Like trademarks, trade secrets can last indefinitely, as long as the proprietary information remains commercially valuable. The owner of the trade secret must take reasonable precautions to maintain its secrecy. Its value may increase based on the fact that it's a secret over time.

Trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and patents last for various lengths of time, depending on how and when they get used. Applicants must be cautious to correctly fill out their applications in a timely fashion to ensure the protections will remain in effect.

An experienced intellectual property litigation attorney in Roseville can help prepare your application and also defend your rights to your work here in California if someone violates them.

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Costello Law Corporation
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