Trademarks, Patents & Copyrights
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Sometimes in business dealings that you have with another party it is necessary to share confidential information and materials. By signing a reciprocal confidentiality and nondisclosure agreement, both parties agree to share information and materials with each other but not with any third parties. This document is helpful in protecting trade secrets and other proprietary information.
A software license agreement, also called an end-user license agreement, is a contract you sign after purchasing new software for your computer in which the licensor grants you permission to use the software. This contract is usually presented to you to read and digitally accept during the software installation process.
If you discover that another person or business entity has taken a trademark that you own and is using it as their own, you can send them a Trademark Cease and Desist Letter. This written communication protects your rights to the trademark and clearly informs the offending party to immediately stop infringing on your trademark rights.
When you buy a video game and unwrap it for use, you are included in a shrinkwrap license. This is an agreement attached to software and similarly shrinkwrapped items, which prohibits users from copying the software or modifying it. Some products, such as business-edition software, can be used on many machines whereas others can only be used on one.
A beta product is one that is still in development. If you have been asked to test or use this new item, you may be asked to sign a beta test agreement. This legal document explains that you understand that the software or product may not be fully functioning or may have some minor defects.
An exclusive patent license agreement provides you with the exclusive legal right to use a product owned and patented by another party. The document typically outlines important terms such as how you are permitted to use the product, your payment terms and the duration of your permission. This agreement is meant to protect the product from unlicensed distribution.
A copyright is the formal legal protection granted by the government for certain items of creative work. A release agreement formally provides permission by the owner of the copyrighted item, whether it's a publisher or author, for you to reprint, quote, distribute or otherwise publish the material. Without a release form, only the copyright owner has legal control.
If you are purchasing or selling a trademark, you will need to submit a trademark assignment agreement. This legal contract transfers the title, rights and interest in the trademark, which is federally registered. The agreement is between you and the trademark holder or purchaser and is submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.