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Intellectual Property Use in a Service Center
Service centers do not have automatic rights to practice Intellectual Property (IP) owned by a third party. Intellectual Property includes a patentable invention, proprietary material, copyrightable subject matter, trademarks, or trade secret. It also includes works of art and inventions or creations that might normally be developed on a proprietary basis. Please contact Libby Hart-Wells, intellectual property officer, at 410-706-2378 for additional information.
Copyright: Copyright protection is afforded to art, music, plays, movies, literature, and scholarly works. Copyright is automatic and requires no registration or other formality. Copyrights prevent others from copying the work. Copyright protection extends for the artist's or author's life plus 70 years.
Patents: Patents give an inventor(s) the exclusive right to practice their invention. Others cannot freely practice a patented invention without permission from the patentee. Patents cover devices, formulas, tools, methods, and compounds, all of which must have a defined utility. A patent term extends for 20 years.
Trademark: A trademark is a word, phrase, or logo that identifies a product, a service, or the person or company that offers a product or service to the public. To prevent others from using a trademark, registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office must be made. Trademark protection can be extended indefinitely provided that the trademark is used and the registration is renewed every five years.
Infringement: Infringement means the encroachment, breach, or violation of a right, law, regulation, or contract. The term is most frequently used in reference to the invasion of rights secured by copyright, patent, or trademark. The unauthorized manufacture, sale, or distribution of an item protected by a copyright, patent, or trademark constitutes an infringement.
Use of Patents, Copyrights or Trademarks in a Service Center
If a service center uses intellectual property owned by a third party, the Service Center Director should contact the Office of Research and Development, Division of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP). The CVIP will evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, and work in collaboration with the director to determine the appropriate steps to ensure all IP protections are addressed.
Why is it Necessary to Obtain Legal Approval
Failure to legally obtain permission to use a patented or copyrighted property is an infringement of the federal and certain state rights of the owner. The owner may legally enforce its rights against any unauthorized user, including in certain cases members of academic institutions.