Counseling Business Clients on various aspects of Patents and other forms of Intellectual Property

(847) 809-4285    (847) 607-0580 fax

North Suburban Location/ Greater Metropolitan Chicago


Practice Areas

Phone (847) 809-4285
Fax (847) 607-0580

North Surburban location:

(Cook, Lake Cos., Illinois)

15 minutes from O'Hare International Airport


Practice Areas provides all services necessary for obtaining, maintaining, and enforcing the intellectual property rights of our clients. Traditionally, intellectual property rights fall under four categories: patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret. Below is general overview of the intellectual property field, please see our Patents and Services pages to learn more about the steps to obtaining intellectual property rights.


Patent law protects the embodiment of an invention. Outside of the laws of nature, most "anything under the sun made by man" can be patented. To obtain a patent, the invention must be useful, novel, and non-obvious in light of previously known technologies. Unlike other areas of intellectual property in which rights may be conferred merely by use or creation, patents can only be obtained through formal application in the government's
Patent Office. Non-confidential disclosure to others however can lead to loss of the ability to obtain a legal patent monopoly. Such public disclosures or sales of products often result in an immediate loss of foreign rights; in the United States the law provides a one-year grace period after which patent filing is barred. The issue being that once something is placed into the public domain it (the technology) should remain in the public domain for free use by anyone (i.e., Nature abhors monopoly). Moreover, if one merely sits on their rights they may lose them. Failure to seek patent protection in a timely fashion will often lead to a loss of such rights.

Trademarks and Trade Dress

Simply put, a trademark is any characteristic, whether it is word, phrase, color, logo or symbol, that identifies the source or service provided. Trademarks and Trade Dress can be extremely valuable for business entities to associate secondary meaning to their products or packaging. They serve to immediately identify the consumer of the brand and draw the consumer to the product or service based on the mark. Two famous examples are the CokeŽ symbol and Mickey Mouse ears, which are possibly the two most recognizable marks in the world. These symbols are so engrained in the populace that anyone upon seeing them knows the source of whatever product the symbol is on. This is the strength and potential of a trademark; to have instant consumer recognition and attraction to a brand. A trademark is generally established by being the first to use the mark in a certain class of goods or services in a geographical location. However, it is advisable to register a trademark with the federal government. A trademark can be obtained by filing with the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO accepts applications for both marks already in use and Intent-to-Use marks.

Trade Secret

Trade secret law differs from the other three areas of intellectual property in that it is only governed by state law rather than federal law. Each state has their own statute and law regarding trade secrets. However, most states have adopted some form of the Uniform Trade Secret Act. Generally, a trade secret is anything that gives the holder a benefit over competition and the holder has taken steps to keep it confidential. Trade secrets can range from secret formulas to supplier and customer lists. In a sense Trade Secrets are the antithesis of patents in that patents facilitate competitive advantage through disclosure (the patent monopoly legal Quid Pro Quo) while Trade Secrets relate to competitive advantages through Non-disclosure.


Copyright law protects the expression of a particular idea and, as such, can cover a wide range of different works. One may obtain a copyright in everything from traditional works, such as music and literature, to modern technology, such as computer software. While registration of work is not necessary to obtain a copyright, it is advisable to register all works with the library of Congress.                                                                                                                                    

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Copyright © 2007 Perry Hoffman & Associates, P.C.,

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The material contained in the web site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained in the web site and receipt of such information are not intended to create a lawyer-client relationship with any attorney. Readers of the web site should not act upon any of the information contained therein without seeking professional legal counsel. Although we strive to keep the web site current and accurate, the content on the web site may not reflect current legal developments. Perry Hoffman & Associates, P.C., and expressly disclaim all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the content of the web site.
Last modified: 07/07/15