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Force fields are no protection against copyright and trademark lawsuits. Many of our best-loved superheroes (and the millions of dollars they rake in) have been the subjects of intellectual property disputes. It takes authors, comic book publishers, and movie studios to build iconic superhero franchises, but who gets the credit—and the cash—for bringing our heroes to life?
From a vengeful chef who created a classic treat to a scientist whose moldy Petri dishes became a life-saving medication, some of today's best-known inventions were the result of accidental discoveries.
In the 1950's, Bette Nesmith Graham, mother of the Monkees' Michael Nesmith, came up with an ingenious new product that covered up mistakes she made on a typewriter. Her homegrown corrective fluid eventually became known as Liquid Paper, and was sold to Gillette for more than $45 million in 1979.
Not sure how to protect your work? Copyrights and trademarks are both important tools in protecting your intellectual property, but knowing what you need can be confusing. Check out our handy guide for help choosing the right type of protection.
Last year, Waits was approached by Adam Opel AG, a unit of General Motors Corp., about doing television ads. He declined, citing his policy of not doing commercials. Opel went ahead and hired someone who sounded enough like Tom Waits to fool his fans, and used music and instrumentation reminiscent of Tom Waits, and produced a TV commercial that was aired in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. Now, Waits is seeking damages of $280,000 and any profits derived from the ads, citing his "personality rights."
In the murky world of intellectual property, it is easy to confuse copyright, patent, and trademark law. But understanding these three very different legal areas is often the key to effectively protecting your intellectual property from would-be IP thieves. The three distinct categories of intellectual property protection are patent, copyright, and trademark. Once you define your property, you can identify which protection you should obtain and begin to understand just what that protection affords you.
Painter Darby Bannard once said that “Originality is way overrated. To make, you need to take. All great artists do.” Franklin P. Jones states that “Originality is the art of concealing your source.” And no less than Ernest Hemingway echoed this when he wrote that all modern literature comes from Huckleberry Finn. So how much new art is truly original, and when does it matter?