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USA Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property law or IP law as it is more often referred to is the legal entitlement in connection with creative ideas and works such as literary works, artistic works, designs and inventions. The purpose of USA Intellectual Property law is ultimately to encourage innovation and creativity by protecting the works of the individual and giving commercial value and to protect jobs. It is estimated that billions of dollars are lost from the US economy every year through China copying US property alone. Theft of a person’s idea or copying of a person’s work is not generally taken as seriously as theft of a person’s TV or phone, hence the need for IP law to protect this.

The World Intellectual Property Convention of 1968 defines IP as including;

- Literary, artistic and scientific works
- Performances of performing artists, phonograms and broadcasts
- Inventions in all fields of human endeavour
- Scientific discoveries
- Industrial designs
- Trademarks, service marks and commercial names and designations
- Protection against unfair competition, and
- All other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields

The United States is very serious about its IP laws seeing other countries copying US inventions such as software as a threat to US jobs and a serious leak in the US economy. The United States Patent and Trademark Office which is an agency of the department of Commerce are responsible for overseeing all matters relating to Intellectual Property. It has various offices with specific functions, some for the public’s benefit and some to benefit the organisation itself.

- The Office of the Under Secretary and Director – this is the principal advisor to the President and the Administration on all Intellectual Property matters. It is there to ensure that strategic and management goals are met.
- The Patent Office – this examines applications and grants patents. It also keeps the records on this and arranges publications and allows public searches of this.
- The Trademark Office – this examines applications for federal registration.
- The Office of Policy and External Affairs – this conducts studies and interacts with international IP offices and international government organisations. This includes international treaty development and support of trade agreements.
- The Office of the General Counsel – this defends agency decisions and deals with tribunals.
- The Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity – provides leadership and direction. It promotes equally opportunities and also identifies discriminatory practices and policies.
- The Office of Chief Communications Officer – manages the public affairs and internal and external communications.
- The Office of the Chief Information Officer – the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce and the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark office.
- The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer – this is administration services and human resources

It should be noted that the rights granted by the US in relation to patents and trademarks only extend throughout the territory of the United States, if you also want this to extend to other countries you must also register with that countries patent/trademark office. 
Intellectual Property is an evolving field whose influence on technology, social development and Economic growth is immense. Certain legal entities that are active internationally will not allow Intellectual Property to be sold in countries that do not have adequate IP laws to protect the owner’s right. 

The US views Intellectual Property as an important international competitive advantage and therefore is constantly negotiating, implementing and monitoring to improve this. This commitment to Intellectual Property makes the US a serious contender when considering incorporating an offshore company where intellectual property is a factor.

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