We specialize in the areas of Intellectual Property Law (i.e., Patent, Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secret Law), Licensing, Business & Corporate Law , Contracts & Licensing, Tax Law , Non-Profit, and Trusts & Estates (Elder Law).
Patentable subject matter can include “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, . . .” that is novel, non obvious, and useful. See 35 U.S.C. § 101. These terms do not always mean what they seem to imply in the patent context as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Federal Courts add nuance to their meaning. Accordingly, an invention must meet this three-part test as interpreted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Courts.
Trade Secret Law
Trade secret protection is available under state law and federally under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. Under Maryland law, trade secrets are defined as information that (1) derives independent economic value from not being generally known to or readily ascertainably by proper means by other persons and (2) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy. Examples of “trade secrets” often subject to litigation include customer lists, marketing plans, and internal procedures. Disclosure of trade secrets to third parties should usually be predicated on entry of a confidentiality agreement, also known as a non-disclosure agreement or NDA.
A trademark is any word, name, symbol, sound, color, or device, or any combination thereof adopted and used by a person or organization to identify and distinguish goods, including a unique product, from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods. A service mark is similar to a trademark except that it applies to the supplier of a service. The distinction between trade and service is the only distinction between the classification of a mark as a trademark or service mark. Other types of marks such as certification marks and membership marks also exist.
Contract Law & Licensing
Contract law relates to making and enforcing agreements between two or more parties. A contract is an agreement between two or more parties which is often in writing, but can also be oral. Contract law is the area of law that governs the making of contracts, the parties’ performance of their obligations and exercise of their rights under the contract, and enforcement of contracts. Contracts are used when someone buys and sells goods or services, when they license any asset (i.e., patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets), and more. Contracts also can allow parties to conduct their affairs confidently and protect their proprietary information such as when a nondisclosure agreement is used.
A copyright is but one form of intellectual property protection available to the public. The United States Constitution provides for federal copyright protection under Article I, Section 8, Clause 8. Copyright registrations are filed with the U.S. Copyright Office which is a part of the Library of Congress. In the most basic terms, a copyright is established by the act of an author affixing his or her work in a tangible medium of expression. In general, this has been interpreted as reducing the work to a relatively stable form of expression and placing it in a relatively stable and permanent embodiment.
Business & Corporate Law
Business and corporate law encompasses the formation, maintenance and, when necessary, dissolution of business entities such as corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, and associations. In many instances, businesses must undertake regular filings with government departments in order to maintain their business in good standing. Our firm provides counseling and assistance with choice of business entities as well as general counsel on legal issues that a business entity may face in day to day operations.
Tax law issues can take many forms. Often, businesses, including non-profits, can run afoul of the ever expanding list of requirements to comply with the many Federal and State tax laws in order to maintain and preserve their legal structure, tax classification, or exemption. Our firm assists and manages an array of filings with the Internal Revenue Service and various state revenue offices. We also provide counseling with regard to tax exempt filings and maintenance of tax exempt status for various charitable, educational and scientific organizations that may qualify for tax exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.
Trusts & Estates and Elder Law
Individuals and families often require guidance on various issues relating to estate planning and elder law matters. We assists clients in preserving and directing the disposition of assets by preparing tax-sensitive, individually-tailored wills and trusts specific to the needs and wishes of our clients. We also prepare living wills, health care directives and durable powers of attorney to assist our clients during the later stages of life when such documents may be of great importance to an individual and their family.