The ability to express oneself is an attribute to every human being. When this capacity materializes in an original shape, regardless of what language is used, this gives rise to works that can be literary, musical, photographic, pictorial, computing, audio-visual… Whoever created it is the author, and the law acknowledges his or her right to a particular form of ownership that is limited in time and which features a number of economic and moral considerations.
Have I created a work? Do I have to register it? Do I have any rights?… These questions are common among authors. Also, people who interact with them have similar doubts: Do I have to make my employees sign copyright transfer agreements? If I commission a work, can I use it freely? What are management companies and how do they work?…
The answers lie in a national and international regulatory framework, to which we must add an increasingly large body of jurisprudence. The risks, as usual, are inversely proportional to the level of familiarity with this material.
To identify and distinguish oneself is an old aspiration. Distinguishing signs fulfil this purpose and many others, as not only do they identify the corporate origin of our goods or services and set them apart from similar or identical goods and services from other providers, they also bring together all the values that a given good or service has to offer. However, this does not only concern trademarks. Brand names, the artistic names, designations of origin, domain names, etc. are signs through which people and objects are made public.
Our law firm provides legal advice for the configuration that any given denomination should adopt, we provide them with the best possible protection by suiting their use to the most appropriate type of sign, we can register them in any country the world over, and we provide counsel on how to use such valuable business assets. Of course, we also provide protection against unwanted attacks.
Patents and utility models constitute legal monopolies granted by States to individuals or companies in return for the disclosure of patented inventions in order to promote technological development in society. They have become an essential strategic tool in developed countries.
Plant or animal varieties are nothing new. Ever since humans started to roam this earth and became interested in agriculture and cattle raising they have strived to improve and optimize vegetable and animal varieties through biological processes of crossing and selection of species. Nowadays, with the advent of biotechnology, genetic modification allows us to obtain new species through artificial cloning and genetic modification.
Putting aside the huge ethical and environmental implications that these techniques involve, there is a property regime that benefit those who obtain such varieties and which takes the shape of special legislation, or, simply, patent awards. In any case, this is a complex regulatory framework that involves the European Union, not to mention a wealth of international treaties.
Secret information that has a financial value and which provides a competitive advantage as regards other competitors may constitute a valuable asset that can be protected as a Trade Secret. To this end, it is a good idea to bind all possible agents (employees, collaborators, suppliers, strategic partners) through non-disclosure agreements and other formulas in order to prevent said secret information from being disclosed.
This right was born as an eminently personal right, bound to the most essential part of the human being, but it has become overwhelmed by its financial potential, becoming an eminently marketable “thing”. Image rights have an undeniable financial dimension that proprietors can transfer and sell as they wish. That is why, from the point of view of intellectual property, it is possible to consider the protection of this right as an artistic expression or an apprehensible projection, without denying that it is still very closely related to the personal sphere.
It is essential to separate the fundamental right from the financial right in order for the legal system to function correctly. Its protection, contracting and defence should be carried out keeping in mind the purpose for which it was exploited in order to ensure a consistent result.
When we speak about information technology rights, we refer to a multidisciplinary matter that has repercussions in many different areas. Of course, it has repercussions in what concerns intellectual property, giving rise to specific situations and problems, but also in what concerns new approaches to old problems that must be handled with a high degree of specialisation. We can help you face all such challenges: the peculiarities of the legal system in what concerns specific creations, such as computer programs or databases, the special difficulties involved by the exploitation of copyright on the internet or the use of domain names as distinctive signs and the conflict with trademarks. These are just a few examples of the many situations in which our firm can provide you with legal advice in order to develop in a new, virtual world that is nevertheless plagued by problems that are no less real.
And all of this without forgetting about some no-less important aspects that emerge from the so-called information society. Such is the case of the uniqueness of e-commerce regulations and online hiring, with the introduction of such new elements as digital signatures. Other noteworthy matters include digital publicity and the protection of information of a personal nature, whose rules and obligations are binding on almost all of us.
Competition between companies benefits consumers as it stimulates companies to improve the quality of their products, improve their services or lower prices. The purpose of competition law is to control practices that restrict competition (agreements between companies that can distort competition, abusive behaviour or concentration of companies).
But even though competition among companies is beneficial, this does not mean that all is fair when it comes to gaining a competitive advantage. The Unfair Competition Law bans those acts that display behaviours that are contrary to the rules of good faith. Imitating services provided by other individuals or corporations, breaching trade secrets or inducing others to breach contracts, among others, are practices that should be repressed.
Over the past few years, the so-called leisure culture has contributed to the growth of industries dedicated to providing cultural products to the public. Throughout this process, from their production to when they are delivered to the public, creations are affected by a number of factors, not all of which are related to copyright law.
The need to publicise and promote whatever you would like to sell is nothing new, but the dynamism of the advertisement sector and the new techniques and media used to make adverts reach consumers have given rise to legal regulations and to the coordination of all related aspects. Related fields range from the right to information to competition rights, not to mention copyright and consumer protection laws.
Over the course of millions of years there have been manifestations of knowledge that were transferred without the need for property law, or at least for “our” property law.
For those people their creations, their cultural expressions, have a more personal meaning than a commercial one, being expressions that define a community, its social identity, its culture and its values. These people have never financially exploited their creations and, according to their rules, these are not things that should be commercialised, nor have they even considered the possibility of using them so. However, in our Intellectual Property culture, not only are these things eligible to be commercialised, they are also in the public domain due to the fact that they were created in the remote past and are therefore in the public domain and, therefore, within everyone’s grasp.
How should we handle the clash between different cultures? Or rather, how should we handle intrusions by our culture in those more fragile cultures? These are the questions brought up by this way of seeing intellectual property.