Friday, January 13, 2017

Defining Intellectual Property

As a graduate of the Ave Maria School of Law, Angel Leiva served as a legal extern for the firm of Golab Intellectual Property. In this capacity, Angel Leiva developed his skills in intellectual property law

Intellectual property rights apply to unique works produced by the human mind. The laws consist of three main parts: trademark, patent, and copyright.

Trademarks are words, symbols, or phrases that identify products. In the United States, trademarks must be registered with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office, which requires that a trademark distinguish its product from others. 

A trademark can be descriptive, generic, suggestive, or arbitrary or fanciful. These categories determine which aspects of trademark law apply. Being the first to use the trademark or register it with the patent office gives one the rights to it. 

Patents grant the inventor the right to manufacture and market a new product. A patent is valid for a limited time, and when it expires, the product enters the public domain. Patents must be useful, novel, and not obvious. They must deal with an actual subject matter and disclose how one may operate the invention.

Copyright law applies to original content that exists in a tangible fashion. Some examples of copyrightable material include films, books, plays, and software. Copyright does not protect intangibles, such ideas and facts, though it may protect the means by which they are expressed. Protections of copyright generally are in effect for 70 years after the creator’s death.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

An Introduction to Constitutional Originalism

Angel Leiva recently earned a law degree from Ave Maria School of Law. As part of his legal studies, Angel Leiva participated in classes at Georgetown University where he learned about constitutional originalism and the Federalist Papers. 

Constitutional originalism refers to a principle of interpreting the United States Constitution. Originalism teaches that rather than being a “living” document without a fixed meaning, the Constitution is an “enduring” work with a meaning set forth by the nation’s founding fathers. 

Determining the original intent of the writers of the Constitution can be difficult and sometimes requires a great deal of research into historical context, language, and meaning. In order to investigate these things thoroughly, additional historical documents often need to be consulted. Occasionally, after research is completed, a judge who adheres to originalism may find that he is forced to rule in a way that he does not favor in order to honor the original intent of the Constitution.

The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a major proponent of originalism. He acknowledged that though the philosophy is not perfect, it supports a government that is accountable to the people and limits the power of the government and judiciary.