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Intellectual Property


actual damages

definite costs that result from infringement of intellectual property

civil litigation

process in court by an injured party to recover damages for harm or the violation of rights

common-law copyright

protection of an original work that arises as soon as the original work is published


exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something

Copyright Act of 1976

most recent law passed by Congress to protect a creator's right in original work from unauthorized use

fair use

legal concept that allows limited use of copyrighted material for specific purposes without the permission of the copyright owner


unauthorized use of copyrighted or patented intellectual property; can result in legal penalties


court order that compels a party to rectify a legal issue or refrain from a specific act that threatened or invaded the legal right of another

intellectual property (IP)

creations of the human mind; the expression of ideas, concepts, and inventions

Lanham Act

law passed by Congress that provides for the registration of trademarks and protects them from unauthorized use

license agreement

agreement between the owner of an intellectual property and another party that allows the other party to use the intellectual property


intellectual property that protects an invention, process, or machine

Patent Act of 1790

law passed by Congress to protect inventors from unauthorized use of their inventions

public goods

things that are not diminished in quality or quantity by use and are provided without profit to all members of society


judicial relief in civil litigation for unauthorized use of a copyrighted, trademarked, or patented piece of intellectual property


symbol, motto, device, or image used to distinguish similar products from one another; for example, the Nike "swoosh"

transformative use

use of copyrighted material that is different from the use that was originally intended for the material

U.S. Copyright Office

agency of the federal government that registers original material and issues copyrights for that material

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

agency of the federal government that registers inventions, issues patents, and registers trademarks