Chapter 18

Patents and Trade Secrets: Powerful Partners


For some, the words copyrights, patents, and trademarks are loosely interchangeable. To them, every creation, be it a word, a book, or an invention is a “copyright.” Others speak about “patenting” a movie, or “trademarking” a new clothespin. For us, the distinguishing features of copyrights and trademarks are now better understood. With certain exceptions, the focus of content rights is not the patent law; nevertheless, patent law cannot be ignored by creative professionals who want to identify and protect their interests.

For example, take the first 15 years of Microsoft's existence. Bill Gates and his colleagues focused on copyright and trademark laws as the basis for legal protections. ...

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