This is “Summary and Exercises”, section 13.6 from the book The Legal Environment and Government Regulation of Business (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here.
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The products of the human mind are at the root of all business, but they are legally protectable only to a certain degree. Inventions that are truly novel may qualify for a twenty-year patent; the inventor may then prohibit anyone from using the art (machine, process, manufacture, and the like) or license it on his own terms. A business may sue a person who improperly gives away its legitimate trade secrets, but it may not prevent others from using the unpatented trade secret once publicly disclosed. Writers or painters, sculptors, composers, and other creative artists may generally protect the expression of their ideas for the duration of their lives plus seventy years, as long as the ideas are fixed in some tangible medium. That means that they may prevent others from copying their words (or painting, etc.), but they may not prevent anyone from talking about or using their ideas. Finally, one who markets a product or service may protect its trademark or service or other mark that is distinctive or has taken on a secondary meaning, but may lose it if the mark becomes the generic term for the goods or services.
Which of the following cannot be protected under patent, copyright, or trademark law?
Which of the following does not expire by law?
A sculptor casts a marble statue of a three-winged bird. To protect against copying, the sculptor can obtain which of the following?
A stock analyst discovers a new system for increasing the value of a stock portfolio. He may protect against use of his system by other people by securing
A company prints up its customer list for use by its sales staff. The cover page carries a notice that says “confidential.” A rival salesman gets a copy of the list. The company can sue to recover the list because the list is