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Chapter 16: Cyberlaw and intellectual property

intellectual property

The legal rights covering such topics as patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets


A legal right of the creator or inventor of a product, process, or invention. The patent holder has the exclusive right to use, develop, and license the subject of the patent for 20 years.

prior art

earlier invention or processes which already have patents


an important part of a patent application which specifies what elements of this invention are new and should be protected.


Unarthorized use of copyrighted or patented material


The legal right of author, composer, or artist to prevent others from copying or reproducing his or her work.

"Fair use" Doctrine

A legal principle, an exemption to a copyright owner's exclusive rights, that allows another to make some limited ("Fair") use of the copyrighted work without permission

Key factors of fair use

1. The purpose and character of the use.
2. The nature of the copyrighted work.
3. the amount and substantiality of the amount taken.
4. The economic effect of the second use on the copyright owner.

look and feel cases

Where someone has created a computer program or user interface that "looks" and acts ("feels") like another copyrighted program, but the second author did not copy the actual code of the first program.


A word, phrase, or symbol that identifies and distringuishes a product.

generic term

A word or phrase that is synonymous with a whole class of procuts and cannot receive trademark protection.

trade secrests

Intellectual property assets of a business, such as a formula, or a customer list, wich are kept secret.

non-compete agreement

An agreement between a firm and an employee, by which the employee promises not to open a competing business whitin a certain area, after leaving the firm.

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA)

A model law defining and protecting trade secrets which has been enacted in 44 states.

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