Staking Your Claim

by James L. Lester, (M.ASCE), Patent Attorney; Rhodes, Coats and Bennett, Llp., Greensboro, N.C.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1998, Vol. 68, Issue 7, Pg. 65-67

Document Type: Feature article


If you buy land, you have certain legal protections ensuring that no one can take it away from you without your consent. You can put a fence around it, you can prohibit trespassers and you can bring suit against anyone who tries to steal from it or build on it without your permission. Intellectual property (IP)—including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets—enjoys many of the same legal protections as real estate. Civil engineers, architects and other professionals who create new products or processes are entitled to mark their property. Each form of protection carries specific privileges and penalties for violations. IP disputes can be extremely expensive and complex, and early advice from an experienced IP attorney is strongly recommended to avoid problems.

Subject Headings: Claims

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