Legal Terms – A Quick Guide

by Richard Chapo

Legal issues and problems are stressful, complex and inevitable. If you get wrapped up in legal issues, it sometimes helps to understand the lingo being bandied about.

Legal Terms

Contract: An agreement between two or more parties in which each party agrees to provide something in exchange for the other party doing the same. Typically, one party provides money while the other provides a service or product. Contracts can be oral or written, but oral contracts are difficult to enforce.

Copyright: The legal right attached to literary, musical, dramatic or artistic works. Copyright automatically attaches to the piece in favor of the creator of it. To sue for copyright infringement, the creator must file for an official copyright from the Library of Congress.

Intellectual Property: A product or idea that has tangible commercial value. Examples of intellectual property include copyrighted works such as books, patented items such as a product design and a trademarked item for a brand. The word “Amazon” is not considered intellectual property. When applied to the Internet, however, the word is intellectual property as it refers to a brand for an online bookstore.

Non-Compete Agreement: An agreement whereby one party, typically an employee, agrees not to use information learned during employment in subsequent business efforts for a set period of time. In some states, non-compete agreements are extremely difficult to enforce. An example of a non-compete agreement dispute is the current litigation between Microsoft and Google over Kai-Fu Lee.

Non-Disclosure Agreement: A contract binding one party to a duty of confidentiality in regard to certain information provided by another. An NDA typically is executed where one party wished to discuss a business venture with another and the discussion necessarily requires the disclosure of sensitive information.

Trademark: A name, label or symbol identifying a product or web site. Trademarks are filed with the Patent and Trademark Office and restricted to a class of products or services. “Amazon” is a trademarked term for Internet services, but not for general references such as ecological discussions.

Obviously, this is a relatively short list of legal terms. If your issue is not mentioned, you can search on the net to find an answer.

Richard A. Chapo is a San Diego business lawyer with http://www.sandiegobusinesslawfirm.com – providing legal services and legal advice to businesses in San Diego, California.

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