Supreme Law Document of the United States

United States Constitution

The United States Constitution is the primary or supreme law document of the United States; it was drafted in the summer of 1787. The country's first lawmakers agreed that a stable economy with strong growth will require specific support from the government. One of the key considerations laid out in the First Article of the Constitution relates to intellectual property. Article 1 section 8 gives the US Legislature the power to establish a framework for patents, copyrights, trademarks; and other

protections for investment and innovation. Today, the United States Department of Commerce (USDOC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are established through laws passed with this authority. These agencies govern intellectual property and trade in the United States, with the USPTO being the organization directly dealing with intellectual properties.


Background

The United States Constitution is the most fundamental intellectual property law in the land. The framers of the Constitution gave Congress and the Senate the power to levy and collect taxes, coin money and other major underpinnings of US government. They also gave Congress the power "to Promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". Under Article 1, Section 8, the Constitution states "by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." This simple clause is one of the cornerstones of intellectual property law in the United States. Laws related to patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets are respectively cataloged in United States Code titles 35, 17, 15 and 18. The complication of intellectual property laws and the high commercial value of patents gave rise to specialized patent attorneys and a national application process through the USPTO. The most recent addition to patent legislation is the America Invents Act (AIA), which was passed into law in 2011. Many of the principles behind the law reflect the Constitution's calling to make sure that inventors get due credit for their filings.


For Independent Inventors

The Constitution lays out key rights and powers related to how ideas are handled, legally. For many people who have a creative or clever eye, the right to receive credit and royalty for an idea can become an important part of the all-American pursuit of happiness. Inventors don't need to be legal experts, but every inventor should be familiar with their basic rights. Often times, being aware of your basic rights and limitations as a trade secret holder can make all the difference in the early stages of intellectual property development. A long tradition of amateur inventors would typically shy away from the big business of patents and constitutional protection. Using the powers listed in the US Constitution, patent laws have changed to give independents some key advantages in the industry. Recent technology advancements make it possible for inventors to share their buying strength in total confidentiality. Even with more than 220 years since the constitution was drafted, this is an exciting time for independents breaking into the IP field. Because patent laws are rooted in the primary legal document in the US, inventors could rely on support and protection from trade policing and intellectual law systems established on the federal or nation-wide level.


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