When a company in Florida creates a solution to a technical problem, the idea itself is considered industrial property and is owned by the company when it is patented. If another company uses patented information without authorization, it is grounds for an intellectual property dispute. Patentable industrial property may take a number of forms, and federal and international laws define what a company or individual may patent.
According to the World Industrial Property Organization, a patentable invention must have a practicable industrial application in its field. It must also have a new characteristic that does not exist in the field already, including a non-obvious step that the average person in the field would not be able to deduce. The existing body of knowledge in a given field is known as prior art.
To determine whether the invention is obvious, the United States Patent and Trademark Office states that the following three inquiries about the new invention must be satisfied:
Assess the scope and content of prior art
Determine differences between the new invention and the prior art
Resolve what constitutes average knowledge in the field
Laws protect companies against unfair competition in several ways. For example, the name of a unique, patented product is also protected by federal and international trade laws. The name or designation used by one company must not be replicated closely enough that it is likely to mislead the public. A company is also protected against false allegations regarding its credibility or the characteristics of its goods and services.