Harness Dickey protects the important works of architects and architecture firms from the ground up.View All Attorneys
Harness Dickey has been in the business of patenting our clients’ important innovations since our firm first opened in 1921. Since then, we have obtained more than 65,000 issued U.S. patents. When it comes to designing and constructing new buildings, our clients appreciate that we know how to handle the full scope of architectural assets efficiently and with great attention to detail.
Our attorneys work with key stakeholders to identify the correct intellectual property strategies for each job. We advise clients on filing for utility patents to protecting the construction and layout of buildings, methods of construction, and various building components. For unique design elements that affect appearance — such as ornate spiral staircases, landscaping plans or a major structural concept that lends the appearance of a building in motion — we register design patents to protect bold, innovative ideas from unlicensed infringement.
Examples of patented innovations in architecture include:
- Buckminster Fuller’s patent protecting the geodesic dome
- Buffington’s patent, filed in 1888, protected one of the first sky scrapers
- Apple has a design patent for it’s Fifth Avenue Store
- Frank Lloyd Wright has a patent for prismatic glass tiles
- Apple has another design patent for a circular stairway
- Calatrava obtained a design patent for his Turning Torso building
With incredible advances in materials engineering and additive manufacturing, architecture is continually able reach new heights. Finding new ways to harness the potential of these new technologies in architectural works can unlock the door to exciting projects and lucrative ongoing contracts. Harness Dickey works closely with architects, engineers and designers to ensure that your innovative idea is safe from the prying eyes of competitors and remains lucrative for years to come.
Harness Dickey also counsels architects and architecture firms in the important area of copyright protection. Copyrights often protect an architect’s drawings and the architectural works themselves, but they also have potential for further protection. Our attorneys consider the “big picture” collateral, including advertising, promotional materials, websites and other crucial assets that make your work a success.
Importantly, our attorneys understand the Visual Artists Rights Act and how it applies to the architecture industry. Recent court cases have demonstrated that incorporating original artwork into an architectural work requires additional safeguards. We work closely with architects to ensure they take the rights of artists into account while maintaining their own rights to the larger project.
Trademarks and service marks provide another level of strategic legal protection for our clients in the architecture business. As a nationally ranked firm in trademark law by U.S. News & World Report, we are recognized experts at protecting our clients’ marks. Not only do we register trademarks and service marks for buildings, architects and architectural firms at home in the U.S., we regularly file for trademark protection in more than 100 counties to safeguard valuable branding opportunities on a global scale.
Examples of registered marks for architectural works include:
- Frank Lloyd Wright Architects’ firm name and logo
- Apple has a trademark protecting the appearance of one of its stores
- The Space Needle is protected by a trademark filed by the city of Seattle
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has a trademark on its building
- McDonald’s registered a trademark to protects its awnings
- Holiday Inn protects the lighting scheme of its hotels with a trademark
- The New York Stock Exchange has a trademark protecting its floor layout
Lastly, Harness Dickey’s team of attorneys includes recognized experts on trade secret law. Whether it’s a list of suppliers, potential building sites, construction techniques, or any other information that gives our clients a competitive advantage and needs to be kept secret, we assist architects in drafting confidentiality agreements for employees and contractors that help prevent misappropriation and, if needed, provide sound legal footing should action need to be taken.