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What is the purpose of a trademark?

Product description

What is the difference between trade names and trademarks? How do I select the right trademark for my company? Should a company care about trademarks? Can two companies use the same trademark? How are trademark rights obtained? What is the difference between Federal, State and Common Law trademarks? Should I need to register my trademark?

Does a U. Trademarks are territorial and must be filed in each country where protection is sought. How can my company protect its trademark rights? Along with registering the trademark, a company should consider the following to protect its trademark rights: Use your trademark. Trademark rights can be lost when the owner stops using the mark.

It is important to continue using your mark and only for what it was originally trademarked for. Protect your trademark from use by others. This is where registering comes in handy. Never use your trademark as a noun standing alone. The generic term for your product or service should be used after your trademark; e.

Trademark, Copyright, or Business Name

Never use your trademark as a verb. Display your trademark in a stylized logo, capitalized or bolded format to further distinguish it. Be alert for improper use of your trademark and let your counsel know right away about any possible infringement—if you do not take prompt action, you may lose your rights. Email Address. When a consumer hears the word "mop," the consumer does not assume that the mop comes from a particular source or origin.

Therefore, "mop" cannot be protected under trademark law to describe the cleaning tool. This usage of the word "mop" is wholly generic. But, it is possible to trademark the word "mop" for use in describing a different product. For example, a technology company called "Mop Computer" could trademark "mop" for use in describing their electronics products, as this usage of the word "mop" is arbitrary.

If this company existed and offered its products for sale to the public, a consumer would have no reason to associate the word "mop" with an electronics device other than the marketing efforts of the Mop Computer company.


The same goes for fanciful word marks, where the word in question is made up e. In the middle of the spectrum would be descriptive and suggestive word marks, where the word mark gives some indication of what the product or service does. If you have not yet started using your mark in commerce but have a good faith intention to do so, you can file an intent-to-use trademark application.

This gives you priority if someone else like a competitor tries to use the mark. An applicant who files an intent-to-use application must make actual use of the mark before it can be registered. This application reserves the trademark for six months, but it can be extended. You can exclude others from using a similar mark if it would cause consumer confusion. You also may be able to prevent others from diluting or tarnishing your mark.

Mark's Trademark Article Published!

Trademark registrations can last indefinitely provided the owner files the required legal forms and maintains the mark. The owner must file a "Declaration of Use" between the fifth and sixth year following registration. After that, the owner must file a combined Declaration of Use or Excusable Nonuse and Application for Renewal between the ninth and tenth year after registration, and every 10 years thereafter. Countries that are part of the Madrid Protocol allow applicants to file trademark applications to multiple countries simultaneously. When you choose a name for your business, make sure the name does not infringe someone else's trademark.

This can be done through an online trademark search by you or a specialized search agent. Copyright law protects "creative expressions fixed in a tangible medium. Copyright law also may protect advertisements and marketing materials, design logos, catalogs, websites, blogposts, and the artwork and text on product packaging. While a creative expression can receive copyright protection, the underlying idea cannot.

For example, the idea of a brilliant consulting detective who assists British investigators in solving difficult mysteries cannot, itself, be protected. Creators are free to generate their own stories involving intelligent crime-solving sleuths. However, each Sherlock Holmes story can receive copyright protection because Sherlock Holmes is a creative expression of that underlying idea.

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A work is automatically copyrighted as soon as it is put into a tangible form. While copyright protection is automatic, in order to sue for infringement, the copyright must be registered in the federal registry. Additionally, the potential for statutory damages is only available for works that have been federally registered either within 3 months of the first publication of the work, or before the infringement occurred.

IP: Protecting Your Brand Through Trademarks

Copyrights are registered with the U. Copyright Office. This can be done online or with a paper registration. However, it is cheaper to do an online registration. The Copyright Office provides tutorials on how to register a copyright.

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  • You do not need an attorney to register a copyright. A copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce copies of the copyrighted work, develop derivative works based on the copyrighted work, and distribute and sell copies of the work. Depending on the nature of the work, the copyright owner also may have the exclusive right to perform or display the work publicly.

    Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement, and it permits certain limited uses without permission from the copyright owner. Depending on the circumstances, copying may be considered fair for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research. To determine whether a specific use is fair, courts must balance the following four factors:.

    Fair use cases are context-sensitive. As a result, it can be difficult to determine whether something will be considered fair use absent a court decision. In the case for a work made for hire i. Countries covered under the Berne Convention will respect US copyrighted works without any additional filings required. This means all of the text in your blogposts, background music in your podcast episodes, images on your social media page, source code in your app needs to be either:. Trade secrets cover any confidential information that provides a competitive advantage.

    Examples include:. As long as a trade secret owner takes reasonable efforts to guard the trade secret, it is protected. No special registration is necessary. Trade secret protection lasts as long as the information is kept secret. This means it could potentially last forever.