I need a patent; maybe a copyright? No, a trademark?

What type of intellectual property protection an individual or company needs is often confusing.  I have been asked to patent slogans and manuscripts, to copyright or trademark inventions and everything and anything in between. What is a Copyright, Trademark and Patent? A copyright protects works of authorship that has been expressed in a physical form.  In other words, it protections an express of an idea.  Examples include literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, including novels, movies, songs, and architecture. Except … Continued

When Your Trademark Becomes Generic

I encourage clients all of the time to trademark their business name, slogan or logo.  Last week, I came across a story that made think about my clients and their marks.  Besides the examples included in the story, I am sure that we can all think of other (Think Aspirin.  Kleenex.  Thermos.)  These company or product names either at one time were or are trademarked.  The names all have one thing in common; they have become “generic.”  In order words, … Continued

State vs. Federal Trademark Registrations

Should I register my trademark at the state or federal level?   Businesses often ask the above questions when they are concerned with trademark protection for their name, logo, or brand.  The answer depends on a variety of factors. In the United States, trademark rights are conferred by use of the mark.  Registration is a formal acknowledgement of pre-existing rights.  Registration at both the state and federal levels provides public notice of the businesses claim of ownership of the mark. … Continued

The Poor Man’s Copyright: Fact or Fiction

I often have authors tell me that they do not need to register their work and obtain a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.  The authors rely on what is often referred to as a “poor man’s copyright.” This is a method of using a registered date by the post office, a notary public, or another highly trusted source to establish a particular date that the work existed on.  The “poor man’s copyright” is, however, a work of fiction. There is … Continued

Trademark Protection: What they call you?

W.C. Fields’ famously said “[i]t ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”  To a business, what customers and consumers call you is important as a business’ name or trademark  are one of its most important assets. Trademarks allow businesses to protect their name.  A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company.  It is a symbol of quality and a certain standard the company has established … Continued