Sunday, January 30, 2011

Legal stuff ...Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks

There are three types of intellectual property: Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks.

Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, grounded in the U.S. Constitution which protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.  Registration is voluntary. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation.

The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other's citizens' copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country.

Do not confuse Copyright, with Trademark or Patent.

Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent is an intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. This right was established over 200 years ago. The patent process can be complex, and consulting with a qualified patent attorney could be your best investment,

A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others. 

Owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several advantages, including:
  • Public notice of your claim of ownership of the mark;
  • A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration;
  • The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
  • The ability to record the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.

If you claim rights to use a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim of ownership of the mark, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, you may only use the federal registration symbol "®" after the USPTO actually registers a mark, and not while an application is pending.

Helpful links for more details and assistance:

To register a Patent or Ttrademark, contact:
US Patent and Trademark Office

U.S. Copyright Office
(202) 707-5959 or 1-877-476-0778

No comments:

Post a Comment