It is not uncommon for a successful business to be copied in many ways. Protecting intellectual property can help a business prevent unauthorized use or others from imitating through similar names, logos, and slogans. Trademark and copyright protections can be beneficial for any business. While commonly confused with each other, trademarks and copyright protect different things and protection is obtained in different ways. Trademarks protect brands, including names, symbol, designs, slogans, and more, while copyright protects works of art.
Things to Consider When Opting for a Trademark
If you have come up with a logo or a tagline that defines your brand, you may want to trademark them. This will help to prevent others from using it or other similar marks. Here are a few things to consider:
1) A Search Can Provide Insight into the Industry
Trademark searches can provide insight into what competitors use as trademarks and also provide information about common industry terms. A search can help you choose a name that is unique so that your chances of successfully obtaining a registration is higher. A search can also help identify potential issues and limit the chances of you accidently infringing someone else's trademark.
2) Keep It Unique Yet Simple
A trademark should be memorable and clearly identify you and your brand. Simple is often beneficial and unique is a necessity. You want your target audience to connect with your brand and easily remember you. They should be able to pronounce/spell your tagline and remember your logo.
3) Understand Who Is Entitled to a Trademark
There are two ways to become entitled to a trademark. The first is to begin using a trademark and the second is to file an application for a trademark. When there is a question over who is entitled to own and use a trademark, it often comes down to whomever has the earliest entitlement date. There are ways to prevent registration of a trademark in the event that a third party files an application for a trademark that you believe you are entitled to. However, it is much simpler and significantly less expensive to file your application first.
Things to Consider When Opting for Copyright
Copyright protect exists from the moment that you create something and put it in a tangible form. While not required, you can obtain a Copyright Registration Certificate that can be used as rebuttable evidence of ownership in the event of a dispute. Consider a few things about copyrighting:
1) Protect Only Tangible Assets
Copyright protection only exists for tangible creations, i.e., images, paintings, emails, computer programs, lyrics books, dramatic works, etc. Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, facts, techniques or methods. Other forms of intellectual property protection may be available for things that are not protectable by copyright.
2) Understand What Is Protected
Copyright protection provides you with the sole right to produce and reproduce your work of art in any form. This means that third parties require your permission to paint a copy of your photograph or create a three dimension rendering of your painting. Understanding third party rights can help prevent you from accidentally infringing on another person's copyright.
3) Learn About Fair Use Feature
Copyright has an exception rule of fair use where you can’t take legal action against a user if they use your art without obtaining your permission. Fair use can be a complex issue and different activities may be considered fair use depending on their commercial nature, the amount of copying that was done, and more.
Reach Out Now
Connect with us to learn more about protecting your intellectual property.