Copyright law protects original creative “works” fixed in a tangible medium of expression. An original work is one that the author created through his or her own effort. An original work cannot be something that is copied or modified from an existing work.
The original work must contain at least a minimal amount of creativity. The creativity threshold to obtain copyright protection is not high and not difficult to meet.
Tangible medium is a very broad term. The term means that the “work” can be perceived, touched or copied. An idea is not protectable until some perceptible or tangible is created out of it.
When you are the owner of copyrighted material, you decide how that material is used. If someone else uses the material without your permission, you may be able to collect damages or obtain injunctive relief against the offender.
A copyright arises upon creation however a copyright can be registered with the United States Copyright Office. It is not always necessary to do so but it has tremendous advantages if you register it soon after its creation and sometimes it makes a difference whether you can effectively assert your rights against an infringer.
Copyright Infringement Actions
If you have timely registered your works, some attorneys will represent on a contingent fee basis in an infringement action. Your failure to timely register your works will probably require you to pay an attorney to pursue an infringer which is sometime impractical. Registration of your Works gives you a very powerful advantage over any infringers of your Works.
The ™ symbol indicates a trademark that has not been registered with the USPTO and may or may not be in the application process. Unregistered trademarks don't receive the same degree of protection as those that are registered.
Registered Trademark ®
The ® symbol denotes that a trademark is registered with the USPTO. It is illegal to use the ® symbol on an unregistered trademark. An ® symbol cannot legally be used on a trademark that is not yet approved by the USPTO. Registration also makes it easier to identify the earlier user of a trademark. First use is important when deciding infringement lawsuits.
A circle c symbol or © indicates protection under copyright law but provides no indication as to whether the work has been formally registered. A copyright doesn't have to be registered to legally use the © symbol. The © symbol doesn't have to be used for a work to be protected by a copyright. A creative work is automatically protected under copyright law.
Trademarks and Copyrights are different types of intellectual property protection that are available to protect your business assets. Obtained and monitored correctly they can create a great deal of value.
What is a Trademark and What is a Copyright?
Although both trademarks and copyrights provide intellectual property protection, each is obtained under its own rules and procedures and protects different material.
We help clients in new technology areas such as commercial drone operations, use and 3D printing, and other new technologies. We assist with the development of technology and service agreements, content licensing, copyright protection and enforcement, domain name disputes, terms of service agreements, and privacy policies to name a few.
Trademarks protect names, terms, and symbols that identify and differentiate a company and its goods. A trademark can include phrases, symbols, or designs, as well as images, colors, and even smells and sounds. The owner of a federally registered trademark can sue infringers for infringement. Trademarks can be protected under both state and federal law and these different protections make different remedies available to you.
Trademarks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office or USPTO. A registered trademark offers the owner more protection against improper use, but a trademark doesn't have to be registered to receive protection. However, enforcement is much easier when the trademark is registered.
A company name or product name can be trademarked. Monitoring the mark and use by others are important for a company's brand management. Registering a trademark (or receiving the related legal protections) general requires two elements, some degree of distinctiveness and use or in some cases an intent to use the mark.
Distinctiveness means that it is unique enough to be closely associated with a particular product or company. This is often dependent upon context.
Use simply means that to receive approval of a trademark application or win in an infringement case, you must prove that the trademark was in use or being used by you.
There are many reasons for denial of a trademark. For example, a trademark generally cannot include descriptive terms. A mark that is descriptive of a product or service is generally free for anyone to use.
Types of Trademark
There are several types of trademarks. For example:
• Arbitrary trademark:The trademark has no relation to the use or product.
• Fanciful trademark:The trademark has no meaning on its own, as is the case for Pepsi.
• Suggestive trademark:A trademarked word suggests but does not describe what the product is.
Each year, businesses sustain losses because they do not completely understand the contracts they entered into. Much of the language that is called boilerplate can be drafted to your advantage or an opposing contracting party’s disadvantage if you have a good understanding of both contract law and litigation of contract disputes. Don’t underestimate the value of a good contract. Before you enter an business agreement (or any agreement for that matter), it is a good idea to have a contract attorney review the agreement, and provide input on how you might be better protected. As a business grows, contracts should be reviewed, contract terms refined, and policies put in place to prevent unanticipated contract issues. We provide these services for a very reasonable cost.
We help clients in new technology areas such as commercial drone use and 3D printing. We assist with the development of technology and service agreements, content licensing, copyright protection and enforcement, domain name disputes, terms of service agreements, and privacy policies to name a few.
If you or your business gets a notice of a tax audit, we are there to help. Don’t give up your rights. We have the background in accounting and tax to provide you with solid representation for any such engagement while protecting you to the extent possible from direct interaction with government officials.
If you have a collection matter or a foreign judgment you would like to domesticate in Colorado, Missouri, Nevada or Tennessee, we can handle the collection for you and in some cases will represent you on a contingent basis. Further, if you have contracts, lease agreements, or other collection rights in any of these states, we can help you collect. Please contact us for more information.
We help you form an entity that is appropriate for your business in whatever state or other location that makes strategic sense. We help clients create and leverage their valuable soft IP assets. We help brand owners create, select, clear, acquire, register, maintain, protect and enforce their trademarks and copyrights. We also provide a range of services designed to support your business, including advice on corporate and llc matters, fiduciary duties, indemnification and advancement issues related to your officers and directors. We also represent clients in state and federal courts as well as arbitration and administrative proceedings to protect all of their business interests.
If you have a collection matter or a foreign judgment you would like to domesticate in Colorado, Missouri, Nevada or Texas, we can handle the collection for you and in some cases may represent you on a contingent basis. Further, if you have contracts, lease agreements, or other collection rights in any of these states, we can help you collect. Please contact us for further information.