Sunday, May 30, 2010

Card Making and Copyright Laws by Michelle Anne Leah Custodio

Everyone does not want anything stolen from them. Be it money or any property that a person owns, it is given care and protection to make sure that it stays in good and condition and will not be lost or stolen. But material items are not the only things that can be stolen. Ideas and concepts, like an artistic work, can also be stolen from somebody. It can be in the form of a book, song, movie, painting or designs used in card making.

When one uses another person's concept and claims that he made it himself, that is violation of the copyright laws. Copyright laws grants exclusive rights of the artistic work to its creator and no one has the right to use it without the permission of the person who created it. These laws are a significant part of making artistic people earn good money from selling their intellectual property.

In card making, the same principle applies. If you had made an original design, meaning it is a product of your own creative thinking, you can seek copyright protection to make sure that no one else will claim it as theirs. Or if you wrote an original poem for a particular card, it should also be protected under the copyright laws.

Although this copyright law may seem trivial and not important compared to other serious laws covering serious crimes like murder, using a stolen idea or design in card making for more than 10 times or if it involves a large amount of money already constitutes felony. But it would still mean a violation of this law if you use the product even without selling it. The creator can demand payment for damages which can be awarded through civil cases.

When discussing card making and copyright laws, it covers two aspects. One is knowing how to protect your intellectual property and the other one is knowing that others are protected, too. This means that you cannot just use any design or copy it then sell for a profit without the consent of the creator.

In protecting your original designs, first make sure that you have obeyed all the copyright provisions that can be applied to card making. Research ways and means to get protection for your work. If you are engaged in the business of card making, originality is a very significant part of how you can earn profits.

On the other hand, when in the process of card making, keep in mind that others are protected by this law, too. You cannot use nor copy any designs then sell them as your own. Never assume that you can use all quotes, artworks or graphics that can be found in public domains in the internet. Normally, there are provisions governing the use of these particular properties.

So always remember that the copyright laws applies both to your work and others', too. Simply put, it just means, don't copy the works of others and make sure that you are not copied, too.

Looking for cardmaking materials? For more info and excellent customer service, visit

Trademarks - Learn How to Use the US Patent and Trademark Office Site by Joseph Stutzman

Before beginning the trademark application process, you should familiarize yourself with the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) site, unless of course you have a good patent and trademark attorney, in which case you can quit reading right now. But, for those of you who are starting out small and just want to protect that remarkable name or newly designed on.

The first step should be to determine if a trademark is what you actually need. The Trademark Office of the USPTO handles only trademarks, while the Patent Office handles those. The Copyright Office is actually a division of the Library of Congress so if you are at the site for the USPTO, you are definitely in the wrong place. To determine if you are in the right place, you might want to learn what the three different types of intellectual property listed above are comprised of. The USPTO has a glossary that clearly defines these terms.

The next step, once you have established that a trademark is, in fact, the intellectual property that you wish to protect, you can search the USPTO database in order to establish whether or not someone else is already claiming rights to your trademark. The search is free and easily accomplished online. If, on the other hand, your trademark includes a design element of some sort or is a logo, you will be required to search using the proper design code(s). You can also access the Design Search Code Manual from the USPTO website, which will walk you through the design code identification and search process.

If you find a mark that you think might conflict with the mark that you wish to use, make note of the serial or registration number of the mark. You can then check its status in the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR) database. Do not give up until you have exhausted all of your resources. You may find that the trademark is not currently in use or that it is for sale, sometimes quite inexpensively. You also may want to search the product online and make sure that if it is no longer in use, that there is not pending litigation or really negative aspects that you don't wish to spill over to your branding. It is always a good idea to have more than one idea when it comes to trademarks unless you can be absolutely sure that yours is so unique that that is unnecessary.

Finally, every application must have a statement that identifies the goods and/or services with the mark that is or will be used. The level of specific identification will depend upon the type of goods and/or services and must be acceptable according to the Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual, which link is also available through the USPTO website.

Trademark filing can be a daunting prospect, which is why many people prefer to pay for the services of a trademark attorney, but it is not impossible to do yourself. If you find that you have additional questions or concerns that are not answered by the website, then you can also call the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199 or 1-571-272-9250.

This is one government office that seems to have made a complicated process much easier than you might have originally thought.

Along with writing online articles, Joseph enjoys working in his gardens. Garden Harvest Supply is one of his favorite garden sites for buying herb plants and garden dusters.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Trademark Enforcement - Protect Your Brand by Cheryl L. Hodgson, J.D.

The path to a great brand is littered with casualties. Many of these casualties are members of the "once were, now has been" brands. Brands are lost because their owners register their trademark and forget about it, believing they are off the hook. To build a lucrative brand that will not become a "has been" you must protect yourself by enforcing your trademark from brand bandits that are ready and eager to benefit from your success. Registration is the beginning. Enforcement in the digital age is an ongoing process of awareness and communication, both within an organization and with expert IP counsel on your team.

Enforcement means being aware. It is important that you understand and are mindful of what is happening in the marketplace in which your trademarks exist. This includes your own use, use by licensees, distributors and affiliates, as well as unrelated third parties. It also means a proactive stance towards managing risks that can weaken value or in some cases result in a complete loss of rights.

The registration of your trademark is only the beginning of the brand protection process. The act of enforcement also includes making sure that federal registrations are maintained. The Trademark Office requires periodic filings or they will cancel your registrations. Also, trademark owners must "police" their marks against unauthorized use or they risk losing valuable rights. It is important to teach authorized users to use the marks correctly as well as monitor their use. Many trademarks have been lost through neglect and failure to take simple steps to eliminate infringers.

A vital step in the trademark process is between the fifth and sixth year following registration. You must file affidavits showing that you are still using the marks in commerce or the registration will be canceled! Once canceled, others can file and take your rights. Additionally, the mark must be renewed at the end of ten years. A great example of the importance of trademark maintenance involves the use of CINDERELLA on peanut butter. It had been in use by the applicant since 1895, but the registration was allowed to lapse in 2001. The company re-filed to obtain the trademark only to be shot down and told they could not have the registration. The new application was denied on the grounds that it would be confused with a Disney registration for candy, chocolate, pretzels, and bread. This is a great example of how not paying attention, and/or not engaging trusted counsel as part of your team can result in a loss of rights.

Enforcing your mark also means "risk management." There are always risks in any business-some large, some small. In the case of trademarks, the greatest risk comes not in the form of a single large infringer, but in the owner's cumulative failure to take action against smaller, more numerous offenders. Left unchecked, small offenders can collectively result in the complete loss of rights. In short, take care of the small issues as they arise, the big ones will in turn take care of themselves.

Copyright 2008 Hodgson Law Group
Cheryl L. Hodgson, J.D.
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Copyright Damages - Domain Name Registration Information Affects the Willful Infringement Analysis By Brian A. Hall

When it comes to claims of cybersquatting, it is relatively understood that providing false Whois contact information is relevant to the bad faith determination under the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). However, it may be less well-known that providing false contact information may also be relevant to a copyright infringement lawsuit. In particular, under the Copyright Act, namely 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(3)(A), "it shall be a rebuttable presumption that the infringement was committed willfully for purposes of determining relief if the violator, or a person acting in concert with the violator, knowingly provided or knowingly caused to be provided materially false contact information to a domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name registration authority in registering, maintaining, or renewing a domain name used in connection with the infringement."

Put another way, this provision makes clear that an alleged infringer that is infringing the copyright of another through means of a website may be subject to statutory damages for willful infringement if the Whois information for the domain name pertaining to that website is inaccurate. This is extremely important and may provide additional leverage against an alleged infringer, especially since willful infringement subjects a copyright infringer to $150,000.00 in monetary damages. It is important to recognize that the prerequisites for a copyright infringement lawsuit, and the ability to recover statutory damages, still apply. Namely, a copyright must be registered with the United States Copyright Office prior to the infringement or within three months of publication, and the infringement must be willful. This particular provision, assuming that the copyright was properly registered in a timely fashion, creates a rebuttable presumption that the infringement is willful.

Thus, it is important that any online copyright infringement include an analysis of the domain name Whois information. Conversely, copyright attorneys should advise their clients that, once again, maintaining accurate and up-to-date contact information is extremely important for multiple causes of action, including copyright infringement. Ultimately, understanding that provisions like this exist are critical for any internet lawyer who regularly deals with online copyright infringement and related issues. Understanding that a similar provision does not yet exist for trademark infringement claims may also be valuable and worth lobbying or argument on the same.

Brian A. Hall is an attorney and partner of Traverse Legal, PLC, a law firm specializing in complex litigation, intellectual property matters, internet law, and copyright registration and copyright infringement matters. Speak with a copyright attorney today and learn more about copyright infringement threat letters and copyright damages.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Trademark Registration Process - Once Granted, Use it Or Lose It by Mark Y. Salmon

Before you begin the trademark registration process, becoming familiar with the United States Patent and Trademark website is advisable at The reason is that nearly all, if not all, of the process and transactions that will take place will occur involving the use of the website. There are many different resources that you may need that are available and by becoming familiar, you could save on time and frustration by knowing their location.

The next step that is recommended is determining exactly what type of intellectual property protection that you will be applying for. At this site, there are three different types of protection, the trademark, copyright, and patents. In the trademark section of this website, there are some pages that you could benefit from in the application process. The Basic Facts About Trademarks, Frequently Asked Questions, and the Trademark Manual of Examine Process or TMEP, along with a Glossary of terms to help define exactly what is being asked of the applicant can be found.

Once you know what you specifically want to trademark, the data base must be searched to make sure it has not already been protected. This is with the TESS or the Trademark Electronic Search System that is a part of the USPTO website. If a manual search is preferred, the public search library is open from 8 am to 5:30 pm at Madison East 1st floor, 600 Dulany St., Alexandria, Virginia 22313.

As part of your application, makes sure your trademark is represented clearly along with a complete description including the goods and or services it will be representing. Without this description, your trademark will not be granted.

To do the actual filing, the TEAS or Trademark Electronic Application System has to be used. This trademark registration process should take no longer than 5 to 6 months.

Find more informative ways, resources and FAQS about registering a trademark be more unique to anyone else. Visit

What's Your Copyright Worth If It's Not Registered Prior to Someone Stealing Your Work? by Cheryl L. Hodgson, J.D.

The answer is: "Not much." Visual and graphic artists are particularly vulnerable to unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted images on the Internet. It's literally a simple "right click," "copy," and "paste." Many such infringements go undetected. Those that are discovered are often let go without remedial action. Why? The artist fails to register his or her work with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to the work being stolen. For years, I've been asked: "Can't I just mail it to myself?" In the case of scripts, "Isn't the Writers Guild enough?" Then I hear, "I never got around to it." My answer is, "Sorry, there's not much I can do to help you."

NO, NO and-NO! There is one place, and one only, to register your works. Instead of sending in your registration by mail and waiting for years, the Copyright Office has come into the digital age so you can digitally upload the files. So why wait?

Exactly why is registration so darn important? While a copyright is valid without registration, the very statement is misleading. Copyright registration is essential to preserve key remedies for infringement. Unless registered prior to infringement, attorney's fees and statutory damages are not available. It is often difficult, if not impossible, to prove actual damages or profits attributable to theft of a copyrighted work. For example, if the work is used on a product that doesn't sell millions of copies, how do you prove your damages?

Congress created two types of damages to recover under copyright law. In addition to "actual damages," one can elect statutory damages without proof of out of pocket losses. This means not only will the infringer have to pay you up to $150,000 per willful act of infringement (the amount is discretionary with the court) they will need to pay your lawyer's fees. However, your work must have been registered prior to the theft or these remedies are lost. Without the threat of having to pay attorney's fees to the copyright owner, there is little, if any, chance of finding counsel to bring a costly and drawn out infringement action on a speculative basis.

Legally, you are entitled to obtain an injunction to prevent ongoing or future infringements even if you file the registration after the infringement. A preliminary injunction in a copyright case can cost six figures and above in legal fees.

If you don't register, you won't be getting any statutory damages or lawyer's fees from the defendant. Unless you can finance the case out of your own pocket, this is one lawyer who can't afford to help you. Do your selves a big favor-take care of this simple but all important part of your business. Register your works-someday you may be glad you did!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How to Patent, Trademark, And Copyright a Clothing Line by Mat Grell

Intellectual property applicable to a new Clothing Line design may include trademark protection, copyright, and/or a patent(s):

Trademark protection
For the name, logo, or graphic that identifies and distinguishes your line from others. You can and should use TM next to or in close proximity to your mark upon initial use. TM simply means that you claim a common law right to the mark, which by virtue of your use you have a right to claim.

Use of ® is strictly prohibited until your application is completely approved and your mark is registered at the United States Trademark Office. In fact, improper use of ® is illegal and can be punishable by law. In addition, improper use can adversely affect trademark rights and registerability of a mark.

NOTE: The trademark must be used consistently to identify the clothing line verses some short phrase, slogan and/or graphic printed on a garment or T-shirt for the purpose of making a statement. First step is to identify your mark, its goods or service description, and learn common mistakes in selecting a mark, see Trademark Information and Trademark Goods Services Description. Second step is to perform a Trademark Search, see Trademark Search Instructions on How to Perform a Search as part of the Inventor Start Kit.

If you have a drawing or a pattern showing the design of your garment or a photograph of garment these can be the basis of a copyright application. As a reminder, you should always include a copyright notice on all copies of your work (garment design), fixed on paper or in an electronic form, such as © 200_ Full Name/Company Name. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Note: If multiple authors are contributing to a work (garment) and a single person or entity desires to own the collective work then the parties must transfer their rights to the single person or entity via an assignment/work-made-for-hire agreement; otherwise, each contributor is owed a ratable share of the profits realized from use, license or sale of the work.

Design Patent
If your garment design is a new and non-obvious garment design (article of manufacture) it may qualify for protection under a design patent.

Mat Grell, U.S. Patent Attorney - Founder of The Inventor Start Kit, a simple step-by-step process that helps inventors protect their ideas and get them to the marketplace... to hopefully make millions! Visit Mat's site:

Trademarks - How to File For a National Trademark by Patrick Newman

Trademark filing is the process of registering a trademark. By far the large bulk of trademark filings are done online.

So what is involved in trademark filing? There are 10 steps - steps 2 and 3 are summarised here today.

Step 2. Start trademark online filing
Step 3 Application Filing Fee
The other steps are:

Step 1 - Confirming your trademark intentions
Step 4. - understanding the basis for filing
Step 5 - Providing a Specimen
Step 6 - Signing or authorising the trademark filing application
Step 7 - Review of the trademark application
Step 8 - Publication for opposition
Step 9 - Certificate of Registration
Step 10 - Maintaining Trademark Registration
Step 2 Trademark online

By far the largest bulk of trademark filings are done online using the USPTO Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). While the USPTO greatly prefers that you file electronically using TEAS, you may either mail or hand deliver a paper application to the USPTO.

An application must include the following elements before the USPTO will accept it:

the name of the applicant;
a name and address for correspondence;
a clear drawing of the mark;
a listing of the goods or services; and
the filing fee for at least one class of goods or services
If your application does not meet these requirements, the USPTO will return the application papers and refund any fees submitted.

Application Filing Fee

At the time of writing this article the published fee for "Application for registration, per international class (electronic filing, TEAS application)" was $325 USD.

For current fees for trademark applications and amendments, see the current USPTO Fee Schedule. Fee increases, when necessary, usually take effect on October 1 of any given year. You can call 1-800-PT0-9199 for up-to-date fee information.

For fees associated with the listing of classes, see the USPTO International Schedule of Classes of Goods and Services. The filing fee must be paid in United States currency (USD). The USPTO accepts payment by credit card, check or money order, or through an existing USPTO deposit account.

Personal, business and certified checks are accepted and should be made payable to "Director of the USPTO." A form for authorizing charges to a credit card can be accessed through all TEAS forms. If you are filing on paper, you can download the form for authorizing credit card charges from the USPTO website.

In summary, trademark filing can be broken down into 10 easy steps, two of which are the actual filing (step 2) and paying the application fee (step 3).

By the way, you should always consult with a trademark attorney or trademark professional for assistance, trademark services and advice.

Patrick Newman writes on intellectual property, copyright and trademark matters from practical business experience. Patrick is a member of the licensing executives society international, has an MBA and a degree in engineering. For more information see Trademark Filing

To get find out more about the ebook click here: Trademark Filing in 10 Easy Steps

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What is the Difference Between a Patent, a Trademark, and a Copyright? by Daniel Gibbs

Intellectual property is protected by international and U.S. law, just as it would be your car or savings account. You can earn profit from property intellectual rights, you have the option to lease or sell them, and by using patents, trademarks and copyrights, you can also protect them.

If you want to have protection within the United States, you must have a patent issued by USPTO. There are patent rights organizations for international markets also. If you own a patent of something, you have the exclusive right to produce and market your invention for 20 years. Is someone wants to make it, license it, use it, sell it, or even offer to sell it has to have your permission.

If you want to patent an idea of yours, you must be prepared the patent application is lengthy and expensive, and there is also no guarantee you will get it. In 2007 USPTO received 485,000 applications, but issued only 93,691 patents.

If you apply for a patent, you can opt for three categories: utility patents are for processes, machines and item compositions, such as certain drug formulas. Design patents protect the appearance and design for clothing, protective gear and characters. Plant patents are for the protection of hybrid and genetically engineered plants.

However, there are things that can not be patented, such as abstract ideas. These can be protected by copyright, if they are written down. Illegal things and physical elements like water or iron also can not be patented.

Trademarks are things like words, names, logos, colors or sounds associated with a particular merchandise or service. Trademarks have the role of preventing the competitors to use the same logos or names to confuse consumers. Trademarks are issued for ten years, and you can renew it as long as you use t in your business. There is no possibility to renew a trademark if the company it belongs to is not operating.

Copyrights are for the protection of any artistic work, form poetry to video games and movies. Even choreography can be copyrighted, if it is written down. Copyrights can be registered thorough the U.S. Library of Congress, and they take effect once the idea is created in some fixed form. With other words, an idea in your head can not be copyrighted, it has to be written down. Copyright lasts as long as the creator lives, plus 70 years for things created before January 1, 1978. For the work created before, there is a maximum of 95 years.

Daniel has been writing articles online for nearly 4 years now. Not only does he specialize in business related issues, you can also check out his latest websites on conference call UK and Hon Filing Cabinets.

Should You Copyright Your Photographs and Content on Your Website? by Mike Hodge

Copyright law has changed a lot over the years. Generally, when you create artistic or intellectual material (photos, songs, music, articles,etc.), you automatically and instantly create a copyright. You may put the copyright symbol by your creation, but since 1989, this is not a requirement.. However, it is good practice to include it to inform people that the work is copyrighted.

As far as registering your material, it is $35 for a basic copyright. The fee increases depending on what is involved; up to $215. It may not seem that much, but if you have hundreds or even thousands of items, you can see how it could add up. You can register a copyright yourself on line at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

There are a lot of people who choose not to register a copyright, since they own the copyright outright. The only time it becomes an issue is if someone uses your material without your permission, and they copy, reproduce or try to get financial gain from your work. Then, before pursuing legal action, you must copyright the material in question. Copyright law does not follow a consistent standard practice...much of it is on a case by case basis. There are many exceptions and exclusions.

So, there are two sides to copyrighting. Some people put out their work without registering for a copyright. Some people think you should register a copyright for everything. A lot has to do with how you choose to display your work. Will it be on the Internet? Newspaper? Art Gallery? Is it just for your personal collection?

Some say copyright only if you are able to back it up with legal action. This can be very expensive and take years to resolve. If you discover that someone has used a photograph or other content without your permission, you can have your lawyer send a cease and desist order, and sometimes that is all it takes. You can find all the information you need on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is also recommended that you consult a copyright and trademark attorney for further information.

Mike Hodge is the owner of He specializes in Website Development, Search Engine Optimization>, and Internet Marketing.