Sunday, August 8, 2010

Copyrights vs Trademarks by Shannon Moore

Copyrights can be obtained for things of an artistic nature. This includes, of course, poetry, films, sculptures, music, fiction, etc. But can also include things that may not necessarily seem "artistic" in the general sense of the word. Copyrights can also be obtained for advertising copy, games, software programs and blueprints, to name just a few.

There are five different types of copyright filings:

Literary Works - books, manuscripts, poetry, theses, speeches, etc.

Visual Art Works - drawings, photographs, sculptures, artwork applied to clothing, etc.

Performing Art Works - dramatic work, script, motion pictures, etc.

Sound Recordings - recordings of music, drama, lectures, etc.

Serials & Periodicals - newspapers, magazines, etc.

To protect a business name within your industry, you would apply for a trademark.

Trademarks can be names of products or services, logos, slogans, packaging and even sounds and smells. In essence, a trademark can be almost anything that is used to identify a particular product or service. Registering a trademark grants the owner exclusive rights to the mark within the specified industry.

Of course, it's necessary to research the mark comprehensively prior to filing to ensure that there is no possibility of infringing upon another party.

This entails searching the pending & registered Federal and State trademark files as well as the US National Common-Law files. Then, if clear, you can decide if you would like to file for a Federal or a State trademark.

To register a trademark, that's done either through your Secretary of State for a State trademark or the US Patent & Trademark Office for a Federal trademark.

If you are only conducting business in one state, then a State trademark is most appropriate. If you conduct (OR are planning to conduct) business in at least 2 states OR between the US & any other country, you can file for a Federal trademark.

Shannon Moore is the General Manager for TradeMark Express. Since 1992, TradeMark Express has met the needs of their clients with comprehensive research, application preparation, attorney referrals and trademark consultation. For further details, please visit us on the web at TradeMark Express or call Shannon directly at 800.340.2010.