Trademarks are used to identify the source of a particular good or service. In other words, when you think of a word, symbol, or other trademark, you identify it with a specific producer of the good or service. For example, the "swoosh" symbol indicates to consumers to think of Nike. As a result, a trademark can serve as an invaluable marketing tool which consumers will trust and rely upon. Over time, the value of a trademark increases as it gains customer loyalty via brand recognition.
If you are looking for affordable trademark and copyright attorneys with experience, dedication, and understanding, call us today at 405.600.9910. Free Consultation Available .
Businesses often spend countless hours, resources, and money promoting a product or service that is not trademarkable. This will undoubtedly lead to a less successful product or service and potential suit by the trademark owner. By obtaining a comprehensive trademark search and registering your trademark, you can prevent these problems. Further, registering a trademark with the Federal Register provides the following benefits:
- Constructive notice of mark ownership to the public;
- A legal presumption of ownership of the mark;
- Exclusive right to use the trademark across the United States;
- A basis to obtain registration in foreign countries; and
- The ability to file the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.
At Tai Stevenson & Associates, we can help you protect and register your trademark. Unlike copyright and patent protection, trademark protection can last indefinately. So, it is important that your trademark is fully protected to secure the rights of your business. A mistake in failing to carefully conduct a comprehensive state and federal search or properly registering a trademark can cause serious legal and financial consequences in the future. We can help eliminate these mistakes and ensure the rights of your business are protected.
What type of marks are registrable?
Trademark law protection covers words and symbols, but it also covers colors and trade dress (the overall look of your business). A mark must be distinctive to serve as a trademark. There are four (4) basic categories for distinctiveness:
- Arbitrary or Fanciful
(1) Generic marks may never serve as a trademark. Generic marks identify the product category. For example, ASPIRIN, CELLOPHANE, ESCALATOR
(2) Arbitrary and Fanciful marks may almost always serve as a trademark. Arbitrary marks are common words that do not suggest or describe the goods or services; such as, APPLE for computers. Fanciful marks are invented or otherwise unused words; for example, EXXON for oil.
(3) Descriptive marks identify a quality or characteristic of a good or service. These marks are only protected if 'secondary meaning' is proven. In other words, a mark owner must prove that consumers think of the mark as identifying the product source.
(4) Suggestive marks suggest (and does not describe) product characteristics, so it require an imaginary step by consumers. For example, COPPERTONE for sun lotion.
Certains marks are expressly prohibited to serve as trademarks; such as, US flags, other insignia of the United states, disparaging and scanadalous marks, etc. Please note there are many other limitations to trademarks, and each limitation must be analyzed to determine trademark eligibility.
Copyright law protects property rights in original (creative) works of authorship that are fixed in a 'tangible medium of expression.' In other words, copyright law protects a variety of literary and artistic works including movies, music, and computer software; however, it does not protect ideas, facts, or methods of operation. In general, copyrighted works are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years subject to limitations.
Copyright owners enjoy the rights to (1) reproduction, (2) derivative works, (3) distribution, (4) public performance, and (5) public display.
In recent years, Congress has enacted the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA provides digital (internet) protection for copyrighted works including protection against circumvention of technological measures controlling access to copyrighted works subject to certain exemptions. These exemptions allows for copying of short segment of DVDs for comment or criticism, copying for educational uses, and copying for non-commerical uses.