Your Trademark Is An Essential Business Element
Trademarks can be the name of your business, a mark, or a graphic logo. It gives notice to consumers in the marketplace that a specific service or product is associated with your trademark. A business’s trademark often defines the quality of the product or service in the market. Registering your trademark gives you exclusive use and the right to legal recourse for infringement. Protecting a brand is invaluable. Just ask any executive at Boeing or Coca-Cola.
Not All Trademarks Qualify For Federal Trademark Protection
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regulates trademark protections under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The USPTO processes applications for trademarks, records ownership, and grants registration of trademarks and service marks for products and services.
Before applying for trademark protection online, a thorough search of the USPTO’s database of pending and registered trademarks will help you avoid a costly denial of your application.
The USPTO does not provide trademark protection for:
- A person’s surname
- An individual’s name
- A single book title or movie title
- A purely ornamental mark
- A geographic origin description of goods or services
- A foreign term that translates into a generic or descriptive term
- A duplicate or similar trademark already in use
Applicants who receive trademark protection must file A Declaration of Use to renew their exclusive use of their trademark. Renewals are due after five years of use, then between the ninth and tenth year of use, and every 10 years afterward.
Protecting Your Intellectual Property Through A Copyright
The USPTO also processes applications for copyrights. A copyright can protect your right to monetize original written or spoken literary works, audiovisual and myriad artistic creations, music, lyrics, screenplays, software programs, computer screen displays, and video games. Federal copyright laws do not protect the computer’s functional aspects, such as algorithms, functions, logic or a computer system design.
Computer programs are considered automatically copyrighted upon creation. But registering for a copyright with the USPTO can be beneficial if a lawsuit is filed. If you file a lawsuit for copyright infringement, you could recover attorney’s fees and statutory damages of up to $30,000 for nonwillful infringement and up to $150,000 for willful infringement.
It Is Wise To Consult An Attorney For Protection
Your intellectual property is a valuable business asset. Virgo Law® can help you navigate through the nuances of trademarks and copyright law. He will guide you as you make critical decisions about your trademark and copyrightable original works. He can also assist you with other issues vital to your successful business. Call attorney Brett Harris in Seattle at 425.274.3969 or send him an email to schedule a consultation.