Difference Between a Trademark & Copyright

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Copyright

Copyright

Many online business owners confuse trademark registration with copyright registration. Trademark registration refers to protecting the brand name, color, design, and/or logo of your business, and provides a means to distinguish your product from others in the marketplace. Copyright registration refers to protecting original creative content, such books, articles, blog posts, photos, website content, videos, music, plays, movies, cartoons, and a number of other items. While both are forms of intellectual property, they are handled differently. Understand the difference.

If you need someone to perform a trademark search or if you need help with filing a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, CLICK HERE NOW.

Is a Trademark Required? TM?

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trademark sign padlockTrademark? Branding?

While trademark registration is not required for the protection of your valuable logos, designs, words, phrases, and other source identifiers, it is a smart business judgment decision to protect them in that way. Taking that extra step to protect what’s yours will aid in enhancing the value of your company and your brand. When you work hard to create an identifiable, recognizable, and memorable brand, a trademark attorney can help you protect that asset. Or, if you are clear on the actions to take, you can do it yourself. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is a wonderful resource.

But having a competent trademark registration attorney on your team can be a great benefit. They can appropriately advise you on every aspect of the trademark prosecution process. For example, an attorney can counsel you on how to select a mark that can be protected, how to perform a trademark search, the use of the appropriate trademark symbol, which trademark registration form to use if you choose to register (and how to file a trademark application), how to respond to USPTO Office Actions, and how to protect your trademark after it’s registered. Regardless of the benefits of having a competent professional who understands trademark law and how to apply it, you can always do it yourself on the www.uspto.gov website.

Trademark. Branding. Why its important?

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Branding. Trademark.What is Branding?

Trademark protection is an essential part of your brand strategy. If you are focused on brand building, then having registered trademarks as part of your portfolio is important. Branding your business online takes thought, dedication, and most of all — time! You must come up with a color scheme, logo, design, image, and/or an image that unifies your business as a brand.  More importantly, your brand must be recognizable and must communicate to your audience what it stands for.

When you establish your business brand online, a great deal of time is invested in spreading the word across the Internet and getting your credibility established. By using online tools, such as social networking resources, video marketing, pay-per-click advertising, search engine marketing, mobile marketing, and other advertising mediums, people will eventually associate your brand with quality and value.

Without a brand name and/or a distinctive brand image, your business will not stand out in the marketplace from other vendors who provide a similar product or service. If you are going to invest time and money in establishing a presence in the marketplace, your next step should be protecting it. Protection of your brand starts with protecting your trademarks, e.g., your logos, designs, tag lines, slogans, in some cases trade names, or any other device used to market your products and/or services in the marketplace. To ensure it is done correctly — the first time — you should hire a competent trademark attorney to assist you in the process.

Comprehensive Trademark Search

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Trademark. Proof.

When trademarking your brand, it is vital to conduct a comprehensive trademark search to determine if the mark can be registered. Yet, as important as this step is, many folks avoid doing it. Why? One reason may be cost. The cost of investing in a trademark search is not cheap. It can range anywhere from $300-750, plus the cost of analysis (having a lawyer tell you what the voluminous search report actually means). But avoiding those costs on the front end can create greater costs on the backend.

If you don’t do a search and someone else is already using the same trademark, your application will likely be denied by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Their reason: your mark is likely to be confused with an existing registration or a pending application trademark.

When should you do a search?

When you are about to do any of the following, among other things:

  1. Start a business
  2. Build a brand
  3. Acquire a business
  4. Purchase Assets
  5. Purchase a Franchise
  6. License a trademark
  7. Collaborate with someone on a project involving content or brand creation.

Until next time, I’m attorney Francine Ward sharing useful legal information. Join my conversation on FacebookTwitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles.

The Walking Dead. Trademark Infringement.

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Just in time for Halloween, the producer of the hit cable TV series, The Walking Dead, has filed a Trademark infringement lawsuit over the use of the name ‘Valhalla.’

fotolia_29963865_xsTrademark Lawsuit.

Valhalla Entertainment, the company behind The Walking Dead series, as well as two spinoffs of the popular show, Fear The Walking Dead and Talking Dead, filed the trademark suit against a company that is calling itself, Valhalla Studios.

Adding fuel to the lawsuit is the fact that Valhalla Studios opened up shop right in Atlanta, Georgia where The Walking Dead is produced. The suit states that unauthorized use of the name (Valhalla), which was registered in 1997, causes confusion and a misleading association with the two companies.

Wrongful Profits.

Besides trademark infringement, the lawsuit also sites unfair competition, deceptive trade practices and trademark dilution, as well as an unspecified amount of “wrongful” profits, actual and enhanced damages and legal fees and costs.

Ryan Millsap, the CEO of Valhalla Studios said he was surprised to hear about the lawsuit, saying he and his partners thought they were choosing a generic name whose roots stem from Viking lore. The company is investing roughly $70 million to build 9 sound stages on a 53 acre lot right outside of Atlanta. Millsap said his lawyers were in negotiation for over a month with Valhalla Entertainment regarding the name and was convinced they would come to an amicable agreement.

Coincidence?

Was this a simply a coincidence of a movie production company moving into the same area where a hit cable show is produced and innocently choosing the same name as the entertainment company that produces the show? Or is Valhalla Studios intentionally attempting to create confusion and ride the coattails of the popular production?

What are your thoughts?

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles.