Naperville Business Lawyer Talks About Copyrights and Trademarks
If I were to ask you to think about the security of your business, what would come to mind? For many business owners, the first answer would probably involve things like ID cards, video surveillance systems, and data backups. These types of security measures can absolutely be beneficial, especially if your business is a retail store or firm that deals with confidential and important information. But, what about the other, less tangible things pertaining to your company? A new ID card entry system may keep would-be thieves out, but it will not stop someone from appropriating your logos, symbols, ideas, designs, and other types of intellectual property.
As an experienced business lawyer, I have worked with business owners and entrepreneurs in a variety of different industries, helping them obtain copyrights, trademarks, and other legal protections. If you are looking to protect yourself and your business, it is important to understand what options are available and how they can help you.
There are two primary governmental entities that handle the majority of intellectual property concerns and the rights to license and use these types of property. The appropriate agency for your situation will depend on the type of property you are looking to collect, and many businesses must work with both the United States Copyright Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
A registered trademark refers to a particular set of words, symbols, designs, phrases, or any combination of these used to identify the source of goods or services and to distinguish the source from others that might be similar. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) accepts applications and issues registers trademarks for company names, logos, slogans, wordmarks, images, and other forms of intellectual property that are specific to a particular brand. The USPTO also handles patents for new products and inventions.
Recognizable examples of trademarks include Fed Ex’s brightly colored logo, the “Band-Aid” name for Johnson & Johnson’s adhesive bandages, and Coca-Cola’s curved “contour bottle” shape. It is important to keep in mind that the USTPO only has jurisdiction in the United States. Coke’s contour bottle, for example, does not have trademark protection in the European Union.
A trademark can help you protect your images and brand, but what about works that do not really meet the traditional definition of a “product” or “service?” For works like a book, play, musical composition, or art, copyright protection can offer security. Under US law, when you create an intellectual work, you are presumed to have a copyright for that work, even if it is never published. However, before your copyright can be enforced, it will need to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Once a copyright is registered, you will be able to exercise control over rights to publication, performance, and even royalties.
Contact a DuPage County Business Lawyer
Businesses that generate copyrighted works to any extent often need both registered copyrights and trademarks. An experienced Naperville business law attorney can help you develop a strategy for getting the protection you need. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today.