Frequently Asked Questions About Copyright And Trademark
Gonzalo Law LLC provides comprehensive services for individuals and businesses seeking to protect their ideas. Our firm’s vast knowledge regarding intellectual property law can benefit you in matters regarding copyright, trademark or intellectual property litigation.
Q: What is a copyright?
A: A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.
Q: What are the benefits to registering my copyright?
A: While it is not mandatory to register a copyright in order to claim authorship, registering your copyright will create the ability to legally protect your work. It would prove beneficial if you ever wish to sue for infringement.
Q: What is the difference between a patent, copyright, trademark, service mark, certification mark, collective membership mark and a collective mark?
A: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office specifically defines these terms as follows. A patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.
A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. The term “trademark” is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks. A certification mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof owned by one party who certifies the goods and services of others when they meet certain standards. The owner of the mark exercises control over the use of the mark; however, because the sole purpose of a certification mark is to indicate that certain standards have been met, use of the mark is by others.
A collective membership mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof that indicates that the user of the mark is a member of a particular organization. The owner of the mark exercises control over the use of the mark; however, because the sole purpose of a membership mark is to indicate membership, use of the mark is by members.
A collective mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof owned by a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization and used by its members to indicate the source of the goods or services.
Q: Is it required to register my trademark or copyright for protection?
A: No. Based on your use of the mark in commerce, you can establish your rights in a mark without registering your mark. However, registering your mark with the Principal Register is very beneficial.
Q: What are the benefits of registering my trademark, copyright or other mark?
A: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office confirms that the benefits of federal trademark registration on the Principal Register includes the following advantages:
- Public notice of your claim of ownership of the mark
- A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration
- The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court
- The use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries
- The ability to record the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods
- The right to use the federal registration symbol ® and
- Listing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s online databases
You can contact Gonzalo Law LLC today for information on the registration process.
Q: Do I really need an attorney or can I use a low-cost online service to register my mark?
A: There is no requirement that you hire an attorney to register your mark; however, you should note that the process of filing is a legal process in which you will be required to respond to legal issues as they arise. You will be expected to be familiar with the trademark statutes, rules and laws. Registration is not guaranteed, and a legal professional trained in the area of copyright and trademark is able to help you increase your chances of a successful application. In addition, the registration process can be complex and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will only communicate with your attorney.
You may be able to use an online company that provides low-cost registration options, yet you should thoroughly research any such option to ensure that you have selected a reputable company. Be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions carefully, as many online providers will not have an extended duty to the client past the registration process. In contrast, legal counsel from start to finish in the registration process.
Q: How long does a trademark registration last?
A: For a trademark registration to remain valid, a Declaration of Use must be filed: (1) between the fifth and sixth year following registration and (2) within the year before the end of every 10-year period after the date of registration.
Assuming that a Declaration of Use is timely filed, registrations granted PRIOR to November 16, 1989, have a 20-year term. Registrations granted on or after November 16, 1989, have a 10-year term. Trademarks can be renewed for additional 10-year terms. There is no limit to the number of times a trademark can be renewed, as long as the use of the mark by its owner continues.
Q: Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to obtain a federal trademark registration?
A: No. However, the applicant’s citizenship must be included in an application. If an applicant (such as a corporation) is not a citizen of any country, then a statement to that effect is sufficient. If an applicant has dual citizenship, he or she must choose which citizenship will be printed in the Official Gazette and on the Certificate of Registration.
Client Review Of Our Work
“Gonzalo Law LLC helped me navigate through the complicated waters of non-disclosure agreements and trademarks. Nouvelle’s expertise in this area, from the explanation to the execution, made the process painless and rather pleasant. Gonzalo Law LLC will be my go-to firm for business legal matters!”