Copyright is the exclusive legal right, that is given to the to a creator to use as he/she deems appropriate, and to authorize others to use. Copyright exists from the second the work is created in a fixed form, whether published or not. The copyright immediately becomes the property of the person whom created the work. Mere ownership of a work does not give the possessor the copyright.
Copyrightable works fall into categories, these categories are meant to be viewed broadly. Per www.copyright.gov, the categories are as follows:
- Literary works
- Musical works (including any accompanying words)
- Dramatic works (including any accompanying music)
- Pantomimes and choreographic works
- Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
- Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
- Sound recordings, architectural works
- Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded)
- Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents
- Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration
- Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)
- Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
- Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
- If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
- If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
- Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies. For additional information, go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at www.cbp.gov/
A patent is a property right that is granted to a inventor to prevent others from making, using, selling, or offering for sale a invention inside the United States or importing into the United States. There are three types of patents.
- Utility patents: these patents may be granted to one why invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, or any new or useful improvement of those.
- Design patents: these patents may be granted to one who invents a new, original, and ornamental design from something to be manufactured.
- Plant patents: these patents may be granted to one who invents or discovers any new and distinct variety of plant. This patents also requires that one asexually reproduces the said plant.
The first step to trademarking is to decide on a mark. Not every mark is eligible for trademark registration, or even legally protectable. So one must do the necessary research to ensure the mark you select is eligible for protection. You should take car to choose a mark that is not likely to be confused with any marks that are already in existence.
Marks generally fall into one of four categories. These categories are fanciful or arbitrary, suggestive, descriptive, or generic. The mark category that your mark falls into will greatly impact its registrability and the ability to enforce your rights.
- Fanciful and Arbitrary marks are more likely tot be registered than any other mark. A fanciful mark is a invented word that has not dictionary or other known meaning. Arbitrary marks are actual works that have a known meaning, however, the known meaning has not relationship with the goods that are protected.
- A suggestive mark is suggests, but does not describe, the qualities for a connection to the goods/services.
- A descriptive mark is a word or design that describes the goods/services. These marks are generally considered a weaker mark. Thus making it harder to protect or possibly even not registrable.
- Generic marks are the weakest of all the types of marks. A generic mark is a word that is a common name for a good/service. These words are not registrable or protectable.
Now, it's time to file a trademark application. This can be done at www.uspto.gov/teas.