Myths About Trademarks and Copyrights
May 28, 2021
Myths About Trademarks and Copyrights
As a business owner, protecting your intellectual property is important. This means, among other things, properly filing and defending your trademarks and copyrights. There are several myths surrounding trademarks and copyrights that every business owner should be aware of. These include:
Myth No. 1: Trademarks and Copyrights Protect the Same Things
Trademarks offer protection for brand names, logos, and similar items related to branding. By contrast, copyrights protect other types of intellectual property like books, movies, and songs. Most things require either a trademark or copyright, although some can use both types of protection.
Myth No. 2: You Don’t Need an Attorney to File or Defend a Trademark or Copyright
While you technically don’t need an attorney to file or defend a trademark or copyright, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced intellectual property lawyer. They can ensure that you file the paperwork correctly and take all the necessary steps, such as conducting trademark searches, filling out the application, and choosing a unique trademark or trade name. Plus, if you ever need to defend a trademark or copyright, you want to have an experienced attorney on your side to protect your rights. Among other things, Counxel Legal Firm can advise you on the type of infringement in question and what can be done about it, from sending a cease and desist letter to filing a lawsuit.
Myth No. 3: My Business Isn’t Big Enough to File a Trademark or Copyright
On the contrary, a trademark or copyright can go into effect even before your business starts operating. The sooner you file your trademark or copyright, the more protection you will have against people looking to steal your ideas and market them as their own. Plus, researching and filing trademarks and copyrights at the start will help you determine what competition you may have and avoid infringement claims being filed against you.
Myth No. 4: It Costs a Lot of Money to File a Trademark or Copyright
Between filing fees and attorneys’ fees, it is true that it does cost money to conduct searches, properly prepare, and file registration fees. However, defending your brand against the infringement of your intellectual property will cost even more, especially if you didn’t register it or did so improperly. In the end, the filing and attorney fees you pay to register a trademark or copyright are well worth the investment.
Myth No. 5: No One Can Use My Brand Name After I File a Trademark
This is true only for the class of goods or services that your company sells. If you sell SuperClean-branded laundry detergent and register that trademark, no one else can use that name to sell laundry detergent or other goods in the same class, as defined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, they can use it to sell something that’s in an entirely different class. For example, Delta faucets and Delta Airlines are both properly registered and defendable trademarks because these are different classes of goods and services (housewares and transportation services, respectively).
Myth No. 6: There’s Nothing Else to Do Once I Registered my Trademark
In order to adequately protect your trademark, there are several steps you need to take on an ongoing basis:
Use your trademark consistently across your company. This includes things like font, style, coloring, placement, and anything else that sets your mark apart. It will be much more difficult to successfully sue someone for infringing your mark if you or your employees have used it inconsistently.
Take proactive steps to defend your mark. Although your trademark is granted by the federal government, neither the government nor anyone else is going to check to see if it’s being infringed. It’s up to you to prevent someone from using it (or a similar mark) to sell goods or services in the same class by, for example, regularly searching the internet for possible infringing practices.
Submit timely maintenance filings. A trademark owner must submit maintenance filings and associated fees between year five and year six after registration, between year nine and year 10 after registration, and every 10 years after that. To submit these filings, you have to be able to demonstrate that you are still using the mark to sell the goods and/or services identified in your registration.
Contact Counxel Legal Firm
Do you need help with a trademark or copyright? If so, that can be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life!
We both file and litigate trademarks and copyrights. This gives us a unique perspective in how to best help our clients get the most out of their intellectual property. What’s even better, we offer flat-rate pricing on our trademark and copyright applications which allows you to stop worrying about the cost of protecting your brands or ideas and to focus on all of the exciting things that you can do with them.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice for your specific situation. Use of and access to this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Counxel Legal Firm. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-536-6122 to request specific information for your situation.
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