By Andrea M. Pike, Esq.

Trademarks and Service Marks

You can register your business logo, name, “doing business as” name, tag line, or phrase as a Trademark or Service Mark (“Mark”). If it is used online, federal registration of your Mark through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is recommended so your Mark is not copied and so consumers do not confuse your Mark with another.

Berry Moorman attorneys first make sure that no one else has registered a similar name, logo, or tag line, etc. If the Mark is new to your business, we recommend contacting us to perform a registration search prior to expending money on the new Mark, in case you run the risk of having your registration application denied.

Once your Mark is registered, the USPTO can deny applications for Marks that are confusingly similar to your Mark (i.e. sounds similar and is in the same or similar classification of goods or services that you registered under).  If someone else uses the Mark that you registered, you can stop them from using it and, in some circumstances, even collect money.

An application submitted to the USPTO can be filed before use, if you intend to use it in commerce, or filed after it is used in commerce. If your application is filed after your Mark is used, the timing from when we submit the application for you until the time the Mark is registered takes a minimum of six months; however, the registration process typically takes longer depending on whether issues or questions arise with the USPTO Examining Attorney assigned to your application. If you choose to file an application for the Mark before it is used in commerce, your application can be conditionally approved, pending some additional paperwork you are required to file showing the Mark is actually being used in commerce.

If you already have a registered Mark with the USPTO, you must file the necessary renewal paperwork or risk automatic abandonment of your registration, which would result in starting over with your application (lost priority and additional filing fees).

Filing an application for a Trademark or Services Mark with the USPTO can be a confusing process.  Our experienced lawyers can guide you through the process and file an application, renewal, or any other forms on your behalf.

Copyrights

Copyright law protects creative expressions by giving the creator an exclusive right to copy and distribute their original, creative work. Examples of common copyright material on websites include the written word contained on a website, articles, photographs, sound recordings, and videos.

Copyright protection automatically vests in the creator once a work is created. However, under certain circumstances, a business or employer may own the creative expressions of others. It is not absolutely necessary to register with the United States Copyright Office in order to receive copyright protection, but registration is required to file a federal copyright infringement case.

For more information about protecting your business’s intellectual property rights, please contact Andrea M. Pike at 248-645-9680 or at apike@berrymoorman.com.