As a new business owner, I have to learn new things. A couple of those things: What exactly are trademarks and copyrights? Do I need them for my blog, Mascara Maven? For my business, Media Maven?
To protect my business, I needed to learn a little more. Plus, I think this is something a lot of new entrepreneurs don’t know about or even think about… so I consulted with fellow entrepreneur Melody Cobbe at Cobbe Law in Boca Raton. This is what she said:
What is a trademark?
The term “trademark” is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks. However, a “trademark” is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A “service mark” is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods.
When you get a trademark, you get to use the ® symbol (unregistered marks must use a “TM” or “SM”). This shows you are serious about protecting your rights and makes it harder for others to create confusingly similar marks. It will show up in a trademark availability search which helps in court proceedings and may cause others to stop using a mark without the need to go to court.
Trademarks are granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and cost between $275-$325 per mark and per category in which you want to register.
What is a copyright?
Copyrights protect works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed (“Works”). For example, it protects the oil painting, operatic symphony, books, and poetry. As such, each time you are creating an original Work you are simultaneously creating a copyrighted work.
Anyone can register for a copyright, but the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form, you own it. For example, a blog post (like this one) is yours once it’s posted. The same goes for photographers who own their pictures.
Copyrights are granted by the United States Copyright Office. You are not required to register your Work with the U.S. Copyright Office. However, if you want to sue someone for infringement, you will need to register Work. Further, if you register your copyright before someone infringes upon it, you may have certain additional remedies available to you, such as the ability to recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees.
And in case you were wondering… What is a patent?
When you hear or see the term patent, think of invention. A patent is a property right relating to an invention for a limited period of time. Patents are also granted by the USPTO and are in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.
If you have questions regarding your business, contact Melody at Cobbe Law.