Current Trends in Copyright, Trademark and Entertainment Law

July 7th, 2014

The digital era has introduced us to convenience, instant communication, instant information and unlimited databases for research.  Along with digital information comes the growing need for ways to protect it.  Our Copyright, Trademark and Entertainment Laws must be improved to protect against copyright infringement in the digital age.

What’s Happening?

In 2013, approximately $9.7 billion worth of software was pirated in the United States.  While copyrighting software has been Copyright Trademark Entertainment Law Trendspracticed for decades, the means to illegally replicate and distribute it has grown tremendously.  Finding ways to protect software developers and their products is imperative to keeping their companies running.  Similar issues are occuring in digital fields such as databases and digital media.  Today’s technology allows for easy, cheap and instantaneous file sharing.  Twitter, for example, averages over 9000 tweets per second globally.  It literally takes seconds for an original document or file to become globally accessible.  As these changes and technological advances occur, there is a growing need to update copyright laws and practices.

What Is Being Done?

The U.S. government is reviewing the current state of affairs and considering steps needed to update the relevant copyright, trademark and entertainment laws.  There is a recognized need to improve these rules to protect developers and distributors.  Database rights are also being reviewed.  Databases fall outside the protections of the U.S. Copyright Law because a database is not a creative work.  Regulation has been encouraged to govern the use of this factual information. Exclusive rights to digital media rights are also being reviewed for improvements.   Social media has exploded in recent years and the sharing of files is possibly one of the most common features of these social media websites.  Photographs, written documents, music and videos are passed around the internet millions of times each day, every day of the year.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was implemented in 1998 to protect the owners of creative works in the digital world.  However, technology has continued to advance and evolve faster than the copyright laws can adapt.

Present and Future

Databases, digital media, software and internet technology are part of our daily lives.  While many people give little thought to how information is received, there are specific rules governing the ownership and transfer of data and materials. There is a growing need to focus on updating the laws that protect the owners and creators of creative works and information.  The digital revolution presents new challenges for the current copyright, trademark and entertainment laws.  Changes must be made to ensure that artists, creators, distributors and owners are able to produce, protect and profit from their material under the protection of the appropriate laws.

At Creative Law Network, we help you make sense of all of these legal issues and changes.  If your work is available online, talk to us about ways to protect both yourself and your work.  We will help you understand the law and use it to your advantage.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional Trademark Attorney

March 28th, 2014

Many people look to start their own business, but starting a business raises many questions, including those regarding trademarks. For anyone looking to establish a trademark it is important to take the proper steps to ensure the trademark will be valid and protected. A trademark attorney can help you take the necessary steps to ensure you choose the right trademark and that your trademark is registered so that it is protected.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a name, tagline, design, logo, or symbol associated with a particular business, product, or service. Trademarks are important to help distinguish and protect a business and its brand. Trademarks help consumers distinguish one product or service from another.

Deciding What to Trademark

Your trademark may be the name of your company or it may be the name of the product or service your company offers. Your trademark may just be words (known as a “word mark”) or may include a stylized design like a logo, symbol, or insignia. Your trademark should convey your message to your clients and customers. You can choose your trademark to convey the message you choose for your business. However, it is very important to also choose a trademark that can be protected and that is not likely to infringe others trademark.

Checking a Trademark

When deciding on a business name it is important to choose something that stands out and that people can remember, but it is also important to choose something that is unique and unlike other competing businesses, products, or services. This is particularly important when you view your business name as your trademark. You don’t want your trademark to be similar to any other competing trademark. If one trademark is too similar to another trademark, the first trademark may be infringing upon the second. To avoid infringement, check to make sure there are no other businesses, products, or services that might be confused with your possible trademark. Checking a trademark is an important step to ensure there is no likelihood of confusion between any two trademarks.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) maintains a database where you can search for registered trademarks and pending trademarks. However, searching the USPTO database takes special skill and an in-depth understanding of the specifics of trademark law. It is best to hire a trademark attorney to conduct a trademark search.

Registering a Trademark

Choosing to register a trademark is a daunting task to handle alone, which is why it is important to hire an attorney who specializes in trademarks. An attorney can conduct an in-depth search to ensure the trademark is not likely to be confused with another existing trademark. An attorney can prepare and file the necessary documents to properly register a trademark. An attorney can also offer advice on the best strategy to protect a trademark.

Starting a new business and registering a trademark can be complicated, so using the service of a professional trademark attorney is the best advice.  For more information about how to protect your trademark, or for information on how to prepare your trademark application, contact us at Creative Law Network today.

Basic Facts about Trademarks and What Every Small Business Should Know Now

March 28th, 2014

Here at Creative Law Network, we know that your trademark is one of your business’ most valuable assets.  It is your brand, the face of your business and the icon with which your clients will connect.  While it may seem small and is often overlooked, it is important to ensure that your trademarks are protected properly.

What is a business trademark?

A trademark is a recognizabletrademarks word or words, image, design, symbol, or expression which identifies a product or service as belonging to a specific business or organization, distinct from the other products and services offered by other businesses and organizations.  Your trademark may be your name, logo, or tagline.  Trademarks can consist of words, symbols, patterns, designs, slogans, catch phrases or expressions, icons, and even sounds—like jingles.  Trademarks are intellectual property and can be owned by an individual or a business.  Trademarks can be located on a package, a label, a flyer, or a business card, and can be displayed anywhere you might see a business or brand name.

What are trademarks used for?

In general, trademarks are used for identification, allowing clients and customers to associate particular products or services with the business that manufactures or offers them; however, trademarks also serve a much more significant legal function.  By using a trademark to mark any product or service, a business is claiming exclusive rights to use that trademark — which means that if another business or individual attempts to use or copy that particular trademark, it may be an infringement of that trademark.  The most effective way to claim rights to a trademark is to register that trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Trademark registration can be a complex process. Although engaging a lawyer to register a trademark is not required, it is strongly recommended.

How can you tell is something is trademark protected?

Trademarks are designated by distinct symbols that indicate of the level of protection a trademark enjoys. These symbols include:

• The ‘trademark symbol,’ ™ indicates an unregistered trademark. This indicates a trademark enjoys “common law” rights;
• An unregistered ‘service mark,’ ℠ is used to identify a service; and
• The trademark ® indicates that it has been granted registration by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Where did trademarks come from?

One of the first uses of trademark symbols dates back to the Roman Empire, where blacksmiths would often mark the swords they made with a symbol identifying the sword’s maker.  In 1266, King Henry III passed the first trademark legislation under the Parliament of England requiring all bakers to use distinctive trademarks on the bread they sold.

Why are trademarks so important?

Your business’ trademark is one of its most important assets.  It ensures that your potential clients and customers know your name, your company, your products, your services, and your brand.  It is the recognizable icon of your business, and it promotes and advertises your business as effectively as that persistent jingle that always gets stuck in your head.  However, simply having a recognizable name or symbol for your business is not enough.  Your trademark needs to be registered to ensure that both it and your business remain protected from instances of infringement, piracy, and misrepresentation.  For more information about how to protect your trademark, or for information on how to prepare your trademark application, contact us at Creative Law Network today.

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