Helpful Hints for Filing Trademarks and Copyrights

When is a trademark or copyright needed?

Even if you are just getting started in a new business or just have completed a work of writing, coding, art, or music, it is best to learn how to protect your rights early. Collard & Roe, P.C. will guide you to consider various options for gaining the most cost-effective protection.  

First, you should understand the difference between trademarks and copyrights. Trademarks are images, phrases or other designs that identify a business. Copyrights are used to protect the output of artists, authors, musicians, filmmakers, software creators, photographers, architects and others who create material based on their intellectual or artistic ability. If you have written a cookbook and wish to sell it without someone stealing your ideas, you should consult a copyright attorney. If the cookbook is so successful that you open a restaurant using the accomplished name of the cookbook and create a logo to identify it the way that McDonald’s has its “golden arches,” that logo and name should be trademarked.

What is needed to file for trademark protection?

Collard & Roe, P.C. can evaluate the merits of your application and prepare the information necessary for filing the trademark using the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). We can conduct a search to identify if your business name and logo are unique. As part of the filing, you must show examples of how the trademark is being used in commerce.  We can assist you in preparing these examples so that they meet the USPTO’s requirements. If a problem arises because the trademark you seek is too close to that of a similar business or violates the content standards set forth by the USPTO, we will advise you on ways to revise your application.

How long are trademarks valid and how does renewal work?

Whether registered federally or with the New York Department of State, you must continue to use the trademark in order to maintain exclusive rights to it. You must also submit maintenance documents after five years to demonstrate to the USPTO that the trademark is still being utilized for commercial purposes or that there is an acceptable reason why the trademark is no longer in use. These filings often include examples of the products or advertisements that employ the trademark to substantiate the use of the mark.

Call the attorneys at Collard & Roe, P.C. at 516-365-9802 or contact us online to schedule a consultation regarding trademarks and copyrights.