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Protecting Your Brand: Trademarks, Copyrights and the Internet

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Deborah Sweeney, intellectual property attorney and CEO of MyCorporation, covers the basic of trademark and copyright law and explains how small business owners can us intellectual property claims to …

Deborah Sweeney, intellectual property attorney and CEO of MyCorporation, covers the basic of trademark and copyright law and explains how small business owners can us intellectual property claims to help protect their brand in the age of the internet.

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  • 1. Protecting Your Brand: Trademarks, Copyrights & the Internet March 2013 © MyCorporation 2013
  • 2. Overview of Trademarks & Copyrights • A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods. • Trademarks, copyrights and patents all differ. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work; a patent protects an invention.
  • 3. Trademarks and the Internet • Why would a business need a trademark? – Protecting the identity of the business on the web. – Preventing use by infringers or third parties. – Claiming nation-wide use of the logo or phrase • Trademarks are the life of a business – without them, customers cannot identify their products or services with a particular provider. – Think of:
  • 4. Trademarks and the Internet • What are the benefits of searching before application and registration? – A trademark search is critically important to ensure the availability of the name before it is used. – Make sure you are not infringing on a third party. – Ensure no investment in marketing until you are the mark holder. • Is a business name the same as a trademark? – A business can use its name and its trademark interchangeably, but many times the two are different.
  • 5. Trademarks for Business Owners • What are the benefits of federal registration? – Nationwide protection, right to bring legal actions, on the Internet, your brand is king. • What are the types of tm apps? – Intent-to-use – In-use • What is the process? – Applying does not mean it’s registered…Trademarking takes time… • Is a mark registered once it is filed?
  • 6. Copyrights & the Internet • Protect your copyrightable content – Copyright protection is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, architectural and certain other intellectual works. – Register your copyright before an infringement so that you can get attorneys' fees and statutory damages from an infringer. • • • Many times it is difficult or impossible to prove substantial monetary damages when content on a website is infringed. The advantage of having the right to claim statutory damages is that there is no need to prove lost profits or the infringer's profits because the court has the discretion to award statutory damages to the infringer of up to $30,000 for each copyrighted work infringed. If the infringement was willful, the court can award statutory damages up to $150,000. • The unique underlying design of a Web page and its contents, including: – Links, original text, graphics, audio, video; – websites compiled by an individual or corporation; – unique elements that make up original nature of the material.
  • 7. Benefits to Copyright Registration for Business Owners • United States copyright law provides the following valuable benefits to web sites that register their copyrights: – By registering your copyright, you create a public record of your work and your copyright claim. – If somebody infringes on your web site copyright, you may sue for copyright infringement. Copyright registration is a prerequisite for filing an infringement claim in federal court with respect to works that originate in the United States. If you want to sue an infringer and you have not registered your web site, it will take four months or more after receiving your registration application before the U.S. Copyright Office issues a Certificate of Registration. – If you register your web site copyright before or within 5 years of publication, the registration is prima facie evidence in court as to the validity of your web site copyright and of the facts stated in your U.S. Copyright Office registration certificate. – If you register your web site copyright within three months after publishing it or before an infringement occurs, you may seek statutory damages and attorney's fees in an infringement lawsuit. For web sites that are not registered timely, the infringer is only liable for your actual damages and the infringer's profits. – If you registered your web site copyright, you may record the registration with the U. S. Customs Service and obtain its help in protecting against the importation of infringing copies.
  • 8. Q&A QUESTIONS? ?

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