Talk copyright trademarkfinalversion md sm biz

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Talk copyright trademarkfinalversion md sm biz

  1. 1. Intellectual Property Basics for Copyright, Trademark, Trade Secrets & Licenses Presented by Barbara I. Berschler, Esquire For Maryland Small Business Development Copyright Berschler 2007-2010
  2. 2. What Is Copyright? <ul><li>Exclusive rights granted by law to the creator (“author”) of a copyrighted work for a limited period of time. </li></ul><ul><li>Exclusive rights are to: reproduce, make derivative works, distribute, perform, display and transmit (sound recordings). </li></ul>
  3. 3. How Did Copyright Law Come to Be? <ul><li>English Law in 18 th Century </li></ul><ul><li>Founders included in U.S. Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 8, Cl. 8) </li></ul><ul><li>1976 Copyright Act, as amended </li></ul>
  4. 4. How Is Copyright Created and Protected? <ul><li>In the U.S., copyright protection automatically attaches once a work is fixed in any tangible medium of expression provided the work meets certain minimum standards . </li></ul>
  5. 5. What Kinds of Works Can Be Protected by Copyright? <ul><li>Literary works </li></ul><ul><li>Musical works </li></ul><ul><li>Dramatic works </li></ul><ul><li>Pantomimes and choreographic works </li></ul><ul><li>Pictorial, graphic and sculptural works </li></ul><ul><li>Motion picture & audiovisual works </li></ul><ul><li>Sound recordings </li></ul><ul><li>Architectural works </li></ul>
  6. 6. What Kinds of Works Are Not Protected by Copyright? <ul><li>Ideas, procedures, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles or discoveries (look to patents & trade secrets for protection). </li></ul><ul><li>Works in the Public Domain (expired copyrighted works, certain federal government works). </li></ul>
  7. 7. What Kind of Intellectual Material Is Protected by Copyright? <ul><li>Expression of the idea, not the idea itself. </li></ul><ul><li>Work that is original to the author. </li></ul><ul><li>In the work’s development there was a minimum level of creativity involved. </li></ul>
  8. 8. How Long Does Copyright Last? <ul><li>For individuals: life of the author plus 70 years. </li></ul><ul><li>For entities: 95 years from publication. </li></ul>
  9. 9. What Is a “Work Made for Hire?” <ul><li>Work created by an employee in scope of employment. </li></ul><ul><li>Specially commissioned work that falls within one of nine categories: contribution to a collective work, motion picture, translation, supplementary work, compilation, instructional text, test, answers to test, atlas. </li></ul>
  10. 10. How Does a Non-Creator Come to Own the Copyright? <ul><li>If an employee creates it. Employer owns. </li></ul><ul><li>If it is a “work made for hire” and you have a prior written agreement to that effect. </li></ul><ul><li>If it is another kind of creative work and you have a prior written assignment of the copyright from the creator. </li></ul><ul><li>By inheritance. </li></ul>
  11. 11. What Is Copyright Notice and Why Do It? <ul><li>Easier to prove willful infringement </li></ul><ul><li>May deter potential infringers </li></ul><ul><li>Place copyright notice on the 1 st published edition </li></ul><ul><li>Notice has 3 elements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Copyright symbol </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Owner’s name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Year of publication </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Why Register a Copyrighted Work with the Copyright Office? <ul><li>Registration is not required to obtain copyright protection. </li></ul><ul><li>Registration in the U.S. accords benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot file a lawsuit to enforce without it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Certain proofs easier to make </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statutory damages may be available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attorney fees may be available </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. What If More Than One Person Is Involved In Creating The Work? <ul><li>To avoid problems, have a written agreement as to who will do what and stating it is intention of parties that it is a “joint work.” </li></ul><ul><li>If there is no written agreement, the law gives owners certain rights (undivided interest, exercise of exclusive rights, accounting for profits). </li></ul>
  14. 14. How Can You Make Money From Your Copyrighted Work? <ul><li>License its use to others (partial or exclusive) </li></ul><ul><li>Obtain royalties </li></ul><ul><li>Sell all rights in the copyright (assignments) </li></ul>
  15. 15. What Is Copyright Infringement? <ul><li>Someone other than the copyright owner exercising one of the exclusive rights without the permission of the owner. </li></ul>
  16. 16. What Steps To Take Against An Infringer? <ul><li>Send “cease and desist letter” </li></ul><ul><li>Demand payment of licensing fee </li></ul><ul><li>Institute a lawsuit to obtain: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Injunction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actual Damages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statutory Damages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attorney Fees </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. What If You Are Accused of Copyright Infringement? <ul><li>There may be “technical” defenses available. </li></ul><ul><li>An important defense may be “Fair Use” such as for: criticism, news, comment, teaching, scholarship, research. </li></ul><ul><li>Try negotiating a settlement by paying licensing fee. </li></ul>
  18. 18. What Is A Trademark Or Service Mark? <ul><li>A mark (word, design, sound) that indicates to the public the source of the goods or services being offered. </li></ul><ul><li>The mark must always be used in conjunction with the existing business or enterprise. </li></ul>
  19. 19. What Is A Trademark Or Service Mark? <ul><li>A mark (word, design, sound) that indicates to the public the source of the goods or services being offered. </li></ul><ul><li>The mark must always be used in conjunction with the existing business or enterprise. </li></ul>
  20. 20. What Are the Purposes of Trademarks? <ul><li>Public not confused as to source of goods or services. </li></ul><ul><li>Business distinguishes itself from its competitors. </li></ul><ul><li>Prevent others from taking a “free ride” on your good will. </li></ul>
  21. 21. What Do You Get When You Have A Trademark? <ul><li>Exclusive right to use it with your goods or services </li></ul><ul><li>Valuable business asset (form of property) </li></ul><ul><li>Can be bought, sold, licensed </li></ul>
  22. 22. What Is The Legal Basis For Trademarks? <ul><li>In ancient times, cattle branding, craftsman marks </li></ul><ul><li>Mid- 1800’s, English and U.S. courts recognized claims against “passing off” (fraud) </li></ul><ul><li>20 th century courts concerned with preventing consumer confusion </li></ul><ul><li>1870 Congress passed 1 st trademark registration law </li></ul><ul><li>1946 Congress passed Lanham Act </li></ul>
  23. 23. What Is the Difference Between Federal and State Trademark Law? <ul><li>Trademark protection grew out of the “common law” (court decisions). </li></ul><ul><li>Some states do allow for registration (VA and MD yes; DC no). </li></ul><ul><li>Federal Registration is principally under the Lanham Act. </li></ul><ul><li>Federal protection only for marks used in interstate commerce. </li></ul>
  24. 24. What Can Be a Trademark? <ul><li>Words Staples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Series of letters CBS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Series of numbers model number </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Logos </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Picture Sunmaid’s girl </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design Burberry’s plaid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Symbol Nike’s swooch </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sound NBC chimes </li></ul><ul><li>Name Dell </li></ul><ul><li>Nickname VW’s Beetle </li></ul><ul><li>Color Pink for insulation </li></ul><ul><li>Trade Dress Franchised Restaurant Theme </li></ul>
  25. 25. Strong vs. Weak Marks <ul><li>Strong marks are considered to be inherently distinctive , automatically public knows it is referring to a source. </li></ul><ul><li>Weak marks tend to be descriptive, not clear to public whether it is simply describing the goods or services or indicating source. </li></ul><ul><li>Generic terms cannot be trademarks, they ID the “thing” (aspirin, thermos, escalator). </li></ul>
  26. 26. How to Come Up With a Strong Mark? <ul><li>Made up words: Xerox, Kodak, Amtrak </li></ul><ul><li>Fanciful/Arbitrary: Apple computer, Penguin books </li></ul><ul><li>Suggestive: Joy detergent/perfume, Ivory soap, Hard Rock Café </li></ul><ul><li>Designs: Nike’s swoosh </li></ul>
  27. 27. What Steps to Take Before You Adopt a Mark? <ul><li>Search to find possible conflicting marks </li></ul><ul><li>Hire professional searcher who will check for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Existing marks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cancelled marks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Applied for marks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common law marks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State registrations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Copyrights </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. What Is Involved With Applying For Federal Registration? <ul><li>Conduct search before you file </li></ul><ul><li>Specify the goods or services being offered </li></ul><ul><li>Identify what international class(es) applies </li></ul><ul><li>Indicate “first use” and “first use in commerce” </li></ul><ul><li>Identify owner </li></ul><ul><li>Provide drawing </li></ul><ul><li>Provide filing fee ($325.00 per international class) </li></ul>
  29. 29. What If You Have Not Used Mark In Interstate Commerce? <ul><li>You can file an “intent to use” application. </li></ul><ul><li>This reserves the important filing date. </li></ul><ul><li>When you do start to use the mark in interstate commerce, you file a Statement of Use. </li></ul>
  30. 30. How Long Does Federal Trademark Registration Last? <ul><li>10 years and is renewable indefinitely provided mark is continuously used. </li></ul><ul><li>Failure timely to renew and pay fee can lead to abandonment of mark. </li></ul>
  31. 31. What Must You Do To Protect Your Mark? <ul><li>Continuously use it in connection with goods or services. </li></ul><ul><li>Police the use of your mark. </li></ul><ul><li>If licensing, monitor its use by others. </li></ul><ul><li>Address infringements. </li></ul><ul><li>Comply with the USPTO requirements. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Under What Circumstances Could You Be Liable for Infringement? <ul><li>Adopting a confusingly similar mark to that owned by another. </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporating another’s mark into your mark. </li></ul><ul><li>Displaying another’s mark without their permission. </li></ul>
  33. 33. What Is a Trade Secret? <ul><li>It is any valuable information that you have accumulated, discovered, developed, or generated in connection with the operation of your business that is not generally known; and </li></ul><ul><li>For which you take reasonable steps to preserve the secrecy. </li></ul>
  34. 34. What Are Some Examples of Trade Secrets? <ul><li>Customer and supplier lists </li></ul><ul><li>Business and marketing plans </li></ul><ul><li>Software developed for you </li></ul><ul><li>Internal procedures you have developed </li></ul><ul><li>Techniques and systems </li></ul>
  35. 35. Is There Any Time Limit On Trade Secrets? <ul><li>No. </li></ul><ul><li>As long as you can “keep” the secret, then it continues to exist. </li></ul><ul><li>Think of the formula for Coca-Cola. </li></ul>
  36. 36. What Must You Do to Protect the Trade Secret? <ul><li>Some measures you can take: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify what is the trade secret you want to protect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stamp documents “confidential” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have employees and consultants sign confidentiality agreements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lock away sensitive materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect computers with firewalls & passwords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow access only to those “who need to know” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faithfully and strictly enforce your procedures </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Is There a Law for Trade Secrets? <ul><li>Many states, including Maryland and Virginia, and the District of Columbia have adopted some form of the Uniform Act. </li></ul><ul><li>Courts have also influenced how the law developed. </li></ul>
  38. 38. What If Someone Misappropriates Your Trade Secret? <ul><li>“ Misappropriate” means someone acquired the trade secret of another improperly; or disclosed or used it without permission. </li></ul><ul><li>You can seek injunctive relief, damages for actual loss and unjust enrichment, or imposition of a reasonable royalty, exemplary damages if there was willful and malicious misappropriation. </li></ul><ul><li>Attorney fees possible—but be careful, this could go the other way. </li></ul>
  39. 39. Is There a Time Limit For Misappropriations? <ul><li>Yes, you must bring your lawsuit within 3 years after you discovered the misappropriation or by the exercise of reasonable diligence it was discovered. </li></ul>
  40. 40. How Do Non-Disclosure Agreements Work? <ul><li>As part of your efforts to protect trade secrets, you want to have all who will come in contact under a legal obligation not to disclose or use the trade secret without your permission. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, some non-disclosure obligation should be incorporated in agreements with potential buyer/sellers, contractors, consultants, employees likely to have access. </li></ul><ul><li>Such agreements must be carefully drafted not to be overly broad or else they may not be enforceable. </li></ul>
  41. 41. Contact Information <ul><li>Barbara I. Berschler </li></ul><ul><li>Press, Potter & Dozier, LLC </li></ul><ul><li>7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1350 </li></ul><ul><li>Bethesda, MD 20814 </li></ul><ul><li>301-913-5200 </li></ul><ul><li>www.berschlerlaw.com </li></ul>

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