Posts Tagged ‘trademark’

The “How-To” and “Why?” of Filing a Trademark Made Easy(ier)

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

December 28, 2011

Lightbulb key on keyboard

I do not recommend that lay persons attempt to register their own trademark without consulting an intellectual property attorney. But I love that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO” or “PTO”) has made its Web site more lay person-friendly and easily navigable so that the average person can better understand the process, timing and requirements of trademark filings.

The PTO consists of two separate agencies, the Patent Office that handles inventions and the Trademark Office that handles the registration of words, phrases and designs that function to identify a specific manufacturer/provider of a particular good or service. The Copyright Office, which registers and maintains copyrights of original literary and artistic works (books, music, artwork, for example), is administered separately, FYI.

As you may know, (more…)

How is trademark different from copyright?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

A trademark protects a word, phrase, symbol, or device – the mark – used in commerce to identify and distinguish one product from another. Each state has its own state laws to protect commerce within the state. And the Lanham Act provides protection across the country. Unregistered marks are also protected under state and federal case law.

A service mark protects (more…)

Copyright for Writers on the Internet

Monday, May 16th, 2011

[Excerpt from Chapter 13 of Copyright Companion for Writers © 2007 Tonya M. Evans. This excerpt may be “shared socially” and republished provided this post is copied in its entirety and copyright information is included for attribution]

Revisions and Updates

Problems of registration emerge when a Web site is updated frequently. The question arises as to whether it is necessary to register the site after each update. For individual works the answer, technically, is yes because there is no comprehensive registration to cover revisions published on different dates. Therefore, each daily update would have to be registered separately. As an attorney, I recommend that you do register each update to be fully protected. I recognize, however, that this would require much work, and I acknowledge that most people don’t follow this practice because they find it to be impractical. If you are like most people, then I suggest that you make it a practice to register your Web site every three months. If you do that, then you will be entitled to statutory damages and attorney fees if you ever have to sue someone for infringement. A different rule governs automated databases and serials because they qualify to use blanket registration (see below).

E-Newsletters and Other E-Serials

Electronic versions of newsletters and serials are also protected by copyright and can be registered with the Copyright Office in a single registration covering multiple issues published on different dates. Group registration is available for works published weekly or less often (serials) and for newsletters published daily or more often than weekly, including those published online. The requirements vary, depending on the type of work. See Copyright Office Circular 62 for more information on serials. Note that group registration is available only for collective works, such as a collection of articles or an anthology, and not for electronic journals published one article at a time.


The rules of copyright also apply to posts on blogs – both the blog owner’s posts and comments by visitors. The owner holds the copyright to the post, and visitors own the copyright to their comments. There seems to be at least some implied license granted by a commenter to the blog owner to display the comment, but it is not clear how far that implied license reaches. But this implied license does not work the other way; nonetheless, reports from blog owners about rampant cut-and-paste infringement from their blogs for unauthorized posting to other blogs are far too common, and present a troubling development in the blogosphere.

To protect your blog and yourself from potential infringement claims from bloggers, always post your copyright information and instructions on how bloggers can use your posts, if at all. At a minimum, require that the post be copied in full and that it keep your copyright information intact. You may also want to ask for a link back to your Web site or blog. Of course, you should also consider registering blog posts; if your blog is a regular series (i.e., serial), then follow the registration guidelines for e-serials.

Need more information?

Description: Through clear and concise explanations and dozens of useful forms, this manual debunks myths such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright” (aka the “mail-the-manuscript-to-yourself” theory of protecting copyright) and examines the difference between fair use and public domain, the definition of infringement and how to avoid it, how a writer may assert a claim, and how to obtain permissions to use copyrighted works such as song lyrics, pictures, and quotes. Also included in this edition is a chapter on Freelancers rights.




Copyright Companion for Writers ($22.95)

Contracts Companion for Writers ($19.95)

Literary Law Guide for Authors: Copyright, Trademark and Contracts in Plain Language ($22.95)

ALL FOR ONLY $44.95 (+ S/H)

The Name Game: Copyright, Trademark, or Patent?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

[Excerpt from Copyright Companion for Writers]

© 2011 Tonya M. Evans. Limited license to link, forward and re-post; provided this post is transmitted in its entirety with proper attribution and link to

What you don’t know about intellectual property ownership can jeopardize your rights and potentially expose you to legal liability. So let’s take a closer look at the differences between the various types of intellectual property.

Copyright: A copyright protects an author’s original artistic or literary work, whether published or unpublished. Under copyright law, the term “author” has a special meaning: the creator of an original literary or artistic work. Thus, the word “author” includes not only writers but photographers, singers, painters, sculptors – anyone who creates a literary or artistic work. Examples of literary and artistic works include manuscripts, book covers, song lyrics, sheet music, musical scores, paintings, sketches, sound recordings (music), films, and photographs. And those lists are not all-inclusive.

Trademark: A trademark protects a word, phrase, symbol, or device – the mark – used in business (referred to in the law as commerce) to identify and distinguish one product from another. For example, Jump at the Sun® is a registered trademark for children’s fiction and nonfiction books in the fields of history, sports, the arts, spirituality, musicians, biography, friendship, family, poetry, and school.

Service Mark: A service mark protects a word, phrase, symbol, or device – again, the mark – used in business to identify and distinguish one service from another. For example, Lightning Source® is a registered service mark for wholesale distributorship services in the field of on-demand printing and electronic media.

Patent: The patent is probably the least used intellectual property in the publishing industry. A patent protects an invention by granting the inventor the right to exclude others from producing or using the inventor’s discovery or invention for a specific period of time. Some examples of patentable inventions include the talking book, an e-book reader, a typewriter, and an Internet-based system and method for highlighting search results such as that used by Google. Not all intellectual property lawyers practice patent law because a patent practice requires that attorneys have a science degree and take an additional bar examination; patent attorneys usually have some background in technology or engineering.

More information about the legal matters that matter to writers!