If you are getting ready to start your business, launch a product, or make a short film, you need to be aware of what kind of legal protection is available for your assets. There are differences between trademarks, copyrights, and patents that the average person may not be aware of. Unfortunately, not knowing the law is not a valid excuse in court that can protect you. By understanding the difference between these three legal terms, you'll know how to protect your intellectual property.
Trademarks can be symbols, words, images, or any combination of these things, that distinguishes your company from the competition. It is your identity, your brand, and how people recognize you. Since these things need to be recognizable for consumers to identify your brand over others, trademarks are used to protect physical products.
Do not confuse trademarks for service marks, though, since they are two different things. Service marks should be used to protect something that is a service instead of a physical product, such as a lawn service company. Service marks can be placed on service vehicles or advertising.
Patents are not as simple as slapping on a symbol to get the protection you need. There is a formal process that products and inventions must go through that identifies your idea as unique and protectable. You must fill out a lengthy application describing what your idea is, which is then compared to existing applications to see if somebody has beat you to it. If not, you will be awarded a patent to protect your idea.
Copyrights are designed to protect any type of original art you create, which includes music, books, and video. Copyrights do not protect ideas, processes, devices, titles, names, slogans, or work that is not in a form that is tangible.
Thankfully, there is not anything special you need to do to receive a copyright if your work is original. The laws changed in 1989, and you are no longer required to put the copyright symbol on your completed work. Having proof of the creation of your work is good enough. You can still register your work with the US Copyright Office to create an official public record if you wish.
Navigating trademark, patent, and copyright laws can still be very confusing if you are new to it. Do not be afraid to work with a lawyer that can evaluate your specific situation and give you legal advice. A lawyer, like the ones at Metropolitan Lawyer Referral Service Inc, is vital if you wish to file a patent due to the extensive process involves, and can do research to make sure that your copyright and trademark requests do not conflict with ones that are already out there.
After being involved in a serious auto accident with a drunk driver, I struggled heavily with getting the driver's insurance company to open a claim. When the insurance company started pushing back, I knew I needed to do something. I spent a lot of time digging through the laws surrounding auto accident claims so that I knew what my legal rights were. I even talked with an auto accident attorney. I created this site to teach others about what I learned, including my court experience. I hope it helps you to determine how you should proceed with your auto accident case.