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Should I file a Trademark or a Copyright application?

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

Both trademarks and copyrights are forms of intellectual property.

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. The benefit of registering your trademark is that it protects against the federal registration of identical marks and confusingly similar marks with related goods or services, provides nationwide ownership of the mark, grants you the right to use the trademark symbol, proof of your valid and exclusive ownership of the mark, and strengthens cease and desist letter when others use your mark.

Examples of content that may be trademarked:

o Business name

o Business logo

o T-shirt brand

o Signature event title

o Stage name

o Blog title

o Podcast title

o Slogan/Tagline

TIP: a fanciful mark (terms that have been invented for the sole purpose of functioning as a trademark) or arbitrary mark (mark is a word or symbol that has nothing to do with the products/services being offered) will receive greater protection. Example: Pepsi (made up word) is an example of a fanciful mark, and Apple (an apple has nothing to do with computers, phones, etc.) is an example of an arbitrary mark.

A copyright is original artistic, literary or intellectually created work that is fixed in a tangible medium such as paper, canvas, film or a digital format. Copyright protection grants you the exclusive right to reproduce the work in copies, create derivative works based upon the original work, distribute copies of the work to the public, perform the work publicly, and display the work publicly.

Examples of content that may be protected by copyright:

o Music

o Lyrics

o Graphics

o Videos

o Photos

o Website content

o Podcast recordings

o Presentations

o Webinars

TIP: Whoever creates it, owns it! If your logo (or any other content) was created by someone else, you can obtain ownership of the logo through a copyright assignment agreement that will transfer ownership rights from the original creator to you.

It is important to protect your brand and your content as you build your business. Now that you know which content can be trademarked and which content may be protected by copyright, think about your business name, logo, content, photos, graphics, podcast recordings and ask yourself if you want to protect what you’ve created. Trademarks and copyrights are also company assets that can add value to your business! Let’s make sure that no one else can swoop in and profit from your hard work!


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