Copyright and Trademark in the USA – How to Protect Your Work?
The 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy, published by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), emphasized the fast-growing market aiding in significant trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. What does that mean to you? As a creator or inventor of original works, ideas, or creative expressions, it is essential to ensure optimum protection through copyright and trademark in the USA – particularly in a scenario where the production of pirated and counterfeit products is becoming increasingly prominent. And not just physical products. Fast-paced IT advancements have made distributing and copying of protected digital materials simpler than ever before.
Therefore, understanding the importance of safeguarding your original work is critical. Here’s how to protect your work, idea, or creative expression with powerful tools like copyright and trademark.
Copyright and Trademark in the USA – An Overview
The U.S. law extends protection to the authors/creators of “original works of authorship,” including musical, dramatic, artistic, and literary works such as movies, poetry, songs, architecture, or computer software. This form of intellectual property protection is called Copyright. However, the work needs to be expressed in a tangible medium, including both unpublished and published works, to be covered under U.S. Copyright. Hence, the importance of copyright and trademark in the USA cannot be undermined.
It is important to understand that copyright does not protect ideas, methods of operation, systems, or facts, unless until these are expressed in tangible medium. Know what works are not protected under U.S. Copyright and what are your rights as a copyright holder.
Although Copyright comes into practice from the moment the work of authorship is created, it is important to get Copyright Registration. The purpose of registering a work officially helps get it to the public record and avail a certificate of registration. This will protect the work legally and help file a lawsuit in case of infringement. All registered works, with Copyrights, are potentially eligible for statutory damages in the event of successful litigation.
The U.S. Constitution also extends another form of intellectual property protection – trademark – that comprises a recognizable expression, design, or sign, which distinguishes one product or service from a particular source from another. As defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, “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. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods.”
Brand names, logos, and slogans, and designs are some examples of trademark protection. But unlike copyrights and patents, a trademark does not expire after a certain time period. Registering a trademark is not mandatory, but has several advantages. With U.S. trademark registration, one can claim ownership of a mark or brand name nationwide, and also possess the right to use it exclusively in relation to products and services set forth during the registration process.
So, if you are confused about copyright and trademark in the USA, then the below chart will help you differentiate and understand better.
Includes musical, literary, artistic, and dramatic works
Includes business/product names, slogans, and logos
Protect Your Work of Art or Authorship (©)
Register a Business Name, Sign, Mark, or Logo (™)
Safeguards original works of authorship
Legal conjecture of ownership of the brand name or logo nationwide
File lawsuit for copyright infringement if an entity violates the same
Notify or claim ownership of the mark
You can publicly record your work of authorship
You have exclusive authority to use the mark/name
Protecting USA’s Ideas, Creative Expressions, and Businesses
The USA boasts positive intellectual energy that enables the nation to leverage creativity and innovation. From popular music and movies to original research, brand ideas, and more – the country always keeps high on the imaginative spirit. Therefore, protecting a creative and original work of art or business idea should be the foremost priority. Get professional services for copyright and trademark in the USA and protect your ideas, creativity, and originality from infringement and piracy.
An expert can guide you to understand the importance of protecting your work, registering for a copyright or trademark, and the rights you own. This ensures improved satisfaction as an artist, author, or business leader.
Liberty Business Team Is Ready to Help You!
To start and run your business in the USA, you need a lot of documentation to be prepared. When applying for a U.S permanent worker visa or any visa, we can help you. You cannot be an expert in every subject you need. An expert consulting firm you can trust will save you time and money. For your U.S. trademark registration, our business consulting team can help you avoid any possible problem.
Comprised of experienced business attorneys, marketing experts, and business advisors, Liberty Business has the answers to any questions or needs a blossoming business may have.