Trademark, Copyright, Patents

by HeySal
10 replies
I'm finding the amount of people on here that post questions about copyrights and trademarks absolutely astonishing. The people that violate the rules then cry when caught are NOT doing themselves any favors and aren't going to get sympathy for violations just because they "didn't know better".

If you are building a business it is your JOB to know better. Just because you are online doesn't mean you don't have to operate like a professional - and professionals learn what they are doing BEFORE they do it.

If you do not understand the concepts of Copyright, Trademark, or Patent - for cripes sakes GO READ THE RULES. If you couldn't find where on your own -- here it is for you all set up in links.

Untited States Patent and Trademark Office United States Patent and Trademark Office
United States Copyright Office U.S. Copyright Office

If there is something you don't understand in those sites and you have a question there is absolutely no shame in coming in and asking if someone can clarify something for you. NOBODY will fault you for taking steps to be responsible and trustworthy.

Coming in here and whining because you got caught stealing or in complete ignorance of how copyright and trademarks work because you didn't even LOOK IT UP FIRST should be something that you should be too ashamed to do if you want to be considered a competent, responsible business person.

If you want to be a "pretend" business owner, do it with your pals at home -- when you land here you should have the mentality that you are prepared to be the real thing or are in the process of preparing yourself to be the real thing. Hard love - if it's too much for you, you really do need a boss who directs your actions for you.
#copyright #patents #trademark
  • Profile picture of the author BizBoost
    Hey Sal,

    Thanks for posting this. What a coincidence, too, because I was literally just going to see how to TRADEMARK a phrase for a technique/method I've developed. I'll check that site you linked but if you have any specific thoughts on the matter, I'd love to hear them.

    Best wishes, and thanks,
    Eric
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

    If you are building a business it is your JOB to know better.
    One further: if you are teaching others how to build a business, it is your JOB to give them these links and a cursory explanation of why they need to know this.

    There is a special place in hell for those who grin like morons and say "USE EXACT MATCH BRANDS IN YOUR DOMAIN NAMES" to their customers. You know who you are.

    Originally Posted by BizBoost View Post

    I was literally just going to see how to TRADEMARK a phrase
    In a nutshell, I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, do go check out the official word on the matter, but this is basically how it works:

    1. State on your site that it is a trademark of your company
    2. Put TM after it whenever you use it
    3. Actively watch for other people to use it, and ask them to stop when you see it happening

    After some years of this (I seem to recall it's 2 years), you fill out a form and pay a fee, and you get to start using the circled-R instead of TM... plus you can say it's a registered trademark.
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    "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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    • Profile picture of the author BizBoost
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      In a nutshell, I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, do go check out the official word on the matter, but this is basically how it works:

      1. State on your site that it is a trademark of your company
      2. Put TM after it whenever you use it
      3. Actively watch for other people to use it, and ask them to stop when you see it happening

      After some years of this (I seem to recall it's 2 years), you fill out a form and pay a fee, and you get to start using the circled-R instead of TM... plus you can say it's a registered trademark.
      Thanks, man, you are one helpful son-of-a-*****!

      It's really that easy??? Because I do have an exceptional phrase for my way of combining and implementing a bunch of known techniques.

      *******************

      By the way, the main topic is not always so cut and dry. For instance, there was an art company that had a hanging sign out front that said, "ART INSIDE" and they were successfully sued by INTEL! (Pentium Inside)
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by cosmokid View Post

        By the way, the only thing that using the TM symbol does for you is let the world know that you are in the process of attempting to register the trademark.
        Exactly.

        It's also worth noting that when filing patent and trademark applications, these have been known to be rejected because they were not prepared by an attorney.

        But the fact remains: to trademark something, you just have to put TM next to it, use it for a specified period of time, and then file a registration. The specified period of time is extensive, so all you can do RIGHT NOW is stick TM next to it and start telling people not to use it. And yes, the registration process is expensive and requires an attorney, but that's years down the road anyway.
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        "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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        • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          But the fact remains: to trademark something, you just have to put TM next to it, use it for a specified period of time, and then file a registration. The specified period of time is extensive, so all you can do RIGHT NOW is stick TM next to it and start telling people not to use it. And yes, the registration process is expensive and requires an attorney, but that's years down the road anyway.
          A product uses TM (or ™) for a trademark and a service uses SM for a service mark.

          Trademarks FAQs
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
        Originally Posted by BizBoost View Post

        By the way, the main topic is not always so cut and dry. For instance, there was an art company that had a hanging sign out front that said, "ART INSIDE" and they were successfully sued by INTEL! (Pentium Inside)
        Not exactly...

        What went on was extortionary and there never was a lawsuit. Intel was offering to pay for a wooden sign worth $2,000 if the Art Inside collective agreed to its request to a name change.

        Here's a more likely scenario...Intel has a large legal team on retainer and they have free reign to run amuck in the name of protecting the Trademark from dilution.

        [Snippet from the article in the link at the bottom in case anyone wants to read the whole (long) article...Bold emphisis are mine]

        Yet Intel Corp. spokesman Chuck Mulloy insists that the firm must protect its brand.

        "When you have an asset, it would be irresponsible not to protect that asset," Mr. Mulloy said. "We have an obligation to our shareholders. This company has spent billions of dollars to create that brand awareness, and [we can't] allow it to be diminished."

        This isn't the first time Intel has sued a small business for a trademark violation, nor even the second or third. Last year, it accused Intel-Data, a printing company in Buffalo, N.Y., of copying its corporate title. Like Intel Financial, the Buffalo firm had less than a dozen employees and had been operating since the 1980s. Its owner decided to change its name, rather than get buried by legal fees.

        The tech giant has also accused various groups of copying its "Intel Inside" advertising slogan, including an art gallery in Massachusetts, a graphics firm in Washington and a yoga organization in Los Angeles. Two of those groups gave up while a third is still negotiating.

        The Intel Financial dispute has been continuing for a year and a half, Mr. Ugyan said, with the two companies corresponding by mail prior to the lawsuit. The Kelowna lending firm registered its name as Intel' Financial in 1986 in B.C. and Alberta, before registering it as Intel Financial, without the apostrophe, in 1989. Intel Corp. has registered its trademark in federal courts, and said in its statement of claim that it first used its name in Canada "as early as 1970."

        To explain why the company is willing to sue a tiny mortgage outfit for trademark infringement, Mr. Mulloy pointed to a recent study by marketing firm Interbrand Group of New York City.

        Last month, the consultancy ranked Intel's moniker as the fifth most valuable global name, and said it would be worth $31-billion (U.S.) if accounting rules allowed companies to include brand values on their balance sheets.

        Mr. Mulloy added that intellectual property laws require companies to take a "pro-active" approach to defending their logos and slogans. If a company doesn't contest firms that violate its brand rights, its trademark becomes "diluted," he said.

        Brand dilution can be a problem, said Jane Baggott, a trademark agent with Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP in Vancouver and ex-president of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, an association of intellectual property professionals.

        "A third person can come along and adopt a similar trademark, and argue that there are already two companies using the same [brand], so why can't a third?" she said. "Once a trademark is no longer unique to one party, then it falls into the public domain."

        But some think Intel has been going too far in protecting its brand. In an editorial earlier this year, The Boston Globe called Intel's lawyers "silly" after the company's recent brush with the New England art collective. Last spring, the hardware developer threatened to sue Art Inside, a six-member art society in Shelbourne Falls, Mass. It accused the co-operative of copying Intel's advertising catchphrase, "Intel Inside."

        The same thing happened to Yoga Inside, a Los Angeles group that taught yoga to incarcerated teenagers. When the three-year-old organization applied to trademark its name last year, Intel lawyers pounced. The yoga practitioners acquiesced, becoming "Yoga on the Inside Foundation."

        Intel is not the first multinational to sue a small company for having a similar title. In 1998, Victoria's Secret sued Victor's Little Secret, a Kentucky sex shop, for tarnishing its trademark by selling tawdry, pornographic material.

        The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and in March, the judges unanimously ruled that actual harm, and not the mere likelihood of harm, is required to impose liability under the U.S. Federal Trademark Dilution Act. The ruling was a triumph for the novelty outlet, which has retained its name.

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        ~Bill
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      • Profile picture of the author davezan
        Originally Posted by BizBoost View Post

        It's really that easy??? Because I do have an exceptional phrase for my way of combining and implementing a bunch of known techniques.
        IANALE but to add on what the others said:

        Trademarks FAQs

        What are "common law" rights?

        Federal registration is not required to establish rights in a trademark. Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark and may allow the common law user to successfully challenge a registration or application.
        WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0")

        1.7 What needs to be shown for the complainant to successfully assert common law or unregistered trademark rights?

        Consensus view: The complainant must show that the name has become a distinctive identifier associated with the complainant or its goods or services. Relevant evidence of such "secondary meaning" includes length and amount of sales under the trademark, the nature and extent of advertising, consumer surveys and media recognition.
        And from a lawyer I know who does these things for a living:

        What Are Common Law Trademark Rights? You Don't Need Have a Trademark Registered with the USPTO in Order to Protect Your Common Law Trademark Rights in Commerce

        To prove common law rights in a mark, one must show that it was the first to use the mark within a geographical area. Courts look at many factors in determining whether one has acquired common law rights in a mark: widespread distribution, public association with the mark, whether consumers associated the mark with the source of the goods, whether the mark has become distinctive, and whether the mark owner has exercised control over the quality of the goods and has used the mark in a trademark sense.
        Look up also USPTO for "intent to use".
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        David

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  • Profile picture of the author redfoxseo
    Well said post about that many should read. To many people just copy and paste peoples infoo withou permission or atleast giving credit.
    Signature

    A great place to get Coupon Inserts

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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Easy rule of thumb. Two questions.

    Did I create this?
    Do I have written permission to use this?

    Answer no to both of those and and forget about using it. Are there exceptions? Yes. But I'm not in any position to say what they are.
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