Whether you're a business owner, entrepreneur, artist, author, or photographer, you will need to protect your brand creative work.

Developing creative works represents an important investment of time, effort, and other valuable resources.

Taking steps to secure your name, brand, logo, or work is an important aspect of protecting your investment. 

A trademark attorney in Los Angeles can get you there...

As you can imagine, if you created something and everybody had the right to use it without paying you, not very many people would go through the trouble of creating anything.

There are 3 intellectual property rights:

Trademark protects the names, symbols or slogans for products or services that you sell.

Copyright protects your writings and art.

And Patent protect your inventions.

With that understanding, let's review each basic principles of intellectual property...

 

 

What is Trademark?

trademark.jpg

Trademark is any word, name, symbol, design, device, or any combination used to identify products or services and distinguishes the sources of the services or goods back to the owner.

A trademark identifies the source of goods and lets the public know that the good or service comes from you and not from someone else. 

Trademark allows your customers to trust your brand and name. 

Trademark law can be used to protect names, designs, logos, slogans, symbols, colors, packaging, containers, or any other marks used by businesses to identify the sources of their goods and services.

A trademark owner has the exclusive rights to use its mark to identify its product or service.

This allows a trademark owner to prevent others from using the same or confusingly similar mark to identify the same or similar products or services.

For example, a mark for a clothing line stops other from using the same mark for clothing, but a car manufacturer can still use it.  

 

What Are the Benefits of Trademark Registration?

trademark-registration.jpg

Registering your Trademark has the following 8 benefits:

1. Legal presumption that you are the owner of the mark.

2. Legal presumption that you have the exclusive right to use the mark.

3. Puts public on notice of ownership of the mark.

4. Your mark will be listed on USPTO's website which means that others can find your marks when searching the database to see if their mark is available. The existence of your mark in the database can help others avoid a mark that is similar to yours.

5. Gives you the ability to record registration with U.S. Customs & Border Protection. This will prevent importing of marks that could infringe your mark.

6. Right to bring legal action concerning mark in federal court.

7. You will have the ability to use trademark registration as basis for foreign filing. This will allow you to get worldwide protection should your business expand.

8. Able to use federal trademark registration symbol ®. This symbol indicates that you have federally registered your trademark with the USPSTO. It puts the public on notice that your mark is registered and that you have nation-wide rights in it.

 

How Long Does Trademark Protection Last?

Registered Trademarks are protected for a period of 10 years. Trademarks are also able to get renewed indefinitely. 

 

How Do I Select a Strong Trademark?

A strong trademark allows you to prevent third-parties from using your mark. 

When it comes to selecting a strong Trademark, two factors come into play: likelihood of confusion and strength of the mark.

Likelihood of confusion exists when the marks are similar and the goods or services are related in such a way that consumers believe that they come from the same source.

Likelihood of confusion occurs when two key elements are present: 1. Marks and similar, and 2. Goods and services are related.

Marks are similar when the marks look like, sound alike, have similar meanings, or create similar commercial impressions. Further, good and services are related when consumers mistakenly believe the goods and services come from the same source.

Note that the marks and the goods do not need to be identical; they only need to be similar and related.

The strength of a trademark is determined based on a 4-part gradient:
trademark-strength-lawyer-attorney.jpg
  • Generic Terms - Common, everyday names; incapable of identifying source. They are the weakest mark and are not able to be registered (i.e.- "TEA" for a mark for teas).
  • Descriptive Terms - Merely describe a feature or quality of the goods or services, and don't identify and don't distinguish the good or services. Although these are warmer than generic terms, these are not able to be registered (i.e.- "Yummy Yogurt" for a mark for yogurt shop).
  • Suggestive Terms - Suggest qualities and characteristics of goods or services without actually describing them. These are mostly able to be registered (i.e.- "Quick N' Easy" for a mark for microwaves).
  • Arbitrary Terms - Creative or unusual terms that are inherently distinctive and the source is identifiable. They are the easiest mark to protect and are able to be registered (i.e.- "Argo" for a mark for an insurance agency).

Further, there are other factors that may prevent your mark from getting registered. These include when the mark is a surname, geographically descriptive, deceptive, disparaging or offensive, misspelling of descriptive or generic wording, name or likeness, title of a single movie or movie, and ornamental and decorative terms.

Contract a trademark attorney if you have any questions about whether you can trademark your mark.

 

How Can a Trademark Lawyer Help Secure My Trademark?

Sam mollaei, Esq., Trademark Lawyer

Sam mollaei, Esq., Trademark Lawyer

I help entrepreneurs save time, money, and aggravation as they navigate the complexities of trademark registration. I also help them avoid costly legal mistakes in the selection and use of their trademarks. 

Most trademark applicants use a trademark lawyer for filing an an application, and for receiving legal advice regarding the use of trademark.

A trademark attorney may help you avoid potential legal drawbacks. Common legal assistance that a trademark lawyer can provide with your trademark needs include:

Trademark Registration

If you decide to apply for Trademark registration, we can assist you from start you finish. 

Trademark registration is obtained from the United States Patent & Trademark Office to help protect your brand. Trademark registration has many advantages such as creating a legal presumption of ownership and the right to sue for infringement should an infringement occur.

Registering your mark will help prevent others from potentially selecting a confusingly similar mark. Trademark registration will also allow you to place a "®" mark next to your brand name and indicates that you have federally registered your trademark. Thus, registration is the most important step in protecting your trademark.

Trademark Clearance Search

A trademark lawyer can do a Trademark Clearance Search before you choose a name, logo, or slogan for your business.

Search of federal and state trademark registration databases for similar marks that are used on related goods or services before filing. Our search tells if your mark or a similar mark is already registered or is awaiting registration. 

This prevents a trademark application from being rejected by the Untied States Patent & Trademark Office and prevents a possible infringement lawsuit. Please note, the USPTO does not conduct trademark searches. Thus, it's crucial for a trademark lawyer to do a trademark search before you choose a mark.

Cease and Desist Letter

A document written by an entertainment lawyer sent to an infringer to halt purportedly unlawful activity. The letter warns that if the infringer does not cease and desist by the deadline specified in the letter, that party may be sued. 

A trademark lawyer is able to offer legal advice regarding the use of your trademark, filing an application, and the likelihood of success in the registration process. Further, a trademark attorney may help you prevent legal pitfalls that can occur in the future. 

 

Trademark Summary

  • A trademark is a legal protection for your name, brand, logo, or slogan
  • Trademark registration provides nationwide protection
  • Select a mark that is strong and not likely to cause confusion
  • Hiring a trademark attorney is highly recommend
  • And remember, your trademark is the face of your business
 

Do You Need to Register Your Trademark?

Contact Sam Mollaei, Esq., trademark lawyer, who can file your trademark via email at sam@mollaeilaw.com or by phone at (818) 925-0002

 

What is Copyright?

copyright-lawyer-attorney.jpg

Copyright is a form of legal protection that protects original, artistic and literary works.

Copyright gives the creator the exclusive right to its use and distribution with the intention of allowing the creator to receive compensation for his or her intellectual effort.

Copyright protects a work from the time it is created in a fixed form.

Copyright protects any kind of art, including musical works (including lyrics), literary works (books, articles, blog posts), dramatic works (plays, tv scripts, screenplays, plays), photographs and illustrations (paintings, drawings, graphic designs), motion pictures and videos, and sound recordings. 

The owner of a copyright has the exclusive rights to:

  1. Make copies of the work
  2. Make derivatives or revisions (modifying work to produce new work)
  3. Distribute or publish the work (giving someone your work under a license)
  4. Perform the work in public, or
  5. Display the work in public.
 

What is "Work Made For Hire?" & How Does it Apply to Me as an Employee or Employer?

work-made-for-hire.jpg

Generally, the person who creates a work is considered the copyright owner.

However, there is an exception to the general rule called the

Work Made for Hire which means that if a work is made for hire, the employer is considered the copyright owner even if the employee actually created the work.

In order to be defined as "work made for hire," the work must be prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment. Further, the parties must expressly agree in a written contract that the work is considered a work made for hire. 

Please note that in most cases, this principle applies only to full-time employees. If you are an independent contractor, you work will be covered under the "work made for hire" doctrine only if your contract says so.

 

What is Copyright Infringement?

what-is-infringement.jpg

Ensuring that your work is copyrighted is essential.

Copyright Infringement occurs when someone copies or exploits a work without the copyright owner's permission.

Infringement is the equivalent of stealing physical property. 

To be infringing, the infringer's work need not be identical. The standard for infringement is whether the work is "substantially similar" to the original work.

"Substantially similar" means that an average person perceiving the two works would recognize that the "artistic expression" was copied from the other.

There is a lot of vagueness regarding the concept of "artistic expression." "Artistic expression" means the specific artistic courses of action and details that go into a work but not general concepts such as subject matter to similar artistic style. 

 

What is the Fair Use?

fair-use.jpg

Fair Use is the defense against a claim of copyright infringement.

The following items are usually deemed fair use and thus may be a defense to Copyright infringement:

  • Criticism and Commentary - Critique of a copyrighted work, such as a book review, may require excerpts from the book.
  • Parody - parodying an artist work is considered fair use; i.e.- YouTube parodies.
  • News Reporting - Copyrighted material is needed to explain a news event to the public
  • Research and Scholarship - A work contributing to research and educational purposes may require using other's copyrighted reference material and may be considered fair use.
  • Non-profit Educational Uses - Teachers and instructors may use copyrighted materials to instruct their students for educational purposes. 
 

Do I Need to Copyright My Work?

copyright-registration.jpg

You are not required to register your work for copyright. Copyright is secured automatically when the work is fixed in a tangible form.

While registration of the work with the Copyright Office is not required for copyright protection,

Copyright may confer advantages including the ability to sue for infringement, and helping you secure statutory damages and attorney fees.

Early copyright registration is the best proactive step you can take to ensure that you will have the full protection should an infringement occur. 

 

How Can a Copyright Lawyer Secure Copyright Protection?

A copyright lawyer can register your work to help prevent infringers from copying your work.

A copyright lawyer can also help license your work which is an agreement between you and a brand to help you make money for your work.

Further, Cease and Desist letters are very common methods that prevents unlawful infringement of your work.

Also, a copyright can also help with your marketing goals in order to attain the biggest fan base for your work that you deserve. 

Copyright assistance includes help with any of the following:

  • Registration - There are important benefits that are gained by registering a work. Registration makes it easier to prove that you own the work and to legally pursue infringement if they occur.
  • Licensing - This is a contractual agreement between the copyright owner and user who wants to use the brand in association with a product for an agreed period of time. Having a license helps produce revenue for your creative work. 
  • Cease and Desist - Also known as an “infringement letter” is a document sent to an individual or business to halt purportedly unlawful activity and not take it up again later. The letter warns that if the infringer does not cease and desist by the deadline specified in the letter, that party may be sued. 
  • Marketing - We can help you exploit and market your copyright material so you can attain the greatest audience for your work. The bigger the audience for your work, the more successful.

A copyright lawyer is able to offer legal advice and service regarding the use of copyright, filing a registration, licensing, cease and desist letters, and marketing. Further, a copyright attorney may help prevent legal problems before they occur. 

Sam Mollaei, Esq., copyright lawyer, can help with all of your copyright needs. You can contact Sam Mollaei, Esq. via email at sam@mollaeilaw.com or by phone (818) 925-0002.