A company’s intellectual property is often its most valuable asset, and too often, business owners fail to take the necessary steps to protect it.  Trademark and Copyright protect distinct intellectual property rights, but the two are often confused with one another, even by lawyers.

Trademarks

A trademark is a name, logo, symbol or design (or a combination of these) that the consumer associates with your good or service.  It’s the brand that identifies and distinguishes your company in the marketplace.   Trademark laws protect consumers from being deceived, misled or confused as to the (1) source of the goods or services and (2) whether two or more companies are one in the same or affiliated with one another.

I assist businesses and individuals with trademark registrations.  My involvement ranges from handling the entire trademark registration to a more limited role such as a consultation to analyze whether use of a particular mark or trade dress may potentially result in a claim of trademark infringement or tarnishing a famous mark.

Even those businesses that embark on the trademark registration process alone, but now face a non-final Office action from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, I assist in preparing a response to the office action.  Also, I can assist businesses in the appeals process if the USPTO has issued a final Office action or to file or defend an opposition or cancellation proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board.

Copyright

A copyright owner has the exclusive right to (1) reproduce (copy); (2) distribute; (3) create a derivative work (transform), (4) publically perform and (5) publically display the copyrighted work.  How does copyright apply to a business owner in the fitness and training industry?  A number of different ways.  For example, a creative logo containing artistic elements can be copyrighted (can be trademarked as well), which prevents another business or individual from copying the logo and selling it on a T-shirt.  Another example is creating unique content for your website, which a competitor steals by copying the content nearly word-for-word.  If your business development relies on search engine optimization, webpage content copying can sabotages your search engine ranking.

I assist businesses and individuals with Copyright registration.  Creating a digital image of your copyrightable work, for example, gives you rights under the Copyright Act.  But your ability to adequately enforce those rights depends on whether the work has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.