Intellectual Property Law Services in Clayton, IL
Does copyright law protect my photos posted on social media?
U.S. copyright law protects creative works, and photos posted on social media are no exception. The Copyright Act protects photos posted to websites such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, but only if the images meet the minimum creativity requirements, are original, and are fixed in a tangible means of expression. When a photographer captures a photograph, they make creative decisions as to the subject matter, lighting, exposure, focus, etc., which typically satisfies both the creativity and originality requirements. Photographs taken with a phone or digital camera meet the fixation requirement when it is recorded or stored in a format that can be preserved and retrieved for future use, display, reproduction, or other commercial exploitation.
What if someone posted my photo and removed my Clayton copyright information?
“Copyright Management Information” (or CMI) includes the identifying information about a work’s copyright owner, among other things. Digital Millennium Copyright Act created a separate prohibition from knowingly removing or altering Copyright Management Information. If someone has knowingly removed your watermark, the title of the artwork, the year it was created, your name, or certain other identifying information from your photo before posting it to social media, you may have a cause of action against that person. The key is that the other person must have known, or had reason to know, that their actions would induce, enable, facilitate, or conceal an infringement. The attorneys at Axenfeld Law can assess your options and determine the best course of conduct to enforce your rights.
Types of Trademarks
An attorney at Axenfeld Law Group can assess your potential Clayton IL intellectual property and recommend seeking protection over one or more types of trademarks. This includes trademarks for words, designs, sounds, as well as the unique packaging (known as trade dress) for your product. A word mark is a trademark consisting of a word or phrase that identifies a product or service. This type of trademark can be either a standard character mark, which covers any use of the word in any font, or a stylized mark, which has a specific design element. A design mark is a trademark that consists of a unique graphic design, logo, or symbol that represents a product or service. A sound mark is a trademark that consists of a unique audio element, such as a jingle, tune, or sound effect, used to identify a product or service. Sound marks must be original and capable of being represented graphically. Trade dress is the overall look and feel of a product or packaging, and it can be protected as a trademark if it's distinctive and non-functional. An attorney at Axenfeld Law Group will guide the client in choosing the best type for their business.
Five different types of Utility Patents in Clayton, IL
A utility patent is a legal protection granted to investors for new, useful, and non-obvious inventions. There are five major types. A “process patent” is a protection granted to anyone who invents or discovers a new and useful process, which can include chemical, industrial, or technological processes. A “machine patent” protects mechanical devices or combinations of mechanical elements that work together to produce a certain effect or result. A “manufacture patent” protects the method with which a new or original product is manufactured. A “composition of matter patent” covers new and useful compositions of matter, whether they be chemical compounds or mechanical mixtures, and include gases, fluids, powders, or solids. Finally, an “improvement patent” protects the distinction between a new product and previously existing products of a similar type.
What are the benefits of using a trademark attorney to apply for a Clayton, IL trademark registration?
While U.S.-domiciled applicants do not need to hire a trademark attorney to prepare and file an application for their trademark, there are a number of benefits to having a U.S.-licensed attorney who specializes in trademark law represent you at the USPTO.
An attorney will be able to provide you with legal advice regarding your trademark, conduct a clearance search before you file an application (which will provide insight into the registerability of the mark and any potential issues that may arise during the application review process), prepare your application accurately to minimize office actions, communicate with the USPTO directly on your behalf, and shield you from fraudulent solicitations from third-party vendors.
While hiring an attorney to prepare your trademark application will increase the initial costs, it will likely save you money in the long term and will give you more peace of mind.
Someone stole my brand, what can a Clayton trademark attorney do to help me?
If you discover that someone is using your brand without authorization, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your rights. While each situation is nuanced, typically the first step is to send a demand letter (also known as a cease-and-desist letter). The purpose of a demand letter is to alert an unauthorized user to your trademark rights and ask the unauthorized user to cease their infringement. A trademark attorney can help you craft a compelling letter, detailing all of the legal and factual bases for your demand.
Demand letters are the most cost effective and efficient way to resolve a trademark dispute. However, in some cases, the unauthorized user may ignore the letter or simply refuse to cease their unauthorized use of your trademark. In this instance, the next step is to consider whether to file a lawsuit. Because there are many factors to consider when deciding to file a lawsuit, such as cost and potential outcomes, it is important to speak with an experienced trademark attorney for guidance.
While trademarks are the subject of both federal and state law, federal law provides the main source of trademark protection. As a result, working with an attorney who specializes in trademark law is generally more beneficial than working with an attorney who practices in a certain state but who has less familiarity with trademarks.
Axenfeld Law Group, an intellectual property firm that specializes in trademark matters, is here to help you enforce your trademark rights. Robert Axenfeld is currently licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, and regularly handles trademark matters before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and federal courts.