Intellectual Property Law Services in Clearwater, SC
What is a registered Clearwater, SC patent attorney?
A registered patent attorney is an attorney who is, in addition to their state law license, also licensed to represent clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Generally, only practitioners who are specifically qualified by the USPTO may file and prosecute patent applications. In order to be registered by the USPTO, a patent attorney must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in a technical field (e.g. engineering, physics, chemistry, biology) and must pass a special USPTO exam, often called the “Patent Bar,” separate from the bar exam that all lawyers must take. Not all patent practitioners are lawyers; patent agents are practitioners who are qualified to file patent applications but are not licensed to practice law. Unlike patent agents or unregistered attorneys, a registered patent attorney can both render legal advice and also file and prosecute patent applications.
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 does a Clearwater design patent protect?
Whereas a utility patent covers an invention itself including the way it functions or its mechanical structure, a design patent protects only the appearance and design of the object. Put differently, a utility patent protects the way an invention is used and how it works while a design patent protects how it looks. Design patents may be obtained only where the ornamental features of the invention predominate over its functional features. An invention that is primarily utilitarian in nature is generally not protectable by a design patent. A design patent affords the patent holder the right to prevent others from making, using, or selling a product that resembles the patented product closely enough that an “ordinary observer” might confuse the infringing product for the patented one.
What are the benefits of hiring a Clearwater trademark attorney to protect your brand or name?
Trademark attorneys specialize in all areas of trademark law, including registration at the USPTO, counseling, and enforcement. Because there are many nuances in trademark law, having an experienced attorney guide you will help avoid potential complications, especially during the registration process. For example, a Clearwater trademark attorney will know which forms to file with the USPTO, which classes of goods and/or services to apply in, and how to describe these goods and/or services. An attorney will not only be able to help you accurately prepare your application, but will also be able to respond to the USPTO if the examiner finds any issues with the application.
What is a Cease-and-Desist Letter?
A cease-and-desist letter is typically the first step in protecting your Clearwater, SC trademark rights once you determine that a third party is using your mark without authorization. The purpose of a cease-and-desist letter is to alert an unauthorized user to your trademark rights and ask the unauthorized user to cease their infringement. It also typically puts the alleged infringer on notice that if they do not stop their unauthorized use, they may face further legal action, such as a lawsuit.
While this letter does not need to be prepared by an attorney, a trademark attorney can help you craft a compelling letter, detailing all of the legal and factual bases for your demand. Furthermore, an unauthorized user is more likely to respond favorably to a letter from an experienced attorney. When successful in getting the alleged infringer to cease their unauthorized use of a mark, demand letters are the most cost effective and efficient way to resolve a trademark dispute.
Types of Trademarks
An attorney at Axenfeld Law Group can assess your potential Clearwater SC 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.