Patent Services in East Bethel, MN
What does a East Bethel 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.
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 East Bethel 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.
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What is a Cease-and-Desist Letter?
A cease-and-desist letter is typically the first step in protecting your East Bethel, MN 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.