Patent Services in Midland, MD
Patent Services in Midland, MD
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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 Midland 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.
Types of Trademarks
An attorney at Axenfeld Law Group can assess your potential Midland MD 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.
How do I protect a name?
You can protect your business or product name from being used or diluted by a competitor with a trademark. A trademark is an intellectual property right that gives you the right to exclude others from using your name in a confusingly similar manner. There are several ways to acquire a trademark, including through state agencies or simply through use in commerce, but the way to obtain the greatest amount of protection is to register your name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A Midland, MD trademark attorney can help you file a federal trademark application, and if granted, you will have the right to enforce your trademark throughout the entire United States. You will also have a legal presumption that you own the trademark. Anyone who sues to challenge your trademark will bear the burden of proving otherwise.
What is a Cease-and-Desist Letter?
A cease-and-desist letter is typically the first step in protecting your Midland, MD 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.