Intellectual Property Law Services in Rocky Gap, VA
What does a Rocky Gap 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.
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 Rocky Gap, VA 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.
The benefits of filing a provisional patent application in Rocky Gap
A provisional patent application is a document issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") that protects an invention for a year before a formal patent application is filed. Filing a provisional patent application has several important benefits to inventors and entrepreneurs. Firstly, provisional patent applications have less formal requirements and are more cost effective than nonprovisional applications. Secondly, they allow inventors to begin commercially promoting their invention immediately without fear of having it stolen. Thirdly, a provisional patent application serves as the effective date of filing for the invention, allowing inventors twelve additional months on the term of their patent grant and the right to use the term "patent pending."
What is a Cease-and-Desist Letter?
A cease-and-desist letter is typically the first step in protecting your Rocky Gap, VA 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.
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 are the benefits of using a trademark attorney to apply for a Rocky Gap, VA 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.