Intellectual Property Law Services in South Bend, NE
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 South Bend, NE 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.
Types of Trademarks
An attorney at Axenfeld Law Group can assess your potential South Bend NE 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.
South Bend, NE Trademark Trends
Recent trademark registration trends have seen an increase in the number of trademark applications filed, especially in the areas of technology (Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, and NFTs), entertainment, and fashion. Additionally, there has been a rise in the use of trademark protection for colors, sounds and scent marks, as well as in the registration of trademarks for cannabis-related goods and services. Furthermore, with the growth of e-commerce and the increasing use of social media for business purposes, there has been a rise in the number of trademarks being filed for logos, taglines, and hashtags. However, there has also been an increase in the number of rejections and objections being raised during the trademark examination process, particularly for marks that are deemed descriptive or generic.
South Bend NE Trademark Protection for a Service
A trademark can protect a service, just like a product. A service trademark is used to identify and distinguish the services of one company from those of others in the same industry. Service trademarks play an important role in protecting a company's brand identity and reputation, and help customers differentiate the company's services from those of its competitors. Service trademarks are registered with the same process as trademarks for goods, while receiving the same legal protection. Registering a service trademark provides the owner with exclusive rights to use the trademark to promote and sell their services, as well as the ability to take legal action against anyone who infringes on their trademark rights.
What is a Cease-and-Desist Letter?
A cease-and-desist letter is typically the first step in protecting your South Bend, NE 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.