Intellectual Property Law Services in Brazoria County
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 is a Cease-and-Desist Letter?
A cease-and-desist letter is typically the first step in protecting your Brazoria County 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.
Can you protect your username / handle on social media?
You’ve spent hours building your brand on social media. Protect your Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, and Twitter handles by registering the username with the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO"). If you are successful in registering your social media username, you will be establishing its role alongside your brand. This can help prevent others from exploiting your reputation and the goodwill you have built up through commercial use of your username.
Social media handles are eligible for Brazoria trademark protection if they are used in connection with the goods or services you offer. This means that the handle must be distinctive and not merely descriptive of the goods or services you offer.
Treat your username or handle as a brand name and ensure that you are able to use it in commerce. This process begins with a trademark search, and if successful, a trademark registration application. This will ensure that no one else is using your name in an area of commerce that is similar to yours and prevent consumer confusion and diversion of sales. Axenfeld Law offers a full suite of services to help build, protect, and enforce your brand. This includes thorough assessment of your brand and the development of a strategy to protect your social media 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 Brazoria County 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.
How can a Brazoria patent attorney protect an idea?
An idea can be protected by a patent if the idea constitutes an invention. An idea may be considered an invention under U.S. patent law if it is a new and useful process or machine, or a new and useful improvement to an existing process or machine. Abstract ideas are not patentable, and your invention cannot be something that would be obvious to an ordinarily skilled person in the field of the invention. Your idea must also be detailed enough that it can be described in such a way that an ordinarily-skilled person could make and use the invention based on that description. A patent attorney can help make sure your idea meets the requirements of a patentable invention, and secure protection for that idea by preparing and filing a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
How can a copyright attorney help your company avoid Brazoria copyright infringement?
Copyright infringement occurs when a business or person engages in the unauthorized use or reproduction of a copyright protected work. Intellectual property law is continually changing and while the rules and statutes at issue remain the same, the implementation of the law often does not. This is especially true on the internet, where a work’s copyright protection is not always obvious and emerging technology, like generative artificial intelligence, tests the boundaries of existing intellectual property jurisprudence. Copyright attorneys, like those at Axenfeld Law Group, can help keep your company abreast of these changes to avoid potentially infringing conduct. To the extent your company is faced with a lawsuit for copyright infringement, Brazoria copyright attorneys can also defend you against these allegations and/or work with the copyright holder to negotiate a mutually beneficial resolution.