Friday, June 29, 2007

Registering Copyrights

First off, you should know that copyright exists from the moment you create
your literary, artistic, or musical work, so registering your copyright is
completely voluntary. But there are several reasons why you may choose to
register your copyright, such as: you want to have the facts of your
copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration;
registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees
in successful litigation; and, if registration occurs within 5 years of
publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.

If you’d like to register a document or item as a copyright, you can use
either the short form TX or the standard form TX. Short form TX applies if
you are the only author and copy right owner of the work, and the work was
not made for hire, and the work is completely new (does not contain a
substantial amount of material that has been previously published or
registered or is in the public domain). Otherwise, use the standard form TX
to register for a copyright. Along with the completed application form,
send a check for $45 made payable to “Register of Copyrights” as well as a
non-returnable copy of the material to be registered to: Library of
Congress, Copyright office, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C.

Registration becomes effective on the day the Copyright office receives your
completed application, payment, and copies of the work in an acceptable
format. If your submission is in order, expect to receive a certificate of
registration within four months.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Registering Trademarks & Service marks

As we mentioned in our previous post, you can choose to register your
trademark or you can choose not to. If you do register your trademark you
can use the ® after the brand name, whereas if you do not register it, but

merely apply for a trademark, you use TM after the brand name. (And remember
that you can only use the registration symbol before your trade or service
mark once the application has been processed, which could take anywhere from
6 months to several years.) That said, the benefits of registering a
trademark are: you’ll have evidence that you own the trademark; you can
invoke the jurisdiction of federal courts; and you can file your
registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of
infringing foreign goods.

If you want to apply for registration of a trademark, you can fill out an
application online and file it over the net using the Trademark Electronic
Application System (TEAS) here. You can also respond to Office
actions and file notices of change of address and many other documents
through TEAS. If you’d like to check the status of your application, you
can visit the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR)
database at http://tarr.uspto.gov. If you don’t
have internet access, call the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199
(or 1- 571-272-9250) to request a paper form.

Your completed application form to register a trademark (submitted online or
via US mail) should include: the appropriate fee; a drawing of the mark to
be registered; and specimens of use of the mark if the application is based
on actual use in commerce.

You can mail paper applications to: Commissioner for Trademarks, P.O. Box
1451, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1451

The trademark and service mark filing fees are as follows:
(1) $275 per class for a TEAS Plus application that meets the requirements of 37 C.F.R. §§2.22 and 2.23;

(2) $325 per class for an application filed electronically using the
Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS); or

(3) $375 per class for an application filed on paper.

These fees will be charged not only when you file a new application, but
also when payments are made to add classes to an existing application.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Differences Between Copyrights, Trademarks and Service Marks

Most people do not understand the difference between a trademark, a service
mark and a copyright, but they are actually distinct legal protections.

A trademark protects the goods that you make or sell, whereas a service
mark (SM) protects the services you provide or sell. And a copyright
protects literary, artistic, and musical works. If you want to protect your
brand name, you should use a trademark. (Copyrights don’t protect names,
titles, slogans or short phrases.)

Chances are you’ve noticed the symbols businesses use to indicate which kind
of legal protection they’ve applied for, but these are not just arbitrarily
used. The use of symbols like TM and SM are governed by local, state, or
foreign laws, which makes it essential for you to seek legal representation
while you decide which kind of protection you need and to aid you in the
application process.

Keep in mind that you can only use the federal registration symbol, or the R
enclosed within a circle, once your trade or service mark is actually
registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Even
if your application is pending, you still cannot use the registration symbol
before the mark has actually become registered. (It is not easy to guess how
long it will take for the application to be processed. In general, you will
receive a receipt, along with an application serial number, within 3 weeks of
filing and you may get a response within 6 to 7 months, but the truth is the
process could take anywhere from a year to several years)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You're Not Just Our Next Case

Jacob Smith (not his real name) was recently convicted of reckless driving in Fairfax District Court and hired Gross & Romanick to overturn his conviction on appeal to the Fairfax Circuit Court.

Gross & Romanick secured him a plea to Improper Driving and managed to get the court to reduce his original fine by $50.00. Plus, he didn't end up losing his license and his points were reduced from 6 points to 3.

After the case was over, he wrote to us to thank us for representing him. "I truly felt like I was more than just Joe Smo traffic ticket guy," he said, which is precisely our goal at Gross & Romanick: you're not just a case, but a valued client and an important person--and we treat you that way every step of the way.