Copyright for your Brand Name!
Copyright for your Brand Name!
Brand name combined of visual representation or a recognizable Logo reflects the product or service a company delivers and it also perfectly exhibits your company’s niche and personality. This should be a unique piece of art to distinguish your product or service from your competitors. Nevertheless, many intruders are keen in forging successful Brand names to divert consumers into their products. Companies who wanted radical success within one night and such cases often led to open discussions of intellectual assets, always imitated many successful companies.
As your brand name and logo depict your business, applying for a registration of copyright and Trademark are vital considerations in safeguarding the identity of your brand. However, having a vivid comprehension and getting familiar with the following will help you in presenting your Brand name universally.
What is WIPO?
The World Intellectual Property Organization is a global forum established for safeguarding intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation. This self-funding agency of the United Nations includes 192 member states.
The mission of WIPO is to lead the “development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity” and under the supervision of WIPO one can protect all the exclusive and moral rights relating to Trademark, Copyright, and Patents.
Brand name registering
It is not necessarily compulsory to register for a copyright or trademark of your company name or logo. In the United States, you own a copyright or trademark as soon as your original work is published in a piece of paper. However, taking an extra step and registering them can support you in giving additional protection to your piece of work and it also prevents someone else using your brand name or logo for a similar business. Further if you plan to expand your business globally it will be a wise choice to register.
Brand name Copyrighted or Trademarked?
A trademark can be a combination of a Word, Phrase, Slogan, Design or a Symbol that is used to differentiate a product of yours from the others who are in the same line of business. Thus, A trademark can be applied for a business name, logo, symbol, design and anything that specifically contributes to your brand. The registration of a trademark notifies others that this is your sole property and you have the exclusive rights in using the company product name and logo.
Unfortunately, a trademark does not represent the colours and design of a logo or a brand name and it also does not protect against illegal copying of creativity. This only justifies mere cases of company mark and in order to protect your original artistic work, you should register your brand name under copyrights. This means if somebody is using a similar artwork it cannot be termed as a Trademark infringement rather than a Copyright infringement.
Copyright protects original works of authorship that are stated in a physical medium and as the United States Copyright Office declares, “A copyright protects a literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual work.” Companies can copyright audio, video, reports and original pieces of art that highlights their brand or product. As discussed, another noteworthy factor to be considered is every work is copyrighted at the moment it is created and registering it would further assure its protection against unlawful copying as you hold the required documentation to prove your privilege and ownership to it.
If a competitor attempts to mimic your original creation, similar to your brand name, which is your own intellectual property you can sue them for doing so. But legal guidance can only be sought unless it is registered. When you own federally registered copyright you gain control of how your intellectual property is being used on branding the product and it prevents other businesses or people from imitating your brand name as you have claimed your privilege by copyrighting it.
Eligibility of a Brand name for copyrights
This can be very puzzling! As to apply for copyright your brand name needs the required level of creativity in order to count it as copyrightable. So, many simple brand names are not copyrightable. If your brand name is a bit more artistic and attractive you can easily get it copyrights registered.
The importance of filing a Copyright
- To claim ownership and save your original work from plagiarism.
- To control the copying and circulation of your brand name.
- To gain the capability to legally protect your brand name copyright.
How can you identify whether a Brand name is copyrighted?
Prior to the registration of a Brand name, it is highly recommended to carry out a search to measure the availability of a Brand name copyright. You can gather information from,
- United States copyright office.
- The United States patent and trademark office.
- Trademark electronic search system
Steps involved in registering your Brand name for copyright.
In the USA
- Browse the website of the United States Copyright Office.
- When you access the United States Copyright Office website, click on the eCO Online Registration button and fill out the form given.
- Then upload your logo file and pay the registration fee.
There is no particular Copyright registration system in Australia but one can get the guidance of the following.
- Australian Copyright Council
- Australian Government IP website
In the UK
- Intellectual property office of United kingdom
Your work can be protected in other countries through international agreements, such as,
- Berne convention
- European Union
When to use the © symbol?
As copyrights are secured from the time the work is created, you are allowed to use the © symbol from the time the artwork is distributed. Whereas, the work is offered superior protection once it is registered with the Copyright Office of a country.
How long does copyright protection last?
Work is given validity until lasting of the author's life, plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death. In the case of joint works the ownership lasts for 70 years after the last surviving Author’s death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and bogus works (unless the author's identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation. If one applies for copyright through the Berne convention only 50 years will be granted.
The Benefits of Copyrighting can be,
- You are granted exclusive rights of the intellectual property you own.
- Your Brand name is protected against others who willing to imitate your brand name.
- The original idea and creativity of your brand name are secured.
How can you sue a Copyright infringement?
- Collect evidence of the infringement as much as possible using the web and printed materials as you will need documentation at the trial.
- Next, you should prove that the imitator had access to your brand name either from one of the following techniques.
- Admission- The imitator may have admitted to hearing or seeing your work.
- Eyewitness testimony-someone may have seen the imitator observing your artwork.
- Wide dissemination-for work published online this method is applicable as it is easy to exhibit that the suspected infringer could have found your work by browsing the Internet.
- Mark the dates of infringement.
- Document the loss of income as a violation has cost you money; carefully document how far it has affected. Save bank statements and invoices.
- Hire an experienced lawyer to file the case.
Real cases of Copyright infringement
Grumpy cat Vs. Grumpy cat Coffee
The constantly angry kitty, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, had been awarded $710,000 in a copyright infringement case against a beverage company.
Gucci Vs. Guess
Gucci charged Guess over a diamond-patterned G logo that was printed in the clothing of both the brands. Gucci won the case in 2012 and the courts in New York ordered Guess to pay $4.7 million in 2013. However, Guess won a countercharge in Italy where the court approved Guess’s appeals to have three of Gucci’s registered trademarks abolished.
Apple Corps vs Apple Inc.
The Beatles innovated the name “Apple” eight years before Steve Jobs introduced his Apple Inc. and this dispute of suing lasted many years where ultimately Apple Inc. paid the Beatles “Apple Corps” a cash settlement and vowed to stay away from the music business.
But with the introduction of iTunes, the battle initiated again and payment was given to the “Beatles” after Apple Inc. decided to buy the Apple Corps’ trademark rights.
Jack Daniel’s vs Patrick Wensink
This case was won without a hassle of a lawsuit. Patrick Wensink published a book with the cover of a dead ringer and this was Jack Daniel’s well-known trademark design.
The famed company, Jack Daniel’s sent a letter to Wensink, recommending him on replacing his cover and as a sign of appreciation and generosity, the company even though of contributing financially to design the new cover. Being extremely polite, Jack Daniel’s Properties did not even ask for the book to be taken off the shelf and this plea made Patrick Wensink expose the letter on his website, after which it was viral and won Jack Daniel’s an incredible amount of positive praise.
To conclude, your Brand name is the backbone of your business and this intellectual property represents your company reputation locally and internationally. Registering it as a Trademark can protect the brand name but there are some limitations that can be overcome by claiming your Copyrights. But again this is tricky as to apply for a Brand name Copyright your Brand name should possess the required level of creativity and originality.