Trademark: Protect your ideas and creations

I had a very pleasant young man come see me this week, and we are both glad he did.  For a while, he’s had a vision and dream of elevating those of his race who need inspiration just to go out and do the things they are capable of.  That dream turned into a design. The design turned into t-shirts. What he hopes for is a movement.

Fortunately, he had the foresight to protect his dream, so we checked into a state registration of his ‘logo.’  The word logo doesn’t quite do his design justice, because it embodies much more than just a drawing. It signifies the future he wants for his brethren.

No path is completely smooth, however.  It turns out that someone had had a similar idea, but intended to use it for a music promotion business.  When registering marks or reserving names for businesses, you cannot have one that is “confusingly similar” to one that currently exists and is owned by someone else.

There were a tense couple of moments, but the great computer in our state’s capital that is in charge of such things determined that my client’s idea was not confusingly similar to the one registered by some people out of New York.  Big sigh of relief.

The plan now is for him to go full steam ahead, produce his merchandise embodying his design and dream. Once it is large enough, form a company.  Then hire employees.  Build his brand and embolden his market.

I wish him all success and hopes he takes me along for the ride.

Devil left the porch light on

We have some remarkable artists, authors and songwriters in our area. One recently asked me to help her through the process of copyrighting her work.

It is a very simple process, really. A visit to the United States Copyright Office website, http://www.copyright.gov and it’s a pretty straightforward process.

Same goes for protecting other intellectual property. Copyrights, trademarks, service marks, trade names. All have value.  They have even more value to the people that work hard to establish a brand or a mark. Don’t let someone come along and take what you’ve earned.

Likewise, you can’t just toss a registration on someone else’s intellectual property. Trademarks aren’t just registered, they have to be used and earned to establish your ownership of the mark. I know some folks from Illinois that wish they hadn’t tried that little trick.  Cost them $525,000.  Juries don’t like people that steal someone’s hard earned brand.

Nevertheless, if you need assistance, I will be more than happy to help. You may contact me at rec@corriganlawfirm.com, or simply call the office at 251-476-2292 for further information.