April 23, 2024


The Gods Made Home

Writing – Copyrights and Trademarks Protect You

When most people consider writing a book, they don’t think

about Trademarks. However, I highly recommend that you

leverage your writing for multiple purposes, and that’s why

registering a Trademark for your concept is a good idea. If

you use your writing as the basis for workshops and other

products, it’s in your best interests to protect your

concepts with a Trademark.

To paraphrase the definition of a Trademark given at the

official web site http://www.uspto.gov, a Trademark is a symbol, a

word, a phrase, or a design, (or any combination), used to

identify and distinguish the unique source of goods. Note

that a Service Mark has the same definition as a Trademark,

except as related to services instead of products.

You are not required to register a Mark. Instead, you can

establish your rights to the Mark with a record of

legitimate use of it. However, there are several

advantages to owning a Mark that is federally registered.

The most notable is your premier position if anyone else

should attempt to use your Mark after your official

registration date.

Regardless of whether you’ve made an application to the

USPTO for a federally registered Mark, you may use the TM

and SM symbols any time you claim Mark rights. However, the

federal symbol for registration (encircled “R”), may only

be used after the USPTO has received your application,

processed it, and officially registered your Mark. One more

thing to note: the federal registration symbol can only be

used in connection with the goods or services that are

specifically listed in the federal documents.

Of course, there is a difference among the purposes of

Trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Patents protect a

inventions. Copyrights protect original literary or

artistic work.

Your work is copyright protected under common law when you

create it. And by printing the work with the copyright

notification included, you have signified your claim to the

work. However, to have it officially recorded, you will

want to register it with the Copyright Office. Keep in mind

that the government does not enforce the copyright. If

someone were to infringe, it would be up to you to protect

your rights through a civil suit.

Contact the Copyright Office to get the forms. Call 202-

707-3000 and request copyright package 109, or go to the

web site, http://www.loc.gov/copyright and fill out form TX. To

register your copyright of a book, take these steps: 1)

Print the copyright notice on the copyright page (title

page). You may use the word copyright, but “C” in a circle

says the same thing and is necessary for international

protection. Also, add “All rights reserved.” The notice

must appear in all copies of the book to protect you. The

copyright should be in the name of the owner. 2) Publish

the book. 3) Register your claim with the Copyright Office

within three months of the book being published.

New copyright duration is for the author’s life, plus

fifty years. Since your ownership is part of your estate,

mention it in your will. Everything is protected by the

copyright, (text, graphics, etc.), except titles. Titles

can’t be copyrighted. However, does the title fit the

definition of a Trademark? If so, you can claim it that

way. An example: “Chicken Soup for the Soul” is Trademarked

because it can’t be copyrighted. No one actually would use

that title for their own creation, but if it weren’t

Trademarked, anyone could legally profit from using the

phrase to market other products.

Cover all your bases and use the means available to

protect your creation. By registering your copyright and

your rights in a Mark, the safeguards are prepared if

someone tried to use your work as their own.