Frequently Asked Questions – Off the Mark

Please see the following videos for answers to frequently asked questions

What is a copyright?

A copyright is a form of intellectual property granted to authors of original works of authorship.  This is not limited to literary works such as books, poems, plays and songs.  Copyrights also protect sculptures, paintings, choreography, movies, jewelry design, computer software and more.

What is a trade secret?

A trade secret is information that is unique and valuable to your business.  There are three requirements:

  1. The information must be a secret
  2. The information must give you a financial edge over your competitors
  3. You must take reasonable steps to protect the information

What is the copyright definition of author?

The author of a work is the person or entity responsible for the actual creation of the work.

What are trademarks?

Trademarks are a form of intellectual property.  They protect brand identifiers such as your company’s logo, name, colors that are specific to your brand and more.

How can I own the rights to the work I paid for?

You don’t own the copyrights to work completed by a non-employee therefore you must have a written agreement to transfer the rights from the contractor to you.

How is my brand valuable?

Intellectual property can be bought, sold and licensed just like real property.  These avenues allow you to increase your business’s bottom line.

How long is my trademark registration good for?

Trademark registration protection is not indefinite. Over the years you must submit proof that you are still using the mark in the manner in which you registered it.  To ensure that you are using your mark, USPTO established the following timeline. – Between 5-6 years after registration a Declaration of Use or Excusable Nonuse must be filed – Between 9-10 years after registration and every 10 years after that, a Declaration of Use or Excusable Nonuse AND an Application for Renewal must be filed

What is fair use?

Fair use allows for copyrighted material to be used without the owners permission.  It is commonly used as a defense to copyright infringement.  The courts look at four factors to determine whether infringement is actually fair use.

What is an improper trademark licensing agreement?

As a trademark owner you must retain control over your mark and the goods/services associated with the mark.  If you enter into an agreement that fails to recognize your rights you will lose them.