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Applying for a patent
Applying for a patent consists of filing several items with the Patent and Trademark Office. There must be a written document describing the product and what it does.
Copyright transferal
Legally, a copyright is considered a piece of personal property and transferring it from person to person is subject to both state and local property laws in addition to federal statutes.
Copyrights
As soon as you create something, it's automatically copyrighted. Copyright protection is international and was agreed to by most industrialized nations in the Berne (BURN) Convention of 1971.
Federal trademark registration benefits
Merely adopting and using a trademark gives you certain rights. Registering your trademark protects those rights. The Federal Registration mark, indicated by a capital 'R' with a circle around it, is an official announcement that this product, marketed under your name or logo, is officially yours.
Filing fees for patents
Filing fees at the Office of Patents and Trademarks are subject to change every October, so the exact amount of fees may vary from year to year. There are numerous different application forms and fees for different types of patents.
How long do trademarks endure?
A trademark can last indefinitely. There are several things you have to do, however, in order to keep a registered trademark active. Between the fifth and sixth year following registration, you have to file an Affidavit of Use with the Patent and Trademark Office.
How long does copyright protection last?
Copyright laws have been changed several times since the 19-70's. Works registered prior to January first, 19-78 were eligible for a copyright protection period of 28 years.
How long does trademark registration take?
There are several steps in obtaining a federal trademark registration. Once the Patent and Trademark Office receives your application, it reviews the information to determine if all the requirements are met.
Patent infringement
A patent doesn't necessarily give you the right to manufacture or sell the product or design that you've patented, but allows you to prevent others from doing so.
Patent marking
Once you've patented something, you need to protect your patent by alerting others to the fact that this is a protected product. This usually consists of a notice on the product consisting of the word 'Patent,' followed by the patent number.
Patents
Article One, Section Eight of the U-S Constitution specifically gives Congress the power to enact laws regarding patents '...to promote the progress of science and useful arts.
Registering a trademark
The first official step in registering a trademark is to file an application at the Trademark Office. If you want trademark protection outside the U-S, you have to file an application in every country where you want your mark to be protected.
Registering copyright
As soon as you write, draw, or otherwise create an original work, it is automatically given copyright protection in most countries. Publication of the material accompanied by the copyright symbol is good for alerting others that the work is copyrighted, but offers no legal protection.
Trademarks
A trademark is a word, name, symbol or other device that a company uses to identify its products to the public. It's similar to a service mark, which identifies a company that deals in services rather than goods.
Transferal of trademarks
The ownership of a trademark can be transferred from one person to another by filling out an Assignment Form from the Office of Patents and Trademarks and sending it in with a fee for the transfer.
What about international copyright protection?
International copyright treaties have been around for more than a century. The earliest ones with major European nations date back to 18-87. Others were enacted throughout the 20th century.
What can be patented?
According to patent law, you can receive a patent if you create a 'new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.' Let's look at each of those terms: A process applies mostly to manufacturing.
What can't be covered by copyright?
In order to qualify for copyright protection, something has to exist in a physical form, whether it's a printed piece or on another medium like film or a computer disk.
What does "patent pending" mean?
In order to get a product on the market as quickly as possible, manufacturers sometimes use the phrase 'Patent pending' on products. This means that an application for a patent has been filed with the Patent and Trademark Office, but that the patent hasn't actually been granted.
Who can claim copyright?
In general, whoever creates a work owns the copyright to it, but there are exceptions. In order to qualify for copyright protection, something has to exist in a physical form, whether it's a printed piece or on another medium like film or a computer disk.
Who can obtain a trademark?
Anyone marketing a product automatically receives a trademark simply by selling the product under that name. If you want to, you can alert the public to the fact that the trademark is yours by adding the capital letters T-M after the name.


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