Business Trademarks and Copyrights

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mjstrand
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Location: Menomonie, WI, United States
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Business Trademarks and Copyrights

Postby mjstrand » Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:36 pm

Do you think it's important for me to do some kind of trademark thing for Home Domination? Otherwise can someone else steal that? Or is it generally whoever uses it first has the right to it? How about copyrights? Do I need to do something special to have a copyright, or is it enough just to put a copyright notice on stuff without actually filing anything with anybody?

Can you think of anything else I might be dropping the ball on? I'm planning to do an LLC before I release, and I'll buy a copy of QuickBooks, and I'll probably do the Wisconsin sales tax thing shortly after I start selling.

(from Harold Strand)
Mike is president of StrandVision Digital Signage and also does business marketing consulting through MikeStrand.com.

mjstrand
Site Admin
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 8:56 pm
Location: Menomonie, WI, United States
Contact:

Trademarks and copyrights are pretty forgiving

Postby mjstrand » Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:37 pm

Here is a link that is interesing topics on patents, copyrights and trademarks: http://www.sba.gov/young/columbiacollege/k_12.nsf/vwHTMLPages/patents.html

To save on cost, just put a TM after anything you want to trademark, and you are somewhat covered as long as you were first. It takes money to get a trademark, and it takes money to enforce a trademark infringement. If your product is making a good profit, spend the $1000 or so to get the trademark for the United States. If you get international trademarks, plan to pay over that amount per country (some countries are actually lumped together, so you get 5-10 countries for $5000 or so).

Go to http://www.uspto.gov to search on the term to ensure that it is not already registered. You should also search the web for the term in case someone else has it.

As for copyrights, you are protected right away and should put a copyright message. I believe that you can apply for previous year copyrights for up to 7 years. You may want to get in to the habit of doing it each year so that you only have to pay $30 once per year rather than shelling out for multiple years worth at a time. Also, the fee continues to increase, so filing each year may reduce the overall cost. When StrandWare was first started, the filing fees were $10 each I believe. You should file your source code per their instructions (you can get away with just the first and last page in some situations). Also file for protection on your user manual and web site.

Visit http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq for additional answers to copyright questions.
Mike is president of StrandVision Digital Signage and also does business marketing consulting through MikeStrand.com.


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