A trademark is a word or design, or a combination of word and design used to identify the source of a product, and to distinguish one product from another. A service mark performs the same function for services.
Trademarks and service marks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In order to qualify for registration, a mark must be unique, and must be applied to goods or services used in interstate commerce.
Copyright protects the expression of an idea or concept. Ideas are “expressed” in books, movies, music, software, sound recordings and other media.
A copyright is created when an idea is “fixed” or recorded in tangible form. Registration of a copyright in the United States Copyright Office gives the holder or woner of a copyright important procedural rights in addition to the exclusive right to profit from the copyrighted work.
The best trademarks are those that are “arbitrary” and “fanciful”; words that are made up (think “Xerox” or “Exxon”); or whose meaning bears no relation to the products to which they are attached (think “Google”). These marks acquire meaning by virtue of the fact of their application to a specific product; they are the opposite […]