Copyright Law in Maine
Creation and innovation are the engines that drive the future. New products and better ways of doing things create tomorrow. However, creators do not always get the credit they deserve. Unless you protect your intellectual property with a copyright or trademark, you can leave yourself open to someone using your creations without your permission. It may be in your best interest to seek out an experienced attorney in Maine to keep this from happening.
What Is Copyright Registration?
Copyright registration offers the author of a piece of work in Maine some protection from those who attempt to steal their idea.
A novel creation receives copyright protection when it becomes fixed into a tangible form. Copyright law dictates how to establish this ownership. Additionally, it explains how to register intellectual property or defend against infringement.
Copyright registration is a type of public record for ownership. Technically, a piece of work doesn’t require copyright registration for protection under the US copyright law. However, you should register your product in Maine with the help of a copyright lawyer. This can offer you several unique advantages. By doing this you can:
- Protect your work against the importation of copies that infringe the registration. Your registration will be recorded with the United States Customs and Border Protection.
- If your work is already registered in the United States, you can proceed with an infringement lawsuit; otherwise, you will have to register it first.
- The IP owner can seek damages and attorney fees if a copyright registration happens within three months of publication (or prior to an infringement claim).
- If a copyrighted work is registered outside of the three-month time frame, you may seek actual damages that you lost.
- Copyright registration will identify each public record of its existence. This action puts the copyright protection into public notice for the piece of work that you’ve created and/or own.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, symbol, design, or phrase that distinguishes you from another company. Service marks are a type of trademark that a company will use when providing services to the public.Technically, trademarks are a form of intellectual property. It also forms part of the company’s brand, even if they no longer use it.
Here are some of the components that business people and brand owners often trademark:
- Product packages
- Name of the business
- Name of the product or service
The Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions provides insight into the proper way to apply for your trademark protection. You can submit your application either on paper, or electronically. In addition, the Maine BCEC provides a full rundown of the fees that accompany each action when filing for a trademark. As of writing, the fees are as follows:
- $60 application fee
- $60 application for renewal fee
- $40 application for assignment of trademark fee
- $10 amending a trademark fee
- $10 cancellation of trademark fee
However, there is no fee that accompanies actions such as adding a disclaimer, or adding class numbers for trademarks. You may also wish to consult the Maine Trademarks Informational Guide, or seek the counsel of an experienced copyright attorney in Maine.
How Long Does It Take to Register a Trademark and Copyright?
According to the Maine State Government, it takes between 25 and 30 days to process and application for a trademark. This timeline is based on both the backlog of applications, and a first come first serve policy. However, this is only the beginning of the process. The USPTO states that if there are revisions that need to be made to the application, or any issues that need correcting, the time for actually receiving your trademark is between 12-18 months.
This process can seem lengthy, but the alternative is going into the market and having no protection for your intellectual property. When dealing with such a nuanced portion of the law, it may be in your best interest to consult with an experienced Maine copyright attorney.
What’s the Difference Between a Trademark and a Copyright?
The value of your Maine business depends on the assets it owns. It’s important to note that the most valuable assets are not always physical or financial. Your intellectual property counts as assets too. Because of this, if people use those assets without your permission, you can and should file a lawsuit against them for infringement under copyright law.
While trademarks and copyrights protect intellectual property, they cover two different aspects. Copyright registration protects artistic and literary works, such as videos and books. On the other hand, a trademark registration protects brand components. This could be a jingle, a logo, or a mascot of your organization.
Take, for example, if you own a magazine publishing company. You would trademark the logo and the name of your company. However, you would also place copyright protection on all of the magazines that you have published.
Work With an Experienced Maine Copyright Lawyer
Do you have an idea that needs protection under intellectual property law? If so, complete the registration process as soon as possible. There is always the risk that someone else might beat you to it. This eventuality can create complications when the time comes to defend IP rights claims.
Maine copyright lawyers can help you uncover if anyone else has registered a similar idea. If your concept closely resembles another, it might get rejected. Consequently, it is better to find this early than to go through the process only to get denied later. In addition, an intellectual property lawyer will help you to draft critical documents. Or, they can help determine the value of the intellectual property that you own.
An intellectual property lawyer also assesses the quality of the assets. They will look at the number of assets licensed under your name or your business in Maine. This evaluation can help to maximize the entire value of all intangible assets that your company has.
Are you ready to tap into our network of Maine copyright attorneys that can guide you through every step? We can even help you connect with an attorney across Maine state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!