Copyright Law in Minnesota

Trademarks are created not only to protect the intellectual property of Minnesota creators, but also the consumer who may wish to partake in this creator’s goods or services. Trademarks are a good faith effort by those conducting business that they are not intentionally trying to mislead a consumer by tying their goods or services to someone else. To protect your creative work, as well as establish good faith with consumers, you should file an application for a trademark. When you do, you may want to hire an established copyright attorney in Minnesota.

What Is Copyright Registration?

Copyright registration offers the author of a piece of work in Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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:

  • Logos
  • Symbols
  • Product packages
  • Name of the business
  • Name of the product or service
  • Designs

The Minnesota Secretary of State breaks down and simplifies the trademark filing procedure for those creative seeking to establish a trademark in the state. When you are filing your application you must be certain to submit a specimen of the mark that has been used in commerce. Acceptable examples of submissions could be:

  • Labels
  • Letterhead
  • Business Cards
  • Advertisements

You’ll also need to include in the application any words or phrases that go along with the trademark. In addition, you have to include a written description of the logo you’re applying to trademark. This description should depict the design exactly as it appears on the application.

How Long Does It Take to Register a Trademark and Copyright?

Barring any mistakes, or unforeseen problem with your application, you could receive your trademark in as little as 8 months. However, the USPTO states that many applicants must go through an additional screening process that pushes the timeline between 12 and 18 months.

Regardless, advises that you apply for a trademark as soon as possible. This advice comes for 2 reasons. One, it will prevent any other business entities from attempting to use a similar name, slogan, or design. Two, a successful application means that you are ready for your own design. Therefore you are not infringing upon someone else’s business. This nuanced area of the law can be complicated to navigate. But, an experienced Minnesota copyright attorney can help keep you from making mistakes in your application process.

What’s the Difference Between a Trademark and a Copyright?

The value of your Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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.

Minnesota 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 Minnesota. 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 Minnesota copyright attorneys that can guide you through every step? We can even help you connect with an attorney across Minnesota 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!

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