Copyright Law in Wisconsin
Where do you see your business going in the next ten years? Do you imagine it will be as well-known as Harley Davidson, Culvers, or the Miller Brewing Company?
There are many secrets to the accomplishments of these brands. Often, a critical aspect is their dedication to their trademarks and copyrights. The challenge is that obtaining intellectual property is more complicated than filling out forms. Discover why you may need a local attorney by reading our article today!
What Is Copyright Registration?
Copyright registration offers the author of a piece of work in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 Department of Financial Institutions takes care of registering trademarks for businesses in Wisconsin. The fee is only $15, and a successful application results in ten years of legal protection for your brand. However, you want to keep close track of the expiration date. The state requires that you apply for renewal up to six months before a decade has passed.
How Long Does It Take to Register a Trademark and Copyright?
Registering a trademark will take over a year to accomplish without running into processing delays. According to the USPTO, the total average is twelve to eighteen months. Moreover, the government doesn’t even look at most applications for 24 to 36 weeks. The extensive and complicated nature of the process often motivates business owners to hire legal counsel.
On the other hand, the processing times for the U.S. Copyright Office are more succinct. Most registrations of your work will take roughly three months to accomplish. Delays to the timeline are often due to the availability of staff specialists or forgetting physical deposits.
What’s the Difference Between a Trademark and a Copyright?
The value of your Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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.
Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin. 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 Wisconsin copyright attorneys that can guide you through every step? We can even help you connect with an attorney across Wisconsin 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!