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Podcast Episode #55 – Business law attorney discusses trademarks and copyrights.
If there’s one things that throws business owners for a loop, it’s the legal aspect of running a business, and especially the fuzzy legal rules of marketing. But hey, we’re entrepreneurs, not lawyers, right? It’s difficult to distinguish between trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets. When do we need to take legal action to protect our intellectual property assets?
Hold off on hiring that attorney until after you listen to this podcast. Business law attorney Danny Bronski, of Veri-Trademark in Seattle, is our guest on this episode of Power to the Small Business. He fills us in on the distinction between a trademark and a copyright, when it is appropriate to take action or not to take action, and even how much it might cost.
|Photo Credit: Horia Valan|
Guest: Danny Bronski, Veri-Trademark, Seattle, WA
Length: 26 minutes
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SORTING OUT THE TERMS
I. Patents – Indicate ownership of an idea.
II. Copyright – Ownership of the expression of an idea.
III. Trademark – Anything that identifies or distinguishes a good or service.
– Company names are not necessarily trademarked. Trademarks apply to goods and services. Goes beyond names. It includes anything that a consumer would use to identify something as coming from a company or being able to determine that it doesn’t come from another company.
· By seeking to protect something with a trademark, you’re also taking on some obligations. One of which is an obligation to police the market for competing trademarks that might be problematic.
– Trademark as you go. Don’t wait until you have a bunch of stuff to trademark before you decide to move on it.
– Don’t be zealous and overprotect stuff. Determine what’s actually driving value to your business. Start with your leading product or service, the most important thing you’re trying to sell, trademark the name.
– A trademark doesn’t act as a shield as much as a sword. It doesn’t actively protect you against much of anything.
– Registering a copyright has to go beyond creating something and thinking it’s cool. You have to be thinking in terms of, what value does this have, and how far am I willing to go to assert that value?
Small Biz Social Media Summit, June 5-6, 2010 – Hutchinson, Kansas