Experienced Copyright and Trademark Attorneys

Skilled copyright and trademark attorneys can help protect your intellectual property

In a highly competitive marketplace, branding can be even more valuable than the actual product. If your company has worked to establish a trademark that signifies its reputation for quality, you must guard it zealously. Similarly, if yours is an emerging company looking to make a splash, you don’t want to be constrained unnecessarily in your marketing efforts. At Charisse Hines Law, we can help protect your brand by registering your trademark.

How U.S. trademark law protects your commercial rights

To qualify for legal protection, a trademark must be used in commerce and must be distinctive. There are four categories of distinctiveness:

  • Arbitrary/fanciful. These marks bear no logical relationship to the underlying product, but are inherently distinctive and through their use in commerce become indelibly associated with a particular company. Courts determine exclusive rights based only on priority of use.
  • Suggestive. These marks evoke or suggest a characteristic of the underlying product. As with arbitrary/fanciful marks, exclusive rights go to the first company to use them in commerce.
  • Descriptive. These marks overtly describe a characteristic or quality of the product. To qualify for protection, the mark must acquire a secondary meaning through its use in commerce. The buying public must primarily associate the mark with a particular company rather than a class of products.
  • Generic. Because generic marks refer to a general class of products, rather than those coming from a unique source, the law does not protect them. A mark can be judged generic when first proposed or may become generic over time and therefore lose its legal protection.

A trademark need not be registered to have federal or state protection, but registered marks do offer numerous advantages. Registration serves as constructive notice of ownership nationwide, and the ownership may be incontestable after five years of continuous use.

Registering your copyright

Once you have produced a piece of art, you maintain the exclusive right to print, sell, copy, license, distribute and use your work as you see fit. In addition to providing potential financial benefits, copyright protects the integrity of your work by allowing you to direct the manner in which it is used. For work created after 1978, the U.S. Copyright Office grants copyright for the full extent of an author’s or creator’s life plus 50 years. Copyright is recognized by many countries through the Universal Copyright Convention, so your protection extends internationally.

Contact one of our intellectual property attorneys

Charisse Hines Law provides quality legal representation to companies needing copyright and trademark protection. To schedule a consultation, call Charisse Hines Law at 571-549-2635 or contact us online.