Intellectual Property Resources

Intellectual property - be cautiousIntellectual property is the area of law under which copyright and trademark fall. It is a highly specialized area of law. I typically don’t assist clients in this area.

As a legal document assistant and admin expert, I can assist you to fill out forms and submit them (paper and online) if the process is difficult for you to understand. However, I cannot answer legal questions for you. You may feel that you have a problematic or challenging situation in trademark or copyright. In that case I suggest consulting a qualified attorney, someone with experience in intellectual property.

To start, I would suggest LegalZoom or Nolo Press resources for forms and reference.

A motivated and diligent person can work his way through the federal websites and file papers directly there. First read from a trusted legal resource (e.g. Nolo) to understand the issues. Then decide if and how you wish to file, and how much help you will need.

In my layperson opinion, the copyright filing is much simpler to accomplish than the trademark process.

Here are some basic FAQs, directly from the U.S. Copyright website

How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?

Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.

When is my work protected?

Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?

No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”

Intellectual Property Links

Nolo Press
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
U.S. Copyright Office
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