Intellectual Property Blog

Trademark Registration or Copyright Registration, What is the Difference, and Do I Need One?

Do you own a business? Or are you an author, photographer, or composer who openly publishes your work? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then it might be beneficial to ask yourself: “Do I own any trademarks? Have I published any works that need copyright protection?”  You may even ask yourself: “What is the difference between a copyright and a trademark?” A trademark is defined as “a symbol, words, stylized words, or […]

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Joint Ownership of Intellectual Property Means You Cannot Act Alone

I recently came across an interesting legal case involving joint ownership and trademark registration. Here is an overview of the case and its implications. Yogi Bhajan was an Indian-born yoga and spiritual teacher who introduced his version of Kundalini yoga to the West in the late 1960s. When he died in 2004, he left behind his widow, Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Puri, along with the Yogi Bhajan Administrative Trust (YBAT). Puri and YBAT have been battling […]

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Business Owners Who Ignore Their “Signs” Do So At Their Own Peril

I have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, as well as small, medium, and large businesses. So trust me when I say that I understand starting a business and keeping it operating takes a lot of determination, planning, and an open mind. Those who are the most successful not only recognize when they face a problem that could significantly impact their business, but also have the smarts and humility to seek out skilled help in these […]

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Do Not Ignore Cease and Desist Letters

Imagine this scenario: You receive a cease and desist letter from a law firm. It says you are committing trademark infringement and/or copyright infringement. What do you do? Let’s take this step by step: 1. Do. Not. Ignore. It. The circular file is not the appropriate place for the letter. If you ignore it, the attorney who sent the letter will eventually file a lawsuit in federal court against you for trademark infringement and/or copyright […]

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Should You Register Your Copyrights?

I meet many business owners and individuals who have written books or manuals, taken professional photographs, created artwork, or written music, and they never register the copyrights for the original works with the U.S. Copyright Office. Some people just do not think about the issue of registering the copyrights for their original works. Others think it is too expensive to register their copyrights. So here are some facts to consider. Copyright registration is voluntary. You […]

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I Invented a Word. How Do I Trademark or Copyright It?

“I invented a new word. How do I trademark it?”  This is a question I was asked by a potential client this week. My response was, “What is the product or service?”  There was a long pause. A word is not a trademark — unless it is used to identify a product or service for a business in commerce and distinguishes the products/services from others.  Historically, a tradesmen who crafted a knife, tools, or guns […]

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