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U.S. Supreme Court Says You Need a Copyright Registration to Sue for Copyright Infringement


While the rest of the country engages in endless battles over the Supreme Court, the Justices themselves recently got together and rendered a unanimous verdict: in order to sue someone for copyright infringement, you need a copyright registration which has been officially issued by the United States Copyright Office. The relevant part of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §411(a), states that “no civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until . . . registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title.” That sounds pretty straightforward, right? It…

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Can a Trademark Application Be Expedited?


There are many benefits to owning a trademark that’s been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, trademark applicants are often frustrated with how long it takes to enjoy those benefits. This is because the USPTO takes a long time to process and register trademarks. However, there are some circumstances in which the trademark registration process can be expedited. When people ask me “How long will it take for me to obtain a trademark registration?“, I usually give an estimate of 9 months. Sometimes it goes a bit faster, sometimes the process takes much longer. This…

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3 Reasons to Register Your Trademark Internationally


Clients often ask me to assist in protecting their trademarks “worldwide”. This makes perfect sense. If your products or services are sold in multiple countries, why shouldn’t your brand names and logos be protected everywhere they reach? Once upon a time, most products were sold locally, or only in the country where they were produced. Unfortunately, trademark law is still largely stuck in that antiquated paradigm. Trademark law is “territorial”, which means that rights are determined separately in each country (or group of countries, such as the EU). This means that if your trademark is protected in the U.S. by…

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Should I Register My Logo as a Trademark?


In theory, anything that identifies your business as the source of your products or services can be a trademark. But in practice, when we talk about trademarks, we’re usually referring to business names, brand names, slogans, and logos. The last category hasn’t gotten as much attention on this blog as some of the others, so let’s remedy that today. Logos can function as trademarks just like any other brand identifier can. In the world of trademark law, we refer to logos as “Design Marks” as opposed to “Word Marks”. Of course, a logo can be a pure design, or it…

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