August 1, 2014

Patents, Copyrights & Trademarks

Protect your intellectual property with patents for new products, trademarks for names, and symbols or copyrights for artistic works.

| 3/2/2009

Resources

U.S. Copyright Office
copyright.gov
(202) 707-3000

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
uspto.gov
(800) 786-9199

Patents: Original machines, technical processes or methods, manufactured items and chemical compositions may be patented. “Utility patents,” for new inventions or functional improvements of existing inventions, remain in effect for 20 years; “design patents” are effective for 14 years.

Inventors should apply to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for a patent or a provisional patent (only available in some cases) as soon as possible.

The PTO’s website includes searchable databases and downloadable forms.

Copyrights: Original writing, musical works, artistic designs and other works of expression are protected under federal copyright law, which gives the author exclusive rights to use the works.

Although an author’s copyright is automatic when a work is created, a copyright notice informs the public and competitors that the work is protected.

For a copyright notice, place the word “copyright” or the symbol ©, the year of first publication and the name of the owner of the copyright. A copyright can be registered through the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress. Copyrights last 70 years after the author’s death.

Trademarks: These are words (“Where Shopping is a Pleasure” from Publix), symbols (Outback Steakhouse’s kangaroo logo), names (Gator Nation), Internet domain names (FloridaTrend.com), packaging (Truly Nolen’s mouse vehicle) and labeling (SOMA BY
CHICO’S) that distinguish one business’s product from another’s.

Trademarks may be registered through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or, for more limited state protection, with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations (see “dba Florida”).



Business Toolbox
The Basics
Choosing a Legal Structure
Preparing a Business Plan
Fast Money Factoring
Certified Development Cos
SBA Lending
Forms, Permits & Licenses
Copyrights & Trademarks
Labor Law Basics
Taxes
Insurance Basics
Selling to the Government

Tags: Florida Small Business

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick -

Back-to-school sales tax holiday this weekend
Back-to-school sales tax holiday this weekend

Stock-up time in Florida: The three-day sales tax holiday starts today and will save shoppers on clothing, school supplies, and computers.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Your thoughts about fast-food workers joining unions:

  • Good idea - they need more bargaining power (and possibly higher wages)
  • Not in favor - bad for business and the price of burgers

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe