Summer just started… but we are truly in the dog days of summer here with an unending heat wave.  To break up the monotony of the heat, I have a special offer below.

But before then, I thought I would explain the difference between copyrights and trademarks and patents.  This is one of the things I get asked almost every week — if not more often.  People know they may need something — but they aren’t quite sure what.  Understanding the difference is important for lots of legal reasons — but from the business owners standpoint, there are different costs and price points depending on what you need.  If you are planning to invest in your business this way, you need to know which one will deliver what you are looking for so that you can plan the right amount for the investment.

Copyrights and Trademarks are similar — but they are not the same thing.

Copyrights protect the written word — books, articles, website contents; music — arrangements, recordings, lyrics; performing arts and movies — the script, the performance, the DVD; visual art — photographs, paintings, drawings.

Trademarks protect things like logos, product names, business names and taglines. They protect marks that are “in commerce” (i.e. used to sell a product or service).

While both require an application and a filing fee, they are governed by separate government agencies and have different requirements in order to be formally registered.

Both offer protection to the item registered, as well as statutory penalties for people who violate the rights of registered works and marks.

There is also a significant price difference. The filing fees for copyrights can be as low as $30 or so. Trademark filing fees start at $225. That’s the main reason for the difference in my fees for the services — it’s all in the filing fee paid to the governing agency.

And what about patents…. patents are also governed by the US Patent and Trademark office — but, they require a specialized attorney (a patent attorney) who has passed an additional exam and who has a background in science.  I am not a patent attorney, but I am happy to help you identify what needs protected and to help you find the right person to help you.  My understanding is that patents are more expensive, both in terms of legal fees and filing fees.  Patents are used for designs, formulas, inventions and other more technical ideas.

What about that special?

If you’ve been on the fence on trademarking your logo or copyrighting that great new piece of artwork, this is the time to pay attention.

We have a special that is good only until Thursday, June 28:

Trademarks – $500 (a savings of $250!)

Copyrights – $150 (a savings of $100!)

If you have any questions, please let me know.  Again, these savings opportunities are only available until Thursday!