Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

What is a trademark?

When New York entrepreneurs and visionaries hear of the terms 'copyright' and 'trademark', they may intermingle them and not be aware of the subtle differences between them. Understanding the differences is the first step to determining whether a Manhattan resident needs to apply for either to protect their work.

A copyright protects original works-that means an author can protect their writings, a musician their music and other authors can protect any work that has been tangibly expressed.

In contrast to this, a trademark is either a symbol, word or a design that makes it possible to differentiate one good from another-it is the identifying and distinguishing mark of the good. Similarly, a service mark is one that identifies and differentiates a service from others. Trademarks are generally used to refer to them collectively.

It is not mandatory to register a mark, but it definitely has its benefits, such as the exclusive right to use that mark in connection with the goods or services for which it was registered. It is important to note that even though a business name generally cannot be trademarked, other use of the business name in conjunction with a service or a good may qualify as a trademark use.

It is important to protect one's intellectual property, as New York residents put a lot of time and effort in their business enterprises and a copyright infringement or trademark misappropriation can have a serious impact on their business standing and reputation. In order to ensure their rights and their work is protected, a New York resident can consider consulting an experienced attorney for guidance.

Source: USPTO, "United States Patent and Trademark Office," Accessed on April 14, 2015

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