It is impossible to talk about innovation without intellectual property protection. If individuals and companies have no protection against counterfeiting, fraud, and other wrongdoings against intellectual property, they have no incentives to focus on their research and development.
In this article, you will discover the key differences between trademarks and copyrights in Florida.
Florida Trademark vs. Copyright – Explaining the Concept
What is a Trademark?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a trademark as “any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies goods or services.” A great example of a world-class trademark is the Coca-Cola® logo.
A trademark has three key purposes, which are to identify the source of goods and services, distinguish brands from their competitors, and protect them against counterfeiting and fraud.
While most businesses tend to trademark names, logos, and slogans associated with their goods or services, USPTO also permits the registration of specific color schemes, sounds, and even smells as trademarks.
Trademark rights come from their actual use in business. Both federal and state laws protect unregistered trademarks, which are referred to as “common law” trademarks. Both common law trademarks and registered trademarks can be enforced in court, but registered marks have superior legal protection.
What is a Copyright?
The term “copyright” refers to the exclusive legal right of a content creator (or assignee) to publish, record, print, perform, film, or reproduce works of authorship.
Examples of intellectual property protected by copyrights include literary works, songs, paintings, plays, websites, software, photographs, and other creations of the mind. Please note that copyright does not protect concepts or ideas, but the actual expression of a concept or idea.
For example, a copyright will not protect the concept of painting a bridge over a pond, but it protects Claude Monet’s interpretation of the concept in the painting “The Water Lily Pond.”
It is possible to transfer the ownership of a copyright to another person, but any type of unauthorized use is considered a violation of copyright law.
Florida Trademark vs. Copyright – Which One Should I Register for Legal Protection?
Copyright protections apply to an exact piece of work, while trademarks serve to distinguish competitors in the marketplace and protect owners against the use of confusingly similar marks associated with goods or services.
It is possible to register a trademark or copyright in Florida. A copyright protects original works of authorship as soon as the creators materialize the concept or idea in a tangible form of expression.
The sole existence of an original creative work automatically creates a copyright. Once a copyright exists, any unauthorized use of that original work is considered infringement if the owner can prove the infringer had access to it.
Florida copyright owners can file with the US Copyright Office for formal registration. While registration is not mandatory, it facilitates suing infringing parties in court when necessary.
To register a trademark for additional protection, you can choose to file for state registration with the Florida Department of State or apply for federal registration with the USPTO. State registration is a less expensive and faster option, but federal registration offer superior protection.