Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Illinois

How to copy right

I have a term I'd like to copy right (if it's not already been done). Can you tell me the process to (1) find out if it's already copy righted and, if not, (2) how I go about doing so?


Asked on 8/21/99, 1:55 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Bruce Burdick Burdick Law Firm

Re: How to copy right

I notice that the prior two replies do not really answer your question. One asks you why you want to copyright your term and the other says perhaps you mean trademark rather than copyright. Your question indicates you do not know the difference between a trademark and a copyright. Almost certainly what you are talking about is a trademark.

Your first question was "Can you tell me the process to (1) find out if it's already copy righted"

You can check its availability for free at (follow the links to the trademark full search page). It is also useful to check by use of a search engine such as to see if someone is using it without registration. Or, alternatively, an intellectual property lawyer can arrange a search or do the search.

Finally, to get a registration for your trademark, which is advisable because of the extra rights a registration confers, you should contact a knowledgable intellectual property lawyer. The cost of filing an application for registration of a trademark or service mark will probably be $500-900 depending on whether a design is involved and what proof, if any, you have of actual use of the mark in commerce.

For more information see, my website. You are to be commended for asking before proceeding.

Your second question was "and, if not, (2) how I go about doing so?"

Trademarks are automatic. You gain rights by using them in commerce. If you have used it, you have rights. However, if someone used it first, they may have superior rights and you may be a trademark infringer. You will ultimately want to register your trademark, and for that you should see an intellectual property attorney experienced in trademarks.

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Answered on 8/25/99, 6:05 pm
Joseph Taddeo Attorney Joseph H. Taddeo

Re: How to copy right

Copyrights for text material must be longer than one, two or just a few words, because copyright registration is for literary and other artworks. A text word or phrase would not then have enough artistic content for registration.

If, however, your term will be used to identify goods or services, then you may want to trademark the term. Trademark applications can be filed on the basis of actual use or on an "intent to use" the trademark or servicemark in the future.

While copyright registrations last longer, (75 to 100 years), trademarks must be renewed in 5 years, and then 10 years thereafter; and they are perpetually renewable so long as you continue using the mark.

Please advise if I can be of assistance.

Joseph H. Taddeo

Four Commerce Park Square

23240 Chagrin Blvd., #600

Cleveland, OH - 44122


e-Mail: [email protected]

PH: (216) 382-4848

FX: (216) 464-7609

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Answered on 8/25/99, 9:25 am

Re: How to copy right

WHY do you want to copyright it? Are you planning to make money somehow providing a service or product that goes under that name? If so, you may need a trademark. What's the term, and in what state(s) (all is appropriate, if you have big plans!) do you wish protection? You can write to me in confidence at [email protected]

Copyrights protect books, songs, compilations of various things, programs, arrangements of various things, etc., and are used to prevent someone republishing your creations.

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Answered on 8/25/99, 10:04 am

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