Copyright & Trademark FAQs
What is a copyright and how is it useful?
Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship.” This includes literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works as well as computer software. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. The Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to conduct and authorize various acts, including reproduction, public performance and making derivative works. Copyright protection is automatically secured when a work is fixed into a tangible medium such as a book, software code, video, etc. In some instances, the University registers copyrights, but generally not until a commercial product is ready for manufacture.
For creative works such as books, musical performances, are, etc., the author reatins the copyright. For computer software (source code) and related works (like the appearance of the graphical user interface) AzTE often will pursue copyright registration.
What is a trademark or service mark and how is it useful?
A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or combination, that is used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from those manufactured or sold by others, and also to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name. A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or combination that is used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the services. Trademarks are a commercial entity and thus AzTE does not file for or assist with trademark registrations (e.g., as for the company name/product name/prodenct trade dress for a startup company.
What is trademark registration?
Trademark registration is a procedure in which the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) provides a determination of rights based upon legitimate use of the mark. However, it is not necessary to register a trademark or service mark to prevent others from infringing upon the trademark. Trademarks generally become protected as soon as they are adopted by an organization and used in commerce, even before registration. With a federal trademark registration, the registrant is presumed to be entitled to use the trademark throughout the United States for the goods or services for which the trademark is registered.