Protecting your marketing ideas””a primer on copyrights and trademarks

[As a strategic marketing agency, we have helped many clients develop uniquely branded advertising campaigns that have propelled their businesses to the next level. But did you know that if you do not take the extra step to copyright or trademark these ideas, you leave yourself wide open to competitive infringements?
Once you have developed that “big idea,” new tag line, logo, slogan, interactive flash, etcetera, we encourage you to consider copyrighting or trademarking your ideas so they are protected for your exclusive use.
What’s the difference between a copyright and a trademark?
Copyrights
Copyrights protect original works from authorship that can be produced, reproduced, and communicated in a tangible medium. These include TV and radio commercials, photographs or images, print ads, logos, and other traditional and interactive artwork.
Copyrights do not protect slogans, phrases, ideas, or brand names. A copyright is denoted by the symbol ©.
Trademarks
Trademarks are used to protect slogans, names, and concepts. They use either a “trade” or “service” mark. Manufacturers or merchants will use a trademark to identify their goods and distinguish them from those manufactured by competitors. A service mark protects and distinguishes services.
Both are identifiable by the use of either a “TM” or “SM.” These symbols mean the work is pending application, submission, and approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. When the trade- or service mark is finally registered, then ® is used for both trademarks and service marks.
If you are not protecting your valuable marketing materials and strategies, then you should seriously consider it. The process is relatively easy and inexpensive, and it offers invaluable protection for your “big ideas.”
As always, if you need more information, please give us a call.
Until next month…

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