IT'S SIMPLE AND VERY IMPORTANT FOR ALL "WEBMASTERS" TO UNDERSTAND AND ALL WEBSITES TO PROPERLY DISPLAY APPROPRIATELY
A Copyright -- © -- is a form of protection provided to authors of “original works of authorship”, both published and unpublished. Copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject of the expression.
Federal copyright registrations are issued by the U.S. Copyright Office. They give the copyright owner exclusive rights to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies of the work, and to perform and display the work publicly.
A Trademark -- ™ -- is a word, name, symbol or device which indicates the source of a product and distinguishes it from the products of others.
A servicemark -- SM -- identifies and distinguishes the source of a service instead of a product.
Trademarks are issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. They prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but cannot prevent others from making the same products or from selling the same products under a clearly different mark.
WARNING: You are ONLY allowed to use the Registered Trademark symbol -- ® -- if you have properly registered your Mark and been approved and issued a Registration File Number (not an application number, folks, but an Official Filed Number). If you use the symbol unauthorized, you may be subject to legal penalty.
A Patent is the grant of a property right to an inventor. What is granted is the right to exclude others from using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention.
Patents are issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Visit The Official United States Patent & Trademark Office It is recommended that you fully register and file to fully protect your assets. A simple process, it allows you the full protective recourse of the United States Government which enforces via the FBI and Interpol (for International situations). There is no substitute, and half-measures availeth not!
*Be especially careful about using a domain name that is similar to one already in use, even though it may be an extension reserved for another country (for example "widgetmaster.com" and "widgetmaster.co.uk") for inasmuch it is still hosted in the US or by a US registered Provider, this would constitute a clear violation of infringement as defined by the US Patent and Trademark office whether or not the name has been Registered or applied for registration and is also by definition a violation of US Copyright Laws.
This becomes a legal liability, and is reason a "first user" to file a complaint with ICANN (the world-wide issurer of domain names) which may result in revocation of the domain, forced transfer, and/or monetary damages to be paid, is not contingent upon the violating party to reside or conduct business within the US for any claim to be deemed valid or to affect enforceability.
It is all about preponderance of intent, use, and common variations of a prior use or promoted "mark" to unfairly confuse the public or to dilute the recognizability of a pre-established ongoing operation.
Many larger businesses also go as far as to pre-empt such plagiaristic efforts by unethical "come-lately's" by purchasing similar sounding or variant surrounding domains and re-directing them to the main site, such as these comparisons:
- widgetmaker.com >> violating variant >> widgetmakers.com, widgetmaker.net, widgetmaker.it
The following second group represent potential violations, depending on when they were created, which market they are being promoted (piggy-backing, parallel, or shadowing first user), and how similar the product or service is to the first user -- based on the different formatting of the name itself (which demonstrates clear intent to confuse the general public):
- widgetmaker.com >> violating variant >> awidgetmaker.com,widgetmaker2.com, firstwidgetmaker.com, so on, IF the latter sells comparable, similar, or non-differentiating widgets to either the same market or side-by-side to the first user
- widgetmaker.com >> violating variant >> widgetmaker.net /-.co.uk / etc. for this is even a clear demonstrated effort to cause deliberate confusion on the consumer, as well as dilute the recognized "brand" of the first user; additionally this constitutes 3rd degree fraud according to the US Code, for it literally "steals" the Good Will of the first user that has been earned, built, and created for that first user exclusively, as Good Will is considered an "asset" to any operation that has been affirmed to have tangible value in the sale or overall valuation of the business' worth.
Something to keep in mind when finding the "right" domain name, and an indication of how important it is to maintain ethical behavior in all areas of your internet presence.
And you thought all you had to watch out for is plagiarism!