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FL IP lawyerA trademark can mean everything to the viability of a business. A trademark is defined as a phrase, symbol, or word utilized to identify a business. For many of the country’s most successful businesses, their trademark has become a meaningful aspect of our consumer society. All that understood, here in the United States trademark infringement is taken incredibly seriously. The punishment for trademark infringement can ruin a person’s reputation and financially devastate their financial goals. Below we will examine just what trademark infringement truly is, and what the legal ramifications of infringement can be. If you have been accused of trademark infringement, it is paramount to speak with a qualified attorney immediately.

What Is Trademark Infringement?

In the event of trademark infringement, the trademark owner has the right to file a civil lawsuit addressing the violation. The process of infringement takes place when a person or corporation’s intellectual property is utilized, reproduced, or even sold without the company’s permission. In order to prove that infringement took place, there are a number of criteria that must be met. For instance, the trademark in this instance has to be owned by the victim. The attorneys for the victim also must be able to prove that the accused had access to the trademark and knowingly used the trademark without the permission of the owner.

What Trademark Infringement Could Cost You

Due to the financial toll that trademark infringement can take on a company, the punishment for infringement can be significant. Trademark infringement can constitute either a civil or criminal offense. In a civil copyright infringement case, a person may have to pay up to $30,000 in infringement fines. In a case in which the offender was willfully infringing they could be forced to pay as much as $150,000. It should be noted that trademark infringement can cost you in more than just finances. For additional information on the impact of a trademark infringement accusation, contact our team of cyberlaw professionals.

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FL copyright lawyerCopyrighting your intellectual property is simply a good idea. When you have put so much time and effort into creating something, the last thing you want is for others to be able to steal your work and cash in on it themselves. Copyrights can protect a wide array of property, though it does not cover your ideas, operational methods, or facts. The following, however, can be protected with copyright:

  • Written work like novels, poetry, short stories, etc.
  • Dramatic writings
  • Movies
  • Musicals and songs
  • Art such as paintings, drawings, and more
  • Architectural designs

Can Your Website Be Copyrighted?

Although your actual website and domain name do not fall on the list of items that can be covered by copyright, the content you place on the website (or at least some of it) does. There is a fine line about what can be covered or not. For example:

  • A book of recipes can be copyrighted, while a list of ingredients cannot
  • A song can be copyrighted, while the name of a band cannot
  • A written expression or work of art can often be copyrighted, while a slogan or logo cannot (although some of these may qualify for trademarking)
  • A written or drawn representation of your idea may qualify to be copyrighted, but the actual idea itself cannot

How to Establish a Copyright on Your Works

An author or artist who has created a particular work is eligible to copyright that work. If more than one person was involved in the creation, then the joint authors or artists must both be involved in the copyright process. The work must not have been created as part of the creator’s duties under employment for another party.

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FL cyberlaw attorneyParenting in this age of technology brings about challenges that parents of the past never had to worry about. When they are not being monitored, children can have the whole world at their fingertips via smartphones, tablets, personal computers, smart watches, and other means. However, if they are under 13, businesses must comply with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), or parents may be able to take legal action, and the businesses or organizations that own the websites or apps may face heavy fines.

What Is the COPPA Rule?

Any website or online service that may collect personal information from children under the age of 13 must follow the rules of COPPA. This includes multiple types of apps such as games, social media, toys that connect to the internet, and many more internet-connected services that children may use. However, it also includes plug-ins, advertising, location-based services, etc. Companies that regularly collect personal information should be careful to ensure that they are compliant with COPPA.

“Personal information” can include anything from full name, address, phone number, or a screen name through which the user can be contacted to social security number, cookie number or IP address, photo or video of the child, or even an audio recording of the child’s voice. This means that some of the information covered by COPPA is not even manually entered by the child, but rather comes from the connection through the computer or handheld device itself.

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Tampa trademarks and intellectual property lawyerHow exactly can your trademark be infringed upon? According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, trademark infringement occurs when anyone uses your trademark without permission “on or in connection with goods and/or services” in a way that will “cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services.”

This means that trademark infringement occurs if the use of your mark, or something too similar, might cause consumers to become confused, even if the infringing party used your trademark unintentionally. This is why individuals and companies must be careful when choosing a trademark in the first place, since a trademark should not be something that can be easily confused with other marks. Trademark protections allow you to protect your brand from being associated with others that may not offer the same quality of work or products that you do.

Determining Whether Your Trademark Has Been Infringed

There are several factors that go into establishing that your trademark has been infringed before taking legal action. Your trademark must have been legally established first, prior to the other individual or company using the mark. The infringing use of your trademark must be similar enough that people could be confused in some way when buying the goods or services. 

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Florida trademark attorney registration infringementNo one wants their ideas and dreams to be stolen. Sometimes, there is a fine line between what is yours and what someone else can legally use. When there is a question, a knowledgeable intellectual property attorney can determine if that line has been crossed. When you own a trademark, it is important to understand your rights and your options for addressing infringement.

Choosing Your Trademark

Trademarks are symbols, sometimes including a name and/or other words, that identify your product. When people see these symbols, they think of your company or your product. Trademarks make it easy to recognize a particular manufacturer or brand, and they can be registered to keep others from using something too similar which could confuse consumers. 

This is why it is important before you choose a trademark to consult an attorney and ensure that your trademark is original enough to avoid scrutiny. Attorneys can conduct a trademark search to ensure that your desired trademark is not already in use. Even simply using your own company’s name could be an infringement on some other business’s trademark, so it must be chosen carefully.

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