There is some confusion about copyright laws and how they pertain to copyrighting names and ideas. A copyright is meant to protect intellectual property that includes the creation of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Examples of these types of materials includes novels, stories, poems, song lyrics, music, paintings, sculptures, drawings and other tangible works of intellectual property reflecting a fully realised version of an idea. Titles and ideas are not eligible for copyright, but the material developed into a finished work based upon titles and ideas can be. A patent, or trademark, however, may cover the name of a website if certain criteria apply. Find out how to secure a trademark that will protect the name of your website from being used by anyone else.
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Determine first if the name you want to trademark belongs to anyone else (see Resources). If the name in question has already been trademarked, you will need to find another name. If you already use that name on your website, you are using a trademarked name, and the trademark owner has legal right to ask that you cease using it. If the name has not been trademarked, you can make an application to trademark the name.
Visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to apply for your trademark. Application doesn't guarantee you will be granted the trademark. The office will determine if the name meets the criteria necessary to secure a trademark. A trademark, also known as a brand name, is a word, symbol or combination that represents and identifies parties involved in commerce and distinguishes one seller from another. The trademark office will determine if you have a name that makes you money and that, if used by anyone else, might confuse the buying public.
Fill out your application, and pay your fee online, then wait for notification. You can track the progress of your trademark application by visiting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If the trademark is approved, you will receive a certificate denoting you as the trademark owner of the name in question.
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