A copyright is a form of legal protection for "original works of authorship." Screenplays, music, employee handbooks and commercial brochures are examples of work that is eligible for copyright protection, giving owners the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and display their work. Legal protection is extended as soon as the work is created. Registration provides the owner with establishing public awareness of its use.
Understanding Copyright Law Need an answer that can’t be found on the U.S. Copyright Office Web site? Copyright information in plain English can be found at http://www.Nolo.com. Visit the U.S. Copyright Office for answers to frequently asked questions about copyright law and usage.
U.S. Library of Congress
James Madison Memorial Building
Washington, D.C. 20559
(202) 7079100 Order Line
(202) 7073000 Information Line
For businesses, trademarks are one of the most valuable forms of intellectual property. A trademark is any word, combination of words, or symbol attached to a product or service. It is the chief means of identification for a product or service, which when marketed, becomes a brand. Because success for most businesses depends on how recognizable their brand becomes, taking the steps to protect trademarks from imitators is critical.
Search, Registration and Filing
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is the primary source of patent and trademark registration protection used by U.S. and international businesses.
To register a trademark, contact:
U.S. Department of Commerce
2021 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, Virginia 22202
(703) 3058341 or (800) 7869199
Federal vs. State
Federal intellectual property registration entitles the owner to use trademarks, patents and copyright throughout the United States, and provides some protection internationally as well. State governments also allow for the registration of intellectual property, although the protection provided is comparatively limited. Furthermore, most state governments will only register trademarks and will not allow the registration of copyrights or patents.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is the primary source of patent and trademark registration protection used by U.S. and international businesses. The U.S. Copyright Office is the authority concerning U.S. Copyright law and filing procedures.