About Patents

l.  What do the terms “patent pending” and “patent applied for” mean?

They are used by a manufacturer or seller of an article to inform the public that an application for patent on that article is on file in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The law imposes a fine on those who use these terms falsely to deceive the public.

2.  Is there any danger that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will give others information contained in my application while it is pending?

Most patent applications filed on or after November 29, 2000 will be published eighteen months after the filing date of the application, or any earlier filing date relied upon under title 35, United States Code. Otherwise, all patent applications are maintained in the strictest confidence until the patent is issued or the application is published. After the application has been published, however, a member of the public may request a copy of the application file. After the patent is issued, the Office file containing the application and all correspondence leading up to issuance of the patent is made available in the Files Information Unit for inspection by anyone and copies of these files may be purchased from the Office.

3.  If two or more persons work together to make an invention, to whom will the patent be granted?

If each had a share in the ideas forming the invention as defined in the claims – even if only as to one claim, they are joint inventors and a patent will be issued to them jointly on the basis of a proper patent application. If, on the other hand, one of these persons has provided all of the ideas of the invention, and the other has only followed instructions in making it, the person who contributed the ideas is the sole inventor and the patent application and patent shall be in his/her name alone.

4.  If a first person furnishes all of the ideas to make an invention and a second person employs the first person or furnishes the money for building and testing the invention, should the patent application be filed by the first and second persons jointly?

No. The application must be signed by the true inventor, and filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in the inventor’s name. This is the person who furnishes the ideas (e.g. the first person in the above fact pattern), not the employer or the person who furnishes the money.

5.  Are there any organizations in my area that can tell me how and where I may be able to obtain assistance in developing and marketing my invention?

Yes. In your own or neighboring communities you may inquire of such organizations as chambers of commerce, and banks. Many communities have locally financed industrial development organizations which can help you locate manufacturers and individuals who might be interested in promoting your idea.

6.  Are there any state government agencies that can help me in developing and marketing of my invention?

Yes. In nearly all states there are state planning and development agencies or departments of commerce and industry which seek new product and new process ideas to assist manufacturers and communities in the state. If you do not know the names or addresses of your state organizations you can obtain this information by writing to the governor of your state.

 About Trademarks

What is a trademark?

A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name.

What is a service mark?

A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.

What is a certification mark?

A certification mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce with the owner’s permission by someone other than its owner, to certify regional or other geographic origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy, or other characteristics of someone’s goods or services, or that the work or labor on the goods or services was performed by members of a union or other organization.

What is a collective mark?

A collective mark is a trademark or service mark used, or intended to be used, in commerce, by the members of a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization, including a mark which indicates membership in a union, an association, or other organization.

Basic Questions

Do I need to register my trademark?

No. However, federal registration has several advantages including notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration.

What are the benefits of federal trademark registration?

1. Constructive notice nationwide of the trademark owner’s claim.
2. Evidence of ownership of the trademark.
3. Jurisdiction of federal courts may be invoked.
4. Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries.
5. Registration may be filed with U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to obtain a federal registration?

No. However, an applicant’s citizenship must be set forth in the record. If an applicant is not a citizen of any country, then a statement to that effect is sufficient. If an applicant has dual citizenship, then the applicant must choose which citizenship will be printed in the Official Gazette and on the certificate of registration.

Are there federal regulations governing the use of the designations “TM” or “SM” with trademarks?

No. Use of the symbols “TM” or “SM” (for trademark and service mark, respectively) may, however, be governed by local, state, or foreign laws and the laws of the pertinent jurisdiction must be consulted. These designations usually indicate that a party claims rights in the mark and are often used before a federal registration is issued.

When is it proper to use the federal registration symbol (the letter R enclosed within a circle — ® — with the mark.

The federal registration symbol may be used once the mark is actually registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Even though an application is pending, the registration symbol may not be used before the mark has actually become registered. The federal registration symbol should only be used on goods or services that are the subject of the federal trademark registration. [Note: Several foreign countries use the letter R enclosed within a circle to indicate that a mark is registered in that country. Use of the symbol by the holder of a foreign registration may be proper.]

What constitutes interstate commerce?

For goods, “Interstate commerce” involves sending the goods across state lines with the mark displayed on the goods or the packaging for the goods. With services, “interstate commerce” involves offering a service to those in another state or rendering a service which affects interstate commerce (e.g. restaurants, gas stations, hotels, etc.).

How do I find out whether a mark is already registered?

In order to determine whether any person or company is using a particular trademark, a trademark search can be conducted.

Is a federal registration valid outside the United States?

No. Certain countries, however, do recognize a United States registration as a basis for registering the mark in those countries. Many countries maintain a register of trademarks. The laws of each country regarding registration must be consulted.


Is it advisable to conduct a search of the Office records before filing an application?


What are common law rights?

Federal registration is not required to establish rights in a trademark. Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark. Generally, the first to either use a mark in commerce or file an intent to use application with the Patent and Trademark Office has the ultimate right to use and registration. However, there are many benefits of federal trademark registration.

What is a common law search? How can I do one? Is doing a common law search necessary?

A common law search involves searching records other than the federal register and pending application records. It may involve checking phone directories, yellow pages, industrial directories, state trademark registers, among others, in an effort to determine if a particular mark is used by others when they have not filed for a federal trademark registration. A common law search is not necessary but some find it beneficial.

In searching the trademark database on the Web there are records that appear to be a registrations but the registration numbers are shown as 0000000. Is this an error?

No, this is not an error. The registration number 0000000 is associated with PTO records that have serial numbers that begin with “89-“. The prefix “89-” is assigned to material that the PTO is obligated to protect either by law or treaty. However, since this material is not actually registered under the Trademark Act, it is not issued a registration number.

There are two types of material that are assigned “89-” serial numbers. One type is material that is used by U.S. federal agencies that should not be registered as trademarks unless the agencies themselves are filing the trademark applications. The second type is material we are obligated to protect under various international treaties. The entities holding this material may be international organizations or foreign governments. These filings are not assigned registration numbers because the “89-” materials are not “registered”; they are only deposited in the PTO for reference and informational purposes. During the PTO examination of pending applications, the “89-” material will be referenced as a bar to the registration of a mark undergoing examination if it is determined that the mark in the application creates a false association with entity holding the “89-” material [15 U.S.C. 1052(a)] or if the “89-” material is the official flag, coat of arms or other insignia of a country or other political entity [15 U.S.C. 1052(b)].

Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights

How do I find out if I need patent, trademark and/or copyright protection?

Patents protect inventions and improvements to existing inventions. Copyrights cover literary, artistic, and musical works. Trademarks are brand names and/or designs which are applied to products or used in connection with services.

How do I register a copyright?

The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) does not handle the registration of copyrights. Register with The Copyright Office, which is part of the Library of Congress.

Application Process

How do I obtain a federal trademark registration?

A registration may be applied for by filing a properly executed application with the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

Who may file an application?

Only the owner of the trademark may file an application for its registration. An application filed by a person who is not the owner of the mark will be declared void. Generally, the person who uses or controls the use of the mark, and controls the nature and quality of the goods to which it is affixed, or the services for which it is used, is the owner of the mark.

What is a specimen?

A specimen is a real-world example of how the mark is actually used on the goods or in the offer of services. Labels, tags, or containers for the goods are considered to be acceptable specimens of use for a trademark. For a service mark, specimens may be advertising such as magazine advertisements or brochures. Actual specimens, rather than facsimiles, are preferred. However, if the actual specimens are bulky, or larger than 8½” x 11″, then the applicant must submit facsimiles, (e.g., photographs or good photocopies) of the specimens. Facsimiles may not exceed 8½” x 11″. ONE SPECIMEN IS REQUIRED FOR EACH CLASS OF GOODS OR SERVICES SPECIFIED IN THE APPLICATION.

Specimens are required in applications based on actual use in commerce, Section 1(a), 15 U.S.C. §1051(a), and must be filed with the Amendment to Allege Use, 15 U.S.C. §1051(c), or the Statement of Use, 15 U.S.C. §1051(d), in applications based on a bona fide intention to use the mark in commerce, Section 1(b), 15 U.S.C. §1051(b). Specimens are not required for applications based on Section 44 of the Trademark Act (for owners of foreign trademark applications and registrations), 15 U.S.C. §1126.

What is the drawing?

The “drawing” is a page which depicts the mark applicant seeks to register. In an application based on actual use, Section 1(a), 15 U.S.C. §1051(a), the drawing must show the mark as it is actually used, i.e., as shown by the specimens. In the case of an application based on a bona fide intention to use, Section 1(b), 15 U.S.C. §1051(b), the drawing must show the mark as the applicant intends to use it. In an application based on a foreign application or foreign registration, Sections 44(d) or 44(e), 15 U.S.C. §§1126(d) and (e), the drawing must depict the mark as it appears or will appear on the foreign registration. The applicant cannot register more than one mark in a single application. Therefore, the drawing must display only one mark.

If an applicant submits specimens, is a drawing still required?

Yes. A drawing is required in all applications, and is used by the Office for several purposes, including printing the mark in the Official Gazette, and ultimately, on the registration certificate itself. Specimens, on the other hand, are required as evidence that a mark is in actual use in commerce.

Do I need an attorney to file my application?

No, but an applicant is responsible for observing and complying with all substantive and procedural issues and requirements whether or not represented by an attorney.

On what bases can a foreign applicant file an application for registration?

1.  Use in interstate commerce or commerce between the United States and a foreign country.
2.  Bona fide or good faith intention to use the mark in interstate commerce or commerce between the United States and a foreign country.
3.  Ownership of an application filed in a foreign country (if within six months of the foreign filing date).
4.  Ownership of a foreign registration (with a certified copy).

Can the Office refuse to register a mark?

Yes. The Office will refuse to register matter if it does not function as a trademark. Not all words, names, symbols or devices function as trademarks. For example, matter which is merely the generic name of the goods on which it is used cannot be registered.

Additionally, Section 2 of the Trademark Act (15 U.S.C. §1052) contains several of the most common (though not the only) grounds for refusing registration. The grounds for refusal under Section 2 may be summarized as:

1.  the proposed mark consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter;
2.  the proposed mark may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons (living or dead), institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute;
3.  the proposed mark consists of or comprises the flag or coat of arms, or other insignia of the United States, or of any State or municipality, or of any foreign nation;
4.  the proposed mark consists of or comprises a name, portrait or signature identifying a particular living individual, except by that individual’s written consent; or the name, signature, or portrait of a deceased President of the United States during the life of his widow, if any, except by the written consent of the widow;
5.  the proposed mark so resembles a mark already registered in the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) that use of the mark on applicant’s goods or services are likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception;
6.  the proposed mark is merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of applicant’s goods or services;
7.  the proposed mark is primarily geographically descriptive or deceptively geographically misdescriptive of applicant’s goods or services;
8.  the proposed mark is primarily merely a surname; and
9.  matter that, as a whole, is functional. .

How long does it take for a mark to be registered?

It is difficult to predict how long it will take for an application to mature into a registration, because there are so many factors that can affect the process.

Generally, an applicant will receive a filing receipt approximately six months after filing. The filing receipt will include the serial number of the application. All future correspondence with the PTO must include this serial number. You should receive a response from the Office within six to seven months from filing the application. However, the total time for an application to be processed may be anywhere from almost a year to several years, depending on the basis for filing, and the legal issues which may arise in the examination of the application.

How long does a trademark registration last?

For a trademark registration to remain valid, an Affidavit of Use (“Section 8 Affidavit”) must be filed: (1) between the fifth and sixth year following registration, and (2) within the year before the end of every ten-year period after the date of registration.  The registrant may file the affidavit within a grace period of six months after the end of the sixth or tenth year, with payment of an additional fee.

The registrant must also file a §9 renewal application within the year before the expiration date of a registration, or within a grace period of six months after the expiration date, with payment of an additional fee.

Assuming that an affidavit of use is timely filed, registrations granted PRIOR to November 16, 1989 have a 20-year term, and registrations granted on or after November 16, 1989 have a 10-year term.

This is also true for the renewal periods; renewals granted PRIOR to November 16, 1989 have a 20-year term, and renewals granted on or after November 16, 1989 have a 10-year term.

When did the renewal period change from twenty to ten years?

November 16, 1989. Registrations issued on or after November 16, 1989 have a ten-year term, renewable every ten years.

How long does an Intent-to-Use applicant have to allege actual use of the mark in commerce?

An applicant may file an Amendment to Allege Use any time between the filing date of the application and the date the Examining Attorney approves the mark for publication. If an Amendment to Allege Use is not filed, then applicant has six months from the issuance of the Notice of Allowance to file a Statement of Use, unless the applicant requests and is granted an extension of time. If the applicant fails to file either an Amendment to Allege Use or a Statement of Use within the time limits allowed, then the application will be declared abandoned. No registration will be granted.

What are the different classes of goods and services?


 CLASS 1 (Chemicals)

Chemicals used in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed artificial resins, unprocessed plastics; manures; fire extinguishing compositions; tempering and soldering preparations; chemical substances for preserving foodstuffs; tanning substances; adhesives used in industry.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly chemical products used in industry, science and agriculture, including those which go to the making of products belonging to other classes.

Includes, in particular:

  • compost;
  • salt for preserving other than for foodstuffs.

Does not include, in particular:

  • raw natural resins (Cl. 02);
  • chemical products for use in medical science (Cl. 05);
  • fungicides, herbicides and preparations for destroying vermin (Cl. 05);
  • adhesives for stationery or household purposes (Cl. 16);
  • salt for preserving foodstuffs (Cl. 30);
  • straw mulch (Cl. 31).

CLASS 2 (Paints)

Paints, varnishes, lacquers; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colorants; mordants; raw natural resins; metals in foil and powder form for painters, decorators, printers and artists.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly paints, colorants and preparations used for the protection against corrosion.

Includes, in particular:

  • paints, varnishes and lacquers for industry, handicrafts and arts;
  • dyestuffs for clothing;
  • colorants for foodstuffs and beverages.

Does not include, in particular:

  • unprocessed artificial resins (Cl. 01);
  • laundry bluing (Cl. 03);
  • cosmetic dyes (Cl. 03);
  • mordants for seed (Cl. 05);
  • paint boxes (articles for use in school) (Cl. 16);
  • insulating paints and varnishes (Cl. 17).

CLASS 3 (Cosmetics and cleaning preparations)

Bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations; soaps; perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions; dentifrices.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly cleaning preparations and toilet preparations.

Includes, in particular:

  • deodorants for personal use;
  • sanitary preparations being toiletries.

Does not include, in particular:

  • chemical chimney cleaners (Cl. 01);
  • sharpening stones and grindstones (hand tools) (Cl. 08).

CLASS 4 (Lubricants and fuels)

Industrial oils and greases; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels (including motor spirit) and illuminants; candles, wicks.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly industrial oils and greases, fuels and illuminants.

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain special industrial oils and greases (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods).

CLASS 5 (Pharmaceuticals)

Pharmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary preparations; dietetic substances adapted for medical use, food for babies; plasters, materials for dressings; material for stopping teeth, dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying
vermin; fungicides, herbicides.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly pharmaceuticals and other preparations for medical purposes.

Includes, in particular:

  • sanitary preparations for medical purposes and for personal hygiene;
  • deodorants other than for personal use;
  • cigarettes without tobacco, for medical purposes.

Does not include, in particular:

  • sanitary preparations being toiletries (Cl. 03);
  • deodorants for personal use (Cl. 03);
  • supportive bandages (Cl. 10).

CLASS 6 (Metal goods)

Common metals and their alloys; metal building materials; transportable buildings of metal; materials of metal for railway tracks; non-electric cables and wires of common metal; iron mongery, small items of metal hardware; pipes and tubes of metal; safes; goods of common metal not included in other classes; ores.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly unwrought and partly wrought common metals as well as simple products made of them.

Does not include, in particular:

  • bauxite (Cl. 01);
  • mercury, antimony, alkaline and alkaline-earth metals (Cl. 01);
  • metals in foil and powder form for painters, decorators, printers and artists (Cl. 02).

CLASS 7 (Machinery)

Machines and machine tools; motors and engines (except for land vehicles); machine coupling and transmission components (except for land vehicles); agricultural implements other than hand-operated; incubators for eggs.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly machines, machine tools, motors and engines.

Includes, in particular:

  • parts of motors and engines (of all kinds);
  • electric cleaning machines and apparatus.

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain special machines and machine tools (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • hand tools and implements, hand operated (Cl. 08);
  • motors and engines for land vehicles (Cl. 12).

CLASS 8 (Hand tools)

Hand tools and implements (hand operated); cutlery; side arms; razors.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly hand operated implements used as tools in the respective professions.

Includes, in particular:

  • cutlery of precious metals;
  • electric razors and clippers (hand instruments).

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain special instruments (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • machine tools and implements driven by a motor (Cl. 07);
  • surgical cutlery (Cl. 10);
  • paperknives (Cl. 16);
  • fencing weapons (Cl. 28).

CLASS 9 (Electrical and scientific apparatus)

Scientific, nautical, surveying, electric, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signaling, checking (supervision), lifesaving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; automatic vending machines and mechanisms for coin operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment and computers; fire-extinguishing apparatus.

Explanatory Note

Includes, in particular:

  • apparatus and instruments for scientific research in laboratories;
  • apparatus and instruments for controlling ships, such as apparatus and instruments, for measuring and for transmitting orders;
  • the following electrical apparatus and instruments:

a. certain electrothermic tools and apparatus, such as electric soldering irons, electric flat irons which, if they were not electric, would belong to Class 8;
b. apparatus and devices which, if not electrical, would be listed in various classes, i.e., electrically heated clothing, cigar-lighters for automobiles;

  • protractors; punched card office machines; amusement apparatus adapted for use with television receivers only.

Does not include, in particular:

  • the following electrical apparatus and instruments:

a. electromechanical apparatus for the kitchen (grinders and mixers for foodstuffs, fruit-presses, electrical coffee mills, etc.), and certain other apparatus and instruments driven by an electrical motor, all coming under Class 7;
b. electric razors and clippers (hand instruments) (Cl. 08); electric toothbrushes and combs (Cl. 21);
c. electrical apparatus for space heating or for the heating of liquids, for cooking, ventilating, etc. (Cl. 11);

  • clocks and watches and other chronometric instruments (Cl. 14);
  • control clocks (Cl. 14).

CLASS 10 (Medical apparatus)

Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus and instruments, artificial limbs, eyes and teeth; orthopedic articles; suture materials.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly medical apparatus, instruments and articles.

Includes, in particular:

  • special furniture for medical use;
  • hygienic rubber articles (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • supportive bandages.

CLASS 11 (Environmental control apparatus)

Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes.

Explanatory Note

Includes, in particular:

  • air conditioning apparatus;
  • bedwarmers, hot water bottles, warming pans, electric or non-electric;
  • electrically heated cushions (pads) and blankets, not for medical purposes;
  • electric kettles;
  • electric cooking utensils.

Does not include, in particular:

  • steam producing apparatus (parts of machines) (Cl. 07);
  • electrically heated clothing (Cl. 09).

CLASS 12 (Vehicles)

Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water.

Explanatory Note

Includes, in particular:

  • motors and engines for land vehicles;
  • couplings and transmission components for land vehicles;
  • air cushion vehicles.

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain parts of vehicles (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • railway material of metal (Cl. 06);
  • motors, engines, couplings and transmission components other than for land vehicles (Cl. 07);
  • parts of motors and engines (of all kinds) (Cl. 07).

CLASS 13 (Firearms)

Firearms; ammunition and projectiles; explosives; fireworks.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly firearms and pyrotechnical products.

Does not include, in particular:

  • matches (Cl. 34).

CLASS 14 (Jewelry)

Precious metals and their alloys and goods in precious metals or coated therewith, not included in other classes; jewelry, precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly precious metals, goods in precious metals and, in general, jewelry, clocks and watches.

Includes, in particular:

  • jewelry (i.e. imitation jewelry and jewelry of precious metal and stones);
  • cuff links, tie pins.

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain goods in precious metals (classified according to their function or purpose), for example:
  • metals in foil and powder form for painters, decorators, printers and artists (Cl. 02);
  • amalgam of gold for dentists (Cl. 05);
  • cutlery (Cl. 08);
  • electric contacts (Cl. 09);
  • pen nibs of gold (Cl. 16);
  • objects of art not in precious metals (classified according to the material of which they consist).

CLASS 15 (Musical Instruments)

Musical instruments.

Explanatory Note

Includes, in particular:

  • mechanical pianos and their accessories;
  • musical boxes;
  • electrical and electronic musical instruments.

Does not include, in particular:

  • apparatus for the recording, transmission, amplification and reproduction of sound (Cl. 09).

CLASS 16 (Paper goods and printed matter)

Paper, cardboard and goods made from these materials, not included in other classes; printed matter; bookbinding material; photographs; stationery; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; artists’ materials; paint brushes; typewriters and office requisites (except furniture); instructional and teaching material (except apparatus); plastic materials for packaging (not included in other classes); playing cards; printers’ type; printing blocks.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly paper, goods made from that material and office requisites.

Includes, in particular:

  • paper knives;
  • duplicators;
  • plastic sheets, sacks and bags for wrapping and packaging.

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain goods made of paper and cardboard (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • colors (Cl. 02);
  • hand tools for artists (for example: spatulas, sculptors’ chisels) (Cl. 08).

CLASS 17 (Rubber goods)

Rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and goods made from these materials and not included in other classes; plastics in extruded form for use in manufacture; packing, stopping and insulating materials; flexible pipes, not of metal.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly electrical, thermal and acoustic insulating materials and plastics, being for use in manufacture in the form of sheets, blocks and rods.

Includes, in particular:

  • rubber material for recapping tires;
  • padding and stuffing materials of rubber or plastics;
  • floating anti-pollution barriers.

CLASS 18 (Leather goods)

Leather and imitations of leather, and goods made of these materials and not included in other classes; animal skins, hides; trunks and traveling bags; umbrellas, parasols and walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly leather, leather imitations, travel goods not included in other classes and saddlery.

Does not include, in particular:

  • clothing, footwear, headgear (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods).

CLASS 19 (Nonmetallic building materials)

Building materials (nonmetallic); nonmetallic rigid pipes for building; asphalt, pitch and bitumen; nonmetallic transportable buildings; monuments, not of metal.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly nonmetallic building materials.

Includes, in particular:

  • semi-worked woods (for example: beams, planks, panels);
  • veneers;
  • building glass (for example: floor slabs, glass tiles);
  • glass granules for marking out roads;
  • letter boxes of masonry.

Does not include, in particular:

  • cement preservatives and cement-waterproofing preparations (Cl. 01);
  • fireproofing preparations (Cl. 01).

CLASS 20 (Furniture and articles not otherwise classified)

Furniture, mirrors, picture frames; goods (not included in other classes) of wood, cork, reed, cane, wicker, horn, bone, ivory, whalebone, shell, amber, mother-of-pearl, meerschaum and substitutes for all these materials, or of plastics.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly furniture and its parts and plastic goods, not included in other classes.

Includes, in particular:

  • metal furniture and furniture for camping;
  • bedding (for example: mattresses, spring mattresses, pillows);
  • looking glasses and furnishing or toilet mirrors;
  • registration number plates not of metal;
  • letter boxes not of metal or masonry.

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain special types of mirrors, classified according to their function or purpose (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • special furniture for laboratories (Cl. 09);
  • special furniture for medical use (Cl. 10);
  • bedding linen (Cl. 24);
  • eiderdowns (Cl. 24).

CLASS 21 (Housewares and glass)

Household or kitchen utensils and containers (not of precious metal or coated therewith); combs and sponges; brushes (except paint brushes); brush-making materials; articles for cleaning purposes; steel wool; un-worked or semi-worked glass (except glass used in building); glassware, porcelain and earthenware not included in other classes.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly small, hand-operated, utensils and apparatus for household and kitchen use as well as toilet utensils, glassware and articles in porcelain.

Includes, in particular:

  • utensils and containers for household and kitchen use, for example:
  • kitchen utensils, pails, and pans of iron, aluminum, plastics and other materials, small hand-operated apparatus for mincing, grinding, pressing, etc.;
  • candle extinguishers, not of precious metal;
  • electric combs;
  • electric toothbrushes;
  • dish stands and decanter stands.

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain goods made of glass, porcelain and earthenware (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • cleaning preparations, soaps, etc. (Cl. 03);
  • small apparatus for mincing, grinding, pressing, etc., driven by electricity (Cl. 07);
  • razors and shaving apparatus, clippers (hand instruments), metal implements and utensils for manicure and pedicure (Cl. 08);
  • cooking utensils, electric (Cl. 11);
  • toilet mirrors (Cl. 20).

CLASS 22 (Cordage and fibers)

Ropes, string, nets, tents, awnings, tarpaulins, sails, sacks and bags (not included in other classes); padding and stuffing materials (except of rubber or plastics); raw fibrous textile materials.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly rope and sail manufacture products, padding and stuffing materials and raw fibrous textile materials.

Includes, in particular:

  • cords and twines in natural or artificial textile fibres, paper or plastics.

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain nets, sacs and bags (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • strings for musical instruments (Cl. 15).

CLASS 23 (Yarns and threads)

Yarns and threads, for textile use.

CLASS 24 (Fabrics)

Textiles and textile goods, not included in other classes; bed and table covers.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly textiles (piece goods) and textile covers for household use.

Includes, in particular:

  • bedding linen of paper.

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain special textiles (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • electrically heated blankets (Cl. 10);
  • table linen of paper (Cl. 16);
  • horse blankets (Cl. 18).

CLASS 25 (Clothing)

Clothing, footwear, headgear.

Explanatory Note

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain clothing and footwear for special use (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods).

CLASS 26 (Fancy goods)

Lace and embroidery, ribbons and braid; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly dressmakers’ articles.

Includes, in particular:

  • slide fasteners.

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain special types of hooks (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • certain special types of needles (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • yarns and threads for textile use (Cl. 23).

CLASS 27 (Floor coverings)

Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings (non-textile).

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly products intended to be added as furnishings to previously constructed floors and walls.

CLASS 28 (Toys and sporting goods)

Games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles not included in other classes; decorations for Christmas trees.

Explanatory Note

Includes, in particular:

  • fishing tackle;
  • equipment for various sports and games.

Does not include, in particular:

  • Christmas tree candles (Cl. 04);
  • diving equipment (Cl. 09);
  • amusement apparatus adapted for use with television receivers only (Cl. 09);
  • electrical lamps (garlands) for Christmas trees (Cl. 11);
  • playing cards (Cl. 16);
  • fishing nets (Cl. 22);
  • clothing for gymnastics and sports (Cl. 25);
  • confectionery and chocolate decorations for Christmas trees (Cl. 30).

CLASS 29 (Meats and processed foods)

Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, fruit sauces; eggs, milk and milk products; edible oils and fats.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly foodstuffs of animal origin as well as vegetables and other horticultural comestible products which are prepared for consumption or conservation.

Includes, in particular:

  • milk beverages (milk predominating).

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain foodstuffs of plant origin (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • baby food (Cl. 05);
  • dietetic substances adapted for medical use (Cl. 05);
  • salad dressings (Cl. 30);
  • fertilized eggs for hatching (Cl. 31);
  • foodstuffs for animals (Cl. 31);
  • living animals (Cl. 31).

CLASS 30 (Staple foods)

Coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, tapioca, sago, artificial coffee; flour and preparations made from cereals, bread, pastry and confectionery, ices; honey, treacle; yeast, baking-powder; salt, mustard; vinegar, sauces (condiments); spices; ice.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly foodstuffs of plant origin prepared for consumption or conservation as well as auxiliaries intended for the improvement of the flavour of food.

Includes, in particular:

  • beverages with coffee, cocoa or chocolate base;
  • cereals prepared for human consumption (for example: oat flakes and those made of other cereals).

Does not include, in particular:

  • certain foodstuffs of plant origin (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods);
  • salt for preserving other than for foodstuffs (Cl. 01);
  • medicinal teas and dietetic substances adapted for medical use (Cl. 05);
  • baby food (Cl. 05);
  • raw cereals (Cl. 31);
  • foodstuffs for animals (Cl. 31).

CLASS 31 (Natural agricultural products)

Agricultural, horticultural and forestry products and grains not included in other classes; living animals; fresh fruits and vegetables; seeds, natural plants and flowers; foodstuffs for animals, malt.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly land products not having been subjected to any form of preparation for consumption, living animals and plants as well as foodstuffs for animals.

Includes, in particular:

  • raw woods;
  • raw cereals;
  • fertilized eggs for hatching;
  • mollusca and crustacea (live).

Does not include, in particular:

  • cultures of micro-organisms and leeches for medical purposes (Cl. 05);
  • semi-worked woods (Cl. 19);
  • artificial fishing bait (Cl. 28);
  • rice (Cl. 30);
  • tobacco (Cl. 34).

CLASS 32 (Light beverages)

Beers; mineral and aerated waters and other nonalcoholic drinks; fruit drinks and fruit juices; syrups and other preparations for making beverages.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly nonalcoholic beverages, as well as beer.

Includes, in particular:


  • de-alcoholized drinks.

Does not include, in particular:

  • beverages for medical purposes (Cl. 05);
  • milk beverages (milk predominating) (Cl. 29);
  • beverages with coffee, cocoa or chocolate base (Cl. 30).

CLASS 33 (Wine and spirits)

Alcoholic beverages (except beers).

Explanatory Note

Does not include, in particular:

  • medicinal drinks (Cl. 05);
  • de-alcoholized drinks (Cl. 32).

CLASS 34 (Smokers’ articles)

Tobacco; smokers’ articles; matches.

Explanatory Note

Includes, in particular:

  • tobacco substitutes (not for medical purposes).

Does not include, in particular:

  • cigarettes without tobacco, for medical purposes (Cl. 05);
  • certain smokers’ articles in precious metal (Cl. 14) (consult the Alphabetical List of Goods).


CLASS 35 (Advertising and business)

Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly services rendered by persons or organizations principally with the object of:

1. help in the working or management of a commercial undertaking, or

2. help in the management of the business affairs or commercial functions of an industrial or commercial enterprise, as well as services rendered by advertising establishments primarily undertaking communications to the public, declarations or announcements by all means of diffusion and concerning all kinds of goods or services.

Includes, in particular:

  • services consisting of the registration, transcription, composition, compilation, or systematization of written communications and registrations, and also the exploitation or compilation of mathematical or statistical data;
  • services of advertising agencies and services such as the distribution of prospectuses, directly or through the post, or the distribution of samples. This class may refer to advertising in connection with other services, such as those concerning bank loans or advertising by radio; the bringing together, for the benefit of others, of a variety of goods (excluding the transport thereof), enabling customers to conveniently view and purchase those goods.

Does not include, in particular:

  • activity of an enterprise the primary function of which is the sale of goods, i.e., of a so-called commercial enterprise;
  • services such as evaluations and reports of engineers which do not directly refer to the working or management of affairs in a commercial or industrial enterprise (consult the Alphabetical List of Services);
  • professional consultations and the drawing up of plans not connected with the conduct of business (Cl. 42).

CLASS 36 (Insurance and financial)

Insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly services rendered in financial and monetary affairs and services rendered in relation to insurance contracts of all kinds.

Includes, in particular:

  • services relating to financial or monetary affairs comprise the following:

a. services of all the banking establishments, or institutions connected with them such as exchange brokers or clearing services;

b. services of credit institutions other than banks such as cooperative credit associations, individual financial companies, lenders, etc.;

c. services of “investment trusts,” of holding companies;

d. services of brokers dealing in shares and property;

e. services connected with monetary affairs vouched for by trustees;

f. services rendered in connection with the issue of travelers’ checks and letters of credit;

g. services of realty administrators of buildings, i.e., services of letting or valuation, or financing;

h. services dealing with insurance such as services rendered by agents or brokers engaged in insurance, services rendered to insured, and insurance underwriting services.

CLASS 37 (Building construction and repair)

Building construction; repair; installation services.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly services rendered by contractors or subcontractors in the construction or making of permanent buildings, as well as services rendered by persons or organizations engaged in the restoration of objects to their original condition or in their preservation without altering their physical or chemical properties.

Includes, in particular:

  • services relating to the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, dams or transmission lines and services of undertakings specializing in the field of construction such as those of painters, plumbers, heating installers or roofers;
  • services auxiliary to construction services like inspections of construction plans;
  • services of shipbuilding;
  • services consisting of hiring of tools or building materials;
  • repair services, i.e., services which undertake to put any object into good condition after wear, damage, deterioration or partial destruction (restoration of an existing building or another object that has become imperfect and is to be restored to its original condition);
  • various repair services such as those in the fields of electricity, furniture, instruments, tools, etc.;
  • services of maintenance for preserving an object in its original condition without changing any of its properties (for the difference between this class and Class 40 see the Explanatory Note of Class 40).

Does not include, in particular:

  • services consisting of storage of goods such as clothes or vehicles (Cl. 39);
  • services connected with dyeing of cloth or clothes (Cl. 40).

CLASS 38 (Telecommunications)

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly services allowing at least one person to communicate with another by a sensory means. Such services include those which:

1. allow a person to talk to another,

2. transmit messages from one person to another, and

3. place a person in oral or visual communication with another (radio and television).

Includes, in particular:

  • services which consist essentially of the diffusion of radio or television programs.
  • Does not include, in particular:
  • radio advertising services (Cl. 35).

CLASS 39 (Transportation and storage)

Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly services rendered in transporting people or goods from one place to another (by rail, road, water, air or pipeline) and services necessarily connected with such transport, as well as services relating to the storing of goods in a warehouse or other building for their preservation or guarding.

Includes, in particular:

  • services rendered by companies exploiting stations, bridges, rail-road ferries, etc., used by the transporter;
  • services connected with the hiring of transport vehicles;
  • services connected with maritime tugs, unloading, the functioning of ports and docks and the salvaging of wrecked ships and their cargoes;
  • services connected with the functioning of airports;
  • services connected with the packaging and parceling of goods before dispatch; services consisting of information about
  • journeys or the transport of goods by brokers and tourist agencies, information relating to tariffs, timetables and methods of transport;
  • services relating to the inspection of vehicles or goods before transport.

Does not include, in particular:

  • services relating to advertising transport undertakings such as the distribution of prospectuses or advertising on the radio (Cl. 35);
  • services relating to the issuing of travelers’ checks or letters of credit by brokers or travel agents (Cl. 36);
  • services relating to insurance (commercial, fire or life) during the transport of persons or goods (Cl. 36);
  • services rendered by the maintenance and repair of vehicles, nor the maintenance or repair of objects connected with the transport of persons or goods (Cl. 37);
  • services relating to reservation of rooms in a hotel by travel agents or brokers (Cl. 42).

CLASS 40 (Treatment of materials)

Treatment of materials.

Explanatory Note

This class includes mainly services not included in other classes, rendered by the mechanical or chemical processing or transformation of objects or inorganic or organic substances.

For the purposes of classification, the mark is considered a service mark only in cases where processing or transformation is effected for the account of another person. A mark is considered a trade mark in all cases where the

substance or object is marketed by the person who processed or transformed it.

Includes, in particular:

  • services relating to transformation of an object or substance and any process involving a change in its essential properties (for example, dyeing a garment); consequently, a maintenance service, although usually in Class 37, is included in Class 40 if it entails such a change (for example, the chroming of motor vehicle bumpers);
  • services of material treatment which may be present during the production of any substance or object other than a building; for example, services which involve cutting, shaping, polishing by abrasion or metal coating.

Does not include, in particular:

  • repair services (Cl. 37).

CLASS 41 (Education and entertainment)

Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.

Explanatory Note

This class contains mainly services rendered by persons or institutions in the development of the mental faculties of persons or animals, as well as services intended to entertain or to engage the attention.

Includes, in particular:

  • services consisting of all forms of education of persons or training of animals;
  • services having the basic aim of the entertainment, amusement or
  • recreation of people.

CLASS 42 (Miscellaneous)

Providing of food and drink; temporary accommodation; medical, hygienic and beauty care; veterinary and agricultural services; legal services; scientific and industrial research; computer programming; services that cannot be placed in other classes.

Explanatory Note

This class contains all services which could not be placed in other classes.

Includes, in particular:

  • services rendered in procuring lodgings, rooms and meals, by hotels, boarding houses, tourist camps, tourist houses, dude ranches, sanatoria, rest homes and convalescence homes;
  • services rendered by establishments essentially engaged in procuring food or drink prepared for consumption; such services can be rendered by restaurants, self-service restaurants, canteens, etc.;
  • personal services rendered by establishments to meet individual needs; such services may include social escorts, beauty salons, hairdressing salons, funeral establishments or crematoria;
  • services rendered by persons, individually or collectively, as a member of an organization, requiring a high degree of mental activity and relating to theoretical or practical aspects of complex branches of human effort; the services rendered by these persons demand of them a deep and extensive university education or equivalent experience; such services rendered by representatives of professions such as engineers, chemists, physicists, etc., are included in this class;
  • services of travel agents or brokers ensuring hotel accommodation for travelers;
  • services of engineers engaged in valuing, estimates, research and reports;
  • services (not included in other classes) rendered by associations to their own members.

Does not include, in particular:

  • professional services giving direct aid in the operations or functions of a commercial undertaking (Cl. 35);
  • services for travelers rendered by travel agencies (Cl. 39);
  • performances of singers or dancers in orchestras or operas (Cl. 41).


How do I contest someone else using a trademark similar to mine?

There are several ways to dispute use of your trademark by a third party. Depending on the factual situation, the Trademark Office may or may not be the proper forum. You should consider contacting an attorney, preferably one specializing in trademark law. Local bar associations and the yellow pages usually have attorney listings broken down by specialties. Time can be of the essence.

What is a PTDL (Patent and Trademark Depository Library)?

A Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) is a library which is designated by the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to receive and house copies of US patents and patent and trademark materials, to make them available to the public, and to disseminate both patent and trademark information. To be designated, a library must meet specific requirements and promise to fulfill certain obligations.

Patents and trademarks (word marks only) may be searched at the PTDLs. Please note that the Patent and Trademark Depository Librarians cannot give any legal advice nor can they perform the searches for you. They will, however, provide you with the information you need to get started.

Is the name of a band a trademark?

It depends on how it is used. A band name may function as a service mark for entertainment services in the nature of performances by a musical group if it is used to identify and distinguish the service of providing live performances, or as a trademark for a series of musical recordings.

Can a minor file a trademark application?

This depends upon state law. If the person can validly enter into binding legal obligations in the state, then that person may sign a trademark application. Otherwise, a parent or legal guardian must sign the application, clearly setting forth their status as a parent or legal guardian of the applicant.

Can the ownership of a trademark be assigned or transferred from one person to another?

Yes. A registered mark, or a mark for which an application to register has been filed is assignable. Written assignments may be recorded in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a fee.

My spouse owned a trademark registration and has since died. Do I own it now?

Perhaps. Because this depends on state law.

About Copyrights

  1. t doe

Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

  1. When is my work protected?

Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form so that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

  1. I lost my certificate: Can I get a new one?

Yes, for a fee.

  1. Does the Copyright Office have a list of songs or movies in the public domain?

No, a search of their records, however, may reveal whether a particular work has fallen into the public domain. They the Copyright Office will conduct a search by the title of a work, an author’s name, or a claimant’s name. The search fee is $65 per hour. You may also retain an attorney.

  1. What is mandatory deposit?

Copies of all works under copyright protection that have been published in the United States are required to be deposited with the Copyright Office within three months of the date of first publication.

  1. Do I have to register with the Copyright Office to be protected?

No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists

from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.

  1. Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?

Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within five years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.

  1. How do I register my copyright?

To register a work, you need to submit a completed application form, a non-refundable filing fee of $30, and a non-returnable copy or copies of the work to be registered.

  1. How long does the registration process take?

The time the Copyright Office requires to process an application varies, depending on the amount of material the Office is receiving. If your application is in order, you may generally expect to receive a certificate of registration within approximately 4 to 5 months of submission.

  1. What is the registration fee?

The 2002 filing fee is $30 per application. Generally, each work requires a separate application.

  1. What is a deposit?

A deposit is usually one copy (if unpublished) or two copies (if published) of the work to be registered for copyright. In certain cases such as works of the visual arts, identifying material such as a photograph may be used instead. The deposit is sent with the application and fee and becomes the property of the Library of Congress.

  1. Do I have to send in my work? Do I get it back?

Yes, you must send the required copy or copies of the work to be registered. These copies will not be returned. Upon their deposit in the Copyright Office, under sections 407 and 408 of the Copyright law, all copies, phone records, and identifying material, including those deposited in connection with claims that have been refused registration, are the property of the United States Government.

  1. May I register more than one work on the same application? Where do I list the titles?

You may register unpublished works as a collection on one application with one title for the entire collection if certain conditions are met. It is not necessary to list the individual titles in your collection, although you may do so by completing a Continuation Sheet. Published works may only be registered as a collection if they were actually first published as a collection and if other requirements have been met.

  1. What is the difference between form PA and form SR?

These forms are for registering two different types of copyrightable subject matter that may be embodied in a recording. Form PA is used for the registration of music and/or lyrics (as well as other works of the performing arts), even if your song is on a cassette. Form SR is used for registering the performance and production of a particular recording of sounds.

  1. Do I have to renew my copyright?

No. Works created on or after January 1, 1978, are not subject to renewal registration. As to works published or registered prior to January 1, 1978, renewal registration is optional after 28 years but does provide certain legal advantages.

  1. Can I submit my manuscript on a computer disk?

No, the Copyright Office generally requires a printed copy or audio recording of the work for deposit.

  1. Can I submit a CD-ROM of my work?

Yes, you may. The deposit requirement consists of the best edition of the CD-ROM package of any work, including the accompanying operating software, instruction manual and a printed version, if included in the package.

  1. How do I protect my recipe?

A mere listing of ingredients is not protected under copyright law. However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a collection of recipes as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.

  1. Does copyright now protect architecture?

Yes. Architectural works became subject to copyright protection on December 1, 1990. The copyright law defines “architectural work” as “the design of a building embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings.” Copyright protection extends to any architectural work created on or after December 1, 1990, and any architectural work that on December 1, 1990, was unconstructed and embodied in unpublished plans or drawings. Architectural works embodied in buildings constructed prior to December 1, 1990, are not eligible for copyright protection.

  1. Can I register a diary I found in my grandmother’s attic?

You can register copyright in the diary only if you are the transferee (by will, by inheritance). Copyright is the right of the author of the work or the author’s heirs or assignees, not of the one who only owns or possesses the physical work itself.

  1. Can foreigners register their works in the U.S.?

Any work that is protected by U.S. copyright law can be registered. This includes many works of foreign origin. All works that are unpublished, regardless of the nationality of the author, are protected in the United States. Works that are first published in the United States or in a country with which we have a copyright treaty or that are created by a citizen or domiciliary of a country with which we have a copyright treaty are also protected and may therefore be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

  1. Who is an author?

Under the copyright law, the creator of the original expression in a work is its author. The author is also the owner of copyright unless there is a written agreement by which the author assigns the copyright to another person or entity, such as a publisher. In cases of works made for hire, the

employer or commissioning party is considered to be the author.

  1. What is a work made for hire?

Although the general rule is that the person who creates the work is its author, there is an exception to that principle; the exception is a work made for hire, which is a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or a work specially ordered or commissioned in certain specified circumstances. When a work qualifies as a work made for hire, the employer or commissioning party is considered to be the author.

  1. Can a minor claim copyright?

Minors may claim copyright, and the Copyright Office does issue registrations to minors, but state laws may regulate the business dealings involving copyrights owned by minors. For information on relevant state laws, consult an attorney.

  1. Do I have to use my real name on the form? Can I use a stage name or a pen name?

There is no legal requirement that the author be identified by his or her real name on the application form.

  1. What is publication?

Publication has a technical meaning in copyright law. According to the statute, “Publication is the distribution of copies or phone records of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phone records to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.” Generally, publication occurs on the date on which copies of the work are first made available to the public.

  1. Does my work have to be published to be protected?

Publication is not necessary for copyright protection.

  1. How do I get my work published?

Publication occurs at the discretion and initiative of the copyright owner. The Copyright Office has no role in the publication process.

  1. Are copyrights transferable?

Yes. Like any other property, all or part of the rights in a work may be transferred by the owner to another.

  1. Can I copyright the name of my band?

No. Names are not protected by copyright law. Some names may be protected under trademark law.

  1. How do I copyright a name, title, slogan or logo?

Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. However, copyright protection may be available for logo art work that contains sufficient authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark.

  1. How do I protect my idea?

Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.

  1. How long does copyright last?

The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, signed into law on October 27, 1998, amends the provisions concerning duration of copyright protection. Effective immediately, the terms of copyright are generally extended for an additional 20 years. Specific provisions are as follows:

*  For works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection will endure for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. In the case of a joint work, the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death. For anonymous and pseudonymous works and works made for hire, the term will be 95 years from the year of first publication or 120 years from the year of creation, whichever expires first;

*  For works created but not published or registered before January 1, 1978, the term endures for life of the author plus 70 years, but in no case will expire earlier than December 31, 2002. If the work is published before December 31, 2002, the term will not expire before December 31, 2047;

*  For pre-1978 works still in their original or renewal term of copyright, the total term is extended to 95 years from the date that copyright was originally secured.

  1. How much of someone else’s work can I use without getting permission?

Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical notes, or percentages of a work. Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances.

  1. How much do I have to change in my own work to make a new claim of copyright?

You may make a new claim in your work if the changes are substantial and creative — something more than just editorial changes or minor changes. This would qualify as a new derivative work. For instance, simply making spelling corrections throughout a work does not warrant a new registration — adding an additional chapter would.

  1. How much do I have to change in order to claim copyright in someone else’s work?

Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create a new version of that work. Accordingly, you cannot claim copyright to another’s work, no matter how much you change it, unless you have the owner’s consent.

  1. How do I get my work into the Library of Congress?

Copies of works deposited for copyright registration or in fulfillment of the mandatory deposit requirement are available to the Library of Congress for its collections. The Library reserves the right to select or reject any published work for its permanent collections based on the research needs of Congress, the nation’s scholars, and of the nation’s libraries.

  1. What is a Library of Congress number?

The Library of Congress Card Catalog Number is assigned by the Library at its discretion to assist librarians in acquiring and cataloging works.

  1. What is an ISBN number?

The International Standard Book Number is administered by the R. R. Bowker Company 1-888-BOWKER2. The ISBN is a numerical identifier intended to assist the international community in identifying and ordering certain publications.

  1. What is a copyright notice? How do I put a copyright notice on my work?

A copyright notice is an identifier placed on copies of the work to inform the world of copyright ownership. While use of a copyright notice was once required as a condition of copyright protection, it is now optional. Use of the notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office.

  1. How do I collect royalties?

The collection of royalties is usually a matter of private arrangements between an author and publisher or other users of the author’s work. The Copyright Office plays no role in the execution of contractual terms or business practices. There are copyright licensing organizations and publications rights clearinghouses that distribute royalties for their members.

  1. Somebody infringed my copyright. What can I do?

A party may seek to protect his or her copyrights against unauthorized use by filing a civil lawsuit in Federal district court. In cases of willful infringement for profit, the U.S. Attorney may initiate a criminal investigation.

  1. Is my copyright good in other countries?

The United States has copyright relations with more than 100 countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other’s citizens’ copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country.

  1. How do I protect my sighting of Elvis?

Copyright law does not protect sightings. However, copyright law will protect your photo (or other depiction) of your sighting of Elvis. Just file it in on a form VA application and the $30 filing fee, in 2002. No one can lawfully use your photo of your sighting, although someone else may file his own photo of his sighting. Copyright law protects the original photograph, not the subject of the photograph.

  1. How do I get permission to use somebody else’s work?

You can ask for it. If you know who the copyright owner is, you may contact the owner directly. If you are not certain about the ownership or have other related questions, you may wish to request that the Copyright Office conduct a search of its records for a fee of $65 per hour, in 2002.

  1. Could I be sued for using somebody else’s work? How about quotes or samples?

Yes, if you use a copyrighted work without authorization, the owner may be entitled to bring an infringement action against you. There are circumstances under the fair use doctrine where a quote or a sample may be used without permission.

     After U.S. Patent and Trademark Office web site.