Can someone stake claim to a copyright on a phase used in an advertisment they created intended to provide direction to a store location? e.g., "Next to but not in XXXXX mall"
HelloCustomerGenerally, one can not secure copyright to short phrases. Copyright protection only exists for "original works of authorship." This is a somewhat vague term, but it generally requires more than simple, short phrases. I invite you to read Copyright Protection Not Available for Names, Titles, or Short Phrases. It is possible to Trademark a short phrase if you use the phrase in connection with a product or service which would allow you to only stop others from using it on competing services or products.Thomas
So if we register it for a Servicemark can we claim it even if they wrote it before?
HelloCustomerWell, not really. Someone actually "acquires" a trademark or servicemark when that person first begins using that mark. You do not need to register a trademark/servicemark in order to protect a mark. Registration just gives the registrant certain benefits, such as the ability to use the mark in interstate commerce, and being able to enforce the mark in federal court.So, if someone is already using a particular mark, registration of that same mark by someone else does not give the registrant exclusive rights to use that mark in all circumstances.I invite you to take a look at Overview of Trademark Law, and in particular look at: How do you acquire rights in a trademark? and What does it mean to register a trademark.Thomas
Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).