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Kendell Kelly, Esq
Kendell Kelly, Esq, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 578
Experience:  Lawyer practicing in all areas of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and new media.
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I have a title and idea comic strip and want to go forward

Customer Question

I have a title and idea for a comic strip and want to go forward with promoting it but want to be sure the title is protected.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Kendell Kelly, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is Kendell! Happy to help! Please remember that this is a tool for information only, we cannot give you legal advice and thus cannot tell you what to do or not (since that is prohibited).This should not be considered a attorney-client relationship. Also, please reserve your feedback until we have fully answered your question -- I will stick with you until we do.

Expert:  Kendell Kelly, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Relative to your comic strip, to protect its name, you would want to apply for a federal trademark registration. Those are applied for on uspto.gov, and can either be based on use (you are already using the mark in interstate commerce) or intent-to-use.

Expert:  Kendell Kelly, Esq replied 1 year ago.

However, in actuality, you should know that use (sending out your comic, promoting, etc) actually increases your rights in your mark. Specifically, you are increasing what is known as "secondary meaning" - which is how much the public connects your mark specifically with your good or service.

Expert:  Kendell Kelly, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Does that all make sense?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
There is such a fine line between a trademark and then a copyright when it comes to my idea.
Thanks
Expert:  Kendell Kelly, Esq replied 12 months ago.

The two different bundles of rights (copyright and trademark) are actually very different. I am happy to clarify if my answer before didn't make sense, because the two should be very distinct. Specifically, titles are protected by trademark and comic strip images are protected by copyright. Are there further facts/nuisances I am missing? Or, is the answer to your question clear?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
You have been great. It looks like it will cost a couple hundred dollars to protect my title/trademark on uspto.gov. I think I will just do that and draw my characters and not copyright them. I'm sixty years old so getting a late start as a cartoonist:) As you said, if I am able to publish my work somewhere, technically it is an automatic copyright?
Expert:  Kendell Kelly, Esq replied 12 months ago.

No problem! Happy to help -- its never too late to start!! Fixation/publication does start your copyright protection; however, your potential damages if someone infringes your rights is reduced. If someone's infringement is willful (which is presumed in the case of a federally registered mark) the potential damage award will be increased, without registration you are limited to actual damages.

Please rate your answer so my time is credited -- should you feel your current rating would be anything less than Good, make sure to give me the opportunity to fix it!!

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Use of this service does not create an attorney-client relationship. Inasmuch, our conversation is merely informational and should be used to find an attorney licensed in your local area that can further assist you.

Expert:  Kendell Kelly, Esq replied 11 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you have any follow up. If not, make sure to rate or I will not get credit for my time.

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