Can I copyright this?

Advice for those new to the concepts of copyright
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connor
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Can I copyright this?

Post by connor » Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:05 pm

Good afternoon

I have been working on a website for the past few months on a topic I am most passionate about.

The site name however is an acronym of a computer programe and its use.

e.g Microsoft Word Professional User - mwpu dotcom (thats just an example btw)

I would like to copyright the logo (mwpu in this instance) for my site, however there is another site currently using the extended version of the address (microsoftprofessionaluser dot com) with the acronym for their logo. This however is not currently under copyright, and just a similar site to my own.

What would be the opportunities for me to protect my logo & work?

Many Thanks

Connor

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:39 pm

Names are not themselves directly protected by copyright - though there are rules dealing with 'passing off' that protect names in a business context.

Yes, copyright will apply to a logo, (as opposed to just the name in plain text), and this would be regarded as an artistic work. Provided you create the logo yourself, (i.e. don't copy these other guys artwork) you will be the copyright owner.
The microsoftprofessionaluser dot com logo WILL be subject to copyright- unless the author of the logo is long dead (i.e. over 70 years) then copyright will exist, (even if they don't state that up front).

From the tone of your questions, ('I would like to copyright the logo') I guess what you are really after is some kind of legal proof of your claim to the logo, (once you have created it of course). In this case the guys you need to talk to are the UK Copyright Service, (or Copyright Witness if outside the UK) as they can provide this.

There is also a really handy factsheet about copyright and names that is certainly worth a read, and ill probably put your right on most points.
... it is worth noting that a logo that combines the name with other artistic or design elements can be subject to copyright as an artistic work.

connor
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Post by connor » Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:21 am

Many thanks for your reply - its has come down to Trademarks. Mine which is in the process of being trademarked & theirs which uses the same acronym and which isn't trademarked.

While they are not a trading business but just an educational website, will my trademark (being the first to trademark their logo) be enough to enforce them to stop using the acronym & to use microsoft professionaluserdotcom instead?

^^I did a bit of research :)

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Post by CopyrightAid » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:37 am

Hi Connor.

Trademarks are not really my thing, though I am sure that the solicitor/agent you use (and the Patent Office of course) will ensure that the item is suitable before it is registered.

Trademarks are applied for within National boundaries, (or regions - i.e. it is possible to have an EU trademark), and within industry sectors. To quote [url=http:///www.ipo.gov.uk]ipo.gov.uk[/url], trademarks should be 'distinctive for the goods or services which you are applying to register it for'

If this other site does not encroach on that, I don't think you can stop them, particularly they have been using for some time. Also my understanding is that trademarks need to be suitably unique, and in my opinion an acronym is not suitably unique.

Please understand that I cannot give you legal advice - and this is certainly something you need to discuss with your solicitor, but as I understand it items suitable for trademarks should be unique and recognizable identifying marks. A logo (i.e. an artistic representation of the acronym) would therefore qualify [it would also be subject to copyright], also a made up word (a word that did not previously exist - i.e. 'Hoover', 'i-Pod') would qualify, the acronym would not. (In my humble opinion).

connor
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Post by connor » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:11 pm

i've checked with the IPO and a few other sources & at this time the graphic representation of my acronym will suffice in this instance.

Many thanks for all your help and counsel

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Sherif
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Post by Sherif » Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:56 am

Yes... I think 'graphic representation of my acronym ' is correct.
I had a similar situation a few years ago, except I actually took action against a competitor using a similar trading name. That guy was a total copy-cat/imposter, who saw what he though was a good idea and stole it. After this, I also asked my solicitor about trademarking my company name.

Because the name was quite generic, (i.e. South-East Helplines Service - I won't tell you the actual name, that's just an example). They basically said that this could not be trademarked, but that my 'SEHS' logo could be.
I.e. If 'South Essex Housing Society' abriviated themselves to SEHS that was OK, but if they used my graphic representation the acronym, (i.e. MY logo) I could have get them to stop.

In the end, I didn't bother. I was well established by then and knew (from bitter experience) that I could take legal action to stop anyone trading of my name, and as CopyrightAid said, the logo was protected internationally by copyright anyway, so I couldn't see what registering the trademark really achieved (other than putting £500 in my solicitor's pocket that is).

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Post by BillytheFish » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:18 pm

From what I understand of your post, you want to stop an organisation from using a domain by registering a trade mark similar to that domain.

Regardless of the merits and registerability of your proposed trade mark (and refering to the text of your proposed mark as "name"):



1) If the organisation has been using the name and has become known by that name, the organisation could have unregistered rights and goodwill to that name.

2) If the organisation has been using the name prior to the registration of your mark, they could oppose your registration if the mark is registered for similar goods or services that they supply under that name.

3) If they have a legitimate reason for using the domain (ie. it is their initials) then there is no way that you can force them to stop using the domain or transfer it to you. This is regardless of any trade marks you may or may not have.



If you want to research, try the ICANN/Nominet websites. A good place to start on domains is the "One in a Million" case.

The basic test is that you have to show "Bad Faith" on the part of the person registering the domain. I would suggest choosing a different name if the domain is critical (although talk to your lawyer and obtain legal advice -of which this is not!).


Hope that helps,


Billy.

connor
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Post by connor » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:15 am

Hi all, Thanks for your input so far.

I'd like to clarify a couple of issues and subsequently get your views.

My own site (example) is www abcd couk, which I am currently trademarking the abcd graphical representation of my logo.

The previously established site www alphabetacharliedelta com/co uk also uses an abcd logo - however these logos are only similar in that they contain the same acronym.

While the other site is not a trading site, I would lke my own to become an online business and this is the reason for protecting my logo through trademarking & copyright.

Also i do not wish the other site to stop using their logo, but I expect ill feeling for me using the same acronym - I'm not too bothered about this personally, but for the business purposes, I am directed to this forum :)

i understand they will have goodwill with their site logo, but with my trademark & the different graphical representation, are they in any position to stop me trading under this name?

Thanks again

Connor

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