Copyright Name - How Can I Copyright a Name?
There is a common misconception that there is a close connection between the law of copyright, name protection and company names. In fact, under UK intellectual property law, these are three, very different, concepts. So the question arises, how do you go about protecting copyright, name reputation and names generally. This includes band names, names of TV personalities and names of film, book and cartoon characters.
Copyright attaches to artistic and literary works, such as paintings, sculpture, musical compositions and novels but to speak of name copyright is to overlook the fact that names need separate legal protection by means of trademark registration. Names and trade names are not usually artistic works. If there exists any copyright in a name, it would most likely only relate to the design of a logo incorporating the name or a particular visual get-up of the name concept.
So, whilst it is commonly thought that you can copyright a name and people talk in terms of 'name copyright', there is really no such thing from a legal point of view. Nams need to be protected by trademark registration.
Copyright in logos and designs is automatic in the UK and does not require any process of registration for the creator to assert legal ownership of copyright. However, copyright works such as designs and logos should, in just the same way as names, also be protected by trademark registration. It is not enough just to rely on copyright and, even if you own the copyright, name theft can easily occur if someone else decides to register your name, design or logo as a trademark before you get the chance to do so.
Protection of a name by trade mark registration will confer the exclusive right to use the name within the territory for the chosen goods or services for 10 years, renewable thereafter on an evergreen basis.
As distinct from design copyright, name reputation should always be protected by trademark registration.
For more information on how to protect copyright, name creation listings, brand names and other kinds of name, please contact us and one of our legal team will advise you on your specific requirements. Each business is different and it is important to get proper advice in order to get the broadest protection. We can also run some free trademark searches on any names that you are interested in to make sure that they are legally available. We are one of the leading trade mark firms in the UK. We will be pleased to help you.
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