First off, the best case is to register anything before anyone else thinks of it. With that said, it is said in law that there is no such thing as an original thought. This is why there is a vesting of ownership for ideas. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work; a patent protects an invention.
What about Copyrights?
Copyrights are filed with the Library of Congress and Trademarks are filed with USPTO or the United States Patent and Trademark Office. You can file Trademarks at the TEAS Trademark Electronic Application System, but when you file a copyright, you will copy the material and send it in tangible form with the application. it is important that you protect your intellectual property and it is a very important concept in Asset Protection. Copyrights, service marks and trademarks are all vaulable assets.
You are not legally required to register any intellectual property; it is rather a matter of protection. If you are going to do business internationally or across state boarders protection is increasingly important. There is great theft in intellectual property.
By Common Law, you can establish a copyright or trademark based on a legitimate first to use or first to create the expression. However, Common Law is not the official register of intellectual property. Registering the intellectual property will give you advantages in the following ways.
Notice to the public of the registrant’s claim to ownership…
A legal presumption of the registrant’s ownership of the property and the registrant’s exclusive right to use the property nationwide and in connection with the material, derivative works, goods and/or services listed in the registration.
The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court.
The use of the US registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries.
The ability to file the US registration with the U.S.Customs Service to prevent importation of infringingforeign goods.
Anytime you claim rights in a mark, you may use the “TM” (trademark) or “SM” (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO. However, you may use the federal registration symbol “®” only after the USPTO actually registers a mark, and not while an application is pending. In addition, you may use the registration symbol with the mark only on or in the mark you have registered.
You may use the © for copyright after you have filed the copyright with the Library of Congress. When you file a copyright, always use a return receipt and save the receipt since copyright dates are registered from the date of mailing and not from the date that they are recorded at the Library of Congress.