When it comes to legal counsel in the corporate sector, understanding the nuances between copyright and trademark regulations is necessary for accurate compliance and to protect your brand against infringement. The state of New York is no exception to the Union’s robust set of intellectual property laws. With no shortage of experienced attorneys and law firms located in the area, your business can ensure the enforcement of intellectual property regulations through comprehensive legal counsel.

This article examines the key differences between copyright and trademark regulations in New York and the various approaches for enforcement of such laws. By understanding the factors that distinguish copyright and trademark, one can more easily identify any particular infringement on their intellectual property and take the necessary measures. Moreover, this article can help guide your organization to the right attorneys for long-term legal counsel and avoid any risks associated with corporate litigation.

What is Copyright?

At its most practical level, copyright is a form of protection for the creators and distributors of original artistic and literary works. Under copyright law, a work must typically be expressed in tangible form in order to receive protection. Copyright-able works include but are not limited to books, music, movies, artwork, photographs, software programs and architectural designs.

When an author or creator of a work registers for copyright protection with the United States Copyright Office, the author retains exclusive control over the work for a specific period of time, typically the length of the author’s life plus 70 years. This period of protection is denser within the state of New York; the state provides its own copyright laws for creators of works within its borders, allowing authors to register their works separately with the New York State Copyright Office in addition to the federal office.

Specifically in New York, copyright owners possess the exclusive right to reproduce, display or perform the work, make any derivative works or adaptations of the original work, and distribute, sell or otherwise assign the work to a third-party.

Should an individual or entity infringe upon or plagiarize a work registered with the US Copyright Office, the copyright owner may pursue a claim through the court system to receive monetary reparations or an injunction to stop further infringement or plagiarism of the work.

What is Trademark?

Trademark is another form of intellectual property protection, but for the most part it covers distinctive signs rather than exclusive creative works. A trademark is the public face of a company or organization; it is a unique identifier that consumers recognize and associate with the brand in the same manner as a person’s name or face. A trademark can take the form of a word, phrase, logo, design, sound, symbol, or any combination of these.

In fact, some trademarks are even welcome for continued use and even contribute to the appearance of a business, such as in the form of merchandising. For example, the exclusive Nike “swoosh” reference follows them for their branding, products and services, even in traditionally non-commercial contexts.

In the state of New York, as with copyright registration, a company or organization may register a trademark with both the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the New York State Trademark Office. When registering a trademark, the mark must be specific and unique enough to be clearly distinguishable from any other mark.

Should an organization feel that their trademarked identity has been infringed upon or plagiarized, the trademark owner may pursue a claim through the court system for civil damages or an injunction to cease the infringement or plagiarism.

End thoughts

Whether it is copyright or trademark related, always get skilled legal advice from experienced attorneys in the state of New York to ensure full compliance of both intellectual property laws within your business. This is essential for businesses of all sizes, from small start-ups to the Fortune 1000.

Fortunately, several firms located in the state and will provide custom counsel and long-term strategies for managing and protecting your brand from infringement issues. American Legal Solutions, Inc. for example, is highly respected within the region for providing top-notch legal counsel on business, real estate, and other matters. Additionally, UpCounsel offers a comprehensive network of courtroom-veteran lawyers that specialize in intellectual property law and business law.

When it comes to copyright and trademark regulations, experience and precision matters. So, trust the professionals in New York to protect your brand and its assets, and get on with your business!


Copyright regulation,

Trademark protection,

New York