Western & English Today


W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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Page 32 of 133

The Source 2017 29 O UR INDUSTRY'S CREATIVE entrepreneurs burst with new ideas, inventions, fun designs, and interesting ways of doing things. Eager to get feedback, get their product out to the customer, and make money, they rush to build samples for the next trade show or to share their product on social media. A new, potentially lucrative idea is exciting! You've invested a lot of thought and effort into de- velopment, and you want to see a return on the mental energy and financial costs. Not wanting to put a damper on the cre- ativity and enthusiasm, or get mired down in boring paperwork, business owners and designers oen don't think about how to protect their ideas and their future income. ey don't consider the potential dangers from folks looking to borrow ideas, creative- ly copy, or flat-out "knock them off." But it's imperative to think through and allocate re- sources to protect your intellectual property via copyrights, trademarks, and patents — sooner, rather than later. FIRST, SOME TERMS: COPYRIGHT: You can copyright art, liter- ature, and film. In fashion, you can copyright patterns, ads, your website, or your logo. A copyright is relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain, and the U.S. Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov) has a tutorial for the do-it-yourselfer. For a nominal fee, you can file electronically, if you meet the copyright requirements. Copyrights can protect you internationally under mutual treaties and are currently good for individual works for the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years. In the Western and English lifestyle industry, we most likely seek copyright protection for our websites, stating that we own the words and content and that no one can copy and paste materials without per- mission. We also need to be aware of copy- right laws when we are using photographs. e copyright for a photo automatically belongs to the photographer, even if your company purchases a licensed copy of the photo for an ad, or paid for a whole shoot. Unless a legal photo release (and typically fees depend on anticipated usage) chang- es the ownership, the photographer who created the work owns the photo and all rights to it for future use. ird parties (endorsees, for instance) cannot transfer their rights to a company for photo usage without explicit written permission from the photographer. TRADEMARK: is is a source identifier of goods and services for the consumer. Accord- ing to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (www.uspto.gov), you may apply to register a trademark on a word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. If someone buys a product with a trademark, they may expect it to be of simi- lar quality to others of that mark. It does not necessarily protect the manufacturer, since a trademark comes from actual use, so it needs to be continually kept consistent, and kept in use, in order for you to protect your mark. If you're still unsure of your knowledge or don't want to take time away from your design and product development, consult with an intellectual property attorney who can be your partner throughout the process.

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