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When should I Trademark or Copyright Graphic Designs?

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  • When should I Trademark or Copyright Graphic Designs?

    I'm new to the site as well as graphic design, so I hope I'm in the right section. Here's some background information on the subject. I am by no means a professional, however, my father and I are working on a touchscreen map project for a local business. He is doing the programming while I take care of the graphics. My father owns the company and asked me for help. I am simply wondering if I should protect myself and trademark the graphics before "handing them over."

    Any input on the matter would be appreciated, Thank You.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum Graphic. If you're working for your father (in other words, you're not partners), then the work is "work for hire," and you hand over the rights to the work to him when you deliver it. You might want to consult a trademark attorney as well.

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    • #3
      <not a lawyer.

      Are you making the map for your father's company? Or is he making the touchscreen graphic for another company altogether?

      It really depends on the usage. If it's a service provided by your father, HE should copyright the software and the map he is creating. If it's in his contract to provide a one time, owner purchased touch screen product, his ultimate client will probably end up owning the copyright.

      You wouldn't trademark it.

      When we commission touch screen graphics they are usually bundled into the software and the whole shebang is handed over to the client. But these are one-off units going in one location. For things like multi-location bank kiosks, I imagine the paperwork is different and someone may maintain the software as a 'product' in which case, they would keep the copyright on the artwork. The original artist usually releases their hold on it. By contract.

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      • #4
        Copyright - Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished.

        Trademark/Servicemark - A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. A servicemark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. The terms "trademark" and "mark" are commonly used to refer to both trademarks and servicemarks.

        < not a lawyer.
        Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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        • #5
          Thank you everyone for your input. I did some more research into the matter and given our relationship on the work in the matter, apparently I will file for the copyright as the original "author" and register my father's company as the "claimant" giving the company the rights to the work.

          All is appreciated.

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