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Trina Ann Longo

Trina Longo’s Answers

149 total

  • Can I draw and sell drawings of well known movie characters on

    Can I draw and sell artwork I have created of well known movie characters on legally? For example, Ian McKellen's Gandalf, Christopher Reeve's Superman, Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes and call it 'likenesses of non published images, ...

    Trina’s Answer

    If you did what you propose, it would likely be copyright infringement, a violation of the actors' individual rights of publicity and depending upon the image, trademark infringement. Calling it "likenesses of non published images" does not change anything. Someone may say that they "borrowed" a stranger's car; but if he took it without permission, it is theft. What the infringer calls it is irrelevant. Yes, it is likely that the shop owners on just have not been caught yet by the rights' owners.

    If you did what you propose, it could land you in serious legal trouble. To quote the character of Rick from Casablanca: "'ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."

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  • I want to copy write my poetry, ... is the "poor man's copy write" legal ?

    I was researching copy write online and found that it is. I know that we can find ANYTHING we want to find on the web, ... just look hard !!

    Trina’s Answer

    My colleagues have provided you very valuable information. I wish to reaffirm what they've stated and to give you the link to the Copyright Office website advising the public that so called "Poor Man's Copyright" is a MYTH and will not give you the protections you are looking for.

    And if you consider it, either $35.00 or $55.00 in governmental filing fees for a copyright registration is not that expensive, given the benefits you get in return for that money (namely, the ability to bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement in federal district court, the possibility of recovering statutory damages and attorneys fees, etc.). In my book, that is a good return on investment.

    It is in your best interest to invest the governmental filing fees to secure the ability to enforce your rights in your poetry.

    Good luck!

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  • Is there a way to copyright online for free completely?

    I'm on a tight budget-0$ actually, and I really need to copyright my songs, before letting a few bands that I know play them.

    Trina’s Answer

    Copyright subsists in original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright rights attach immediately upon the creation of the original work of authorship. So, as soon as you wrote your songs down, copyright rights in those songs existed and you owned them.

    That said, it is very important to register your songs with the Copyright Office. You cannot bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement unless your work is registered with the Copyright Office. And there is a governmental filing fee for filing an application for copyright registration. In certain circumstances, that can be as low as $35.00 per work. In others circumstances, the application fee is $55.00 per work.

    So, while you enjoy your copyright rights for free (and without any filings), you may only enforce those rights in federal district court if you own a copyright registration.

    If you register your work with the Copyright Office within 3 months of publication, you may be eligible to receive statutory damages of between $750 and $30,000 per infringement and attorney's fees from those who infringe your copyright. This is extremely important for two reasons. First, damages can be very difficult to prove. So being able to get statutory damages is a huge advantage. Second, bringing a lawsuit for copyright infringement in federal district court is expensive, but if you win and are awarded your attorney's fees, that is a great benefit.

    Bottom line - It is better to register your songs with the Copyright Office. So it may be time to start checking the sofa cushions for loose change.

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  • If I file an application for a trademark today and someone starts using the same mark tomorrow on similar or identical goods....

    If I file a trademark application today under an intent to use basis and tomorrow someone starts using the same mark selling products, will they have common law rights that eliminate or trump mine? Thanks

    Trina’s Answer

    It depends. Let's assume, as you state in your question, that the products you will be claiming in your application (and eventually selling under your mark) are identical or related to the products sold by the other company. If your application makes it through the examination process, you begin using your mark in commerce, prove that use to the USPTO in a timely manner, and obtain a federal registration for that application, then your constructive first use date is the filing date of your intent-to-use application. In that scenario, your priority date is earlier that the company that starts selling products the day after your application filing date. You would have superior rights and could object to the other company's use of the mark.

    If, on the other hand, your application does NOT mature to registration, then your rights would originate from your first use date. And if your first use date is after the first use date of the other company, the other company has priority and therefore superior rights.

    If this is not a law school exercise, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced trademark attorney to properly clear your mark before you file an application.

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  • Can you tell me how to find some pro bono trademark assistance?

    I am a college student with a good idea for a business. I need help filing a trademark application and potentially responding to office actions if they happen. I don't have the kind of money required to hire an attorney. How can I go about qualify...

    Trina’s Answer

    Check with the University of Minnesota School of Law to see if it has a pro bono clinic.

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  • How long does it take to trademark a phrase to use for a t-shirt?

    I have searched to make sure it's available.

    Trina’s Answer

    In addition to the helpful information provided by my colleagues, I just want to add that it is imperative that you work with an experienced trademark attorney. Remember that a trademark is a source identifier. So you need to be sure that you will be properly using your mark as a source identifier. If not, you are likely to receive refusals. You don't want to pay the governmental filing fees and have nothing to show for them (i.e., a registration) because you receive a failure to function or ornamentation refusal. That is why working with an experienced trademark attorney is critical to you. He or she can advise you as to how to properly use your mark so that you can avoid these (and possibly other) refusals.

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  • My personal information was compromised on two dating websites. I want to find out the identity of the person who did this since

    I did not divulge any passwords or personal information. The website response stated I needed a subpoena for any information. How do I go about doing this? I believe somebody has tried to steal my identity since I had to change my passwords on ema...

    Trina’s Answer

    You may also need to check all of your devices for spyware. Perhaps an ex (spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend) placed spyware on one of your devices and was able to get your user names and passwords through the spyware. And the spyware is often hidden very well with innocuous file names so it will not be that obvious if it is on, say, your cell phone.

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  • If I file for a trademark through an attorney, will my personal information be published?

    I read on the uspto website that once a trademark is filed, all information pertaining to the registration is published under the freedom of information act, ie full name and address. This seems like an invasion of privacy. However, I see that o...

    Trina’s Answer

    Greetings from up the road in McLean.

    All of the information for the Applicant, including Applicant's name and address will be available online for anyone to see via the USPTO's online databases. That happens whether an attorney files on behalf of an Applicant or not.

    But it is always in your best interest to work with an experienced trademark attorney. Here's why: Trademark applications undergo a very extensive examination - there is no rubber stamping. Experienced trademark attorneys are very familiar with the types of refusals applications receive and so they can advise you before you file the application (and spend the non-refundable government filing fees) your likelihood of actually being able to obtain a federal registration for your proposed mark.

    For my clients who are individuals and who do not wish to have their home address available for everyone to see, I recommend that they obtain a P.O.Box and we use that as the Applicant's address. Plus, if I file, all of my office information is listed under the correspondent information. We can still file under TEAS Plus. Under those circumstances, the Applicant does not have to list a phone number or email address.

    Bottom line - work with an experienced trademark attorney. It is well worth the price.

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  • Can a dead trademark application be revived?

    I filed a trademark application a few years ago and it was refused and then I let it become abandoned. Can I revive it or would I have to start over?

    Trina’s Answer

    In certain circumstances an abandoned trademark application may be revived; that is usually within 2 months of of the mailing of a Notice of Abandonment. We don't have all of the facts here (and you should not give them in this public forum), but if the Notice of Abandonment was issued more than 2 months ago, you will have to start over by filing a new trademark application.

    But before you waste any more money on filing fees, you need to speak with an experienced trademark attorney. That attorney should obtain and analyze a trademark clearance search for you. Even assuming that the mark was available for registration a few years ago (which may not be the case given that you received a refusal), that doesn't mean the mark is still available now. For example, almost 350,000 trademark applications have been filed thus far in 2014. It may be that someone has filed an application for a confusingly similar mark for identical or related services since your application abandoned. And that application would be a grounds for refusing any new application you filed.

    Also, the trademark attorney will want to review the application file for your abandoned application to determine why it was refused. It may be that there is no way you are ever going to get that mark (perhaps it is generic for your goods or services). Once the trademark attorney has reviewed the file of your abandoned application and knows more facts, he or she can advise you as to whether you will likely be able to obtain a registration.

    Bottom line - work with an experienced trademark attorney, who can advise you as to whether it is worth your time and money to file a new application.

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  • Can i use stickers with known characters for profit in jewelry?

    If i were to make a necklace for a child's birthday party, using a Dora the Explorer sticker, is this considered copyright, even if i paid for the stickers and choose to create something new with it. I would also sell the necklace on my website. W...

    Trina’s Answer

    Actually, Viacom International owns the DORA THE EXPLORER trademarks / copyrights. Disney does not. But other than mistaking the trademark / copyright owner, my colleagues are spot on. You are asking for trouble if you do what you propose. You cannot do what you propose lawfully because your use of the DORA THE EXPLORER marks would create the false impression that Viacom International sponsored or endorsed your product when it, in fact, did not. That is trademark infringement in violation of the Lanham Trademark Act. You would also be running afoul of the Copyright Act, as you would be infringing on the exclusive rights of the copyright owner.

    Bottom line - if you sell this jewelry on your website, you are liable to Viacom for trademark and copyright infringement.

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