Pro bono? Call UCLA law school and ask if a law student might help you. Or call the Lawyers for the Arts, a volunteer group. You will likely get about what you pay for, but beggars can't always be choosers. Good Luck.
YES, although your terminology is wrong.
We call it "priority of use" or "first to use in commerce".
Trademarks Rights are established by first use in commerce even without registration, so if you were the first user by eight years then there is the possibility that not only can you keep using your mark but the competitor may be infringing you. If, as I suspect, you mean the competitor has a trademark REGISTRATION for a brand name that you are already using eight years before, it is the...
The "Poor Man's Copyright" is a dangerous myth in the United States, and better name for it would be "Fool's Copyright".
Since copyright is automatic under Federal law [17 USC 102] and self-mailing confers no statutory damage rights, it is not only useless, it can really hurt you badly by luring you into not getting right to statutory damages, which is the real key to having a valuable copyright..
Copyright registration is the real "poor man's copyright" [as well as the rich man's copyright]....
The international "protocol" is actually a treaty called the Berne Convention to which the United States adhered March 1, 1989. Rather than new protocols, the treaty greatly simplified copyright protection by eliminating formalities such as copyright registration and notice that had been previously required under United States law. Copyright registration and notice are still very advantageous under US copyright law to enable enforcement and collection of enhanced damages.
This means that...
You need an entertainment or IP attorney. You can likely take ownership of the assets of the band, subject to the right of the former member to claim his 50% share of revenue on any joint works and perhaps a 50% share of the band assets at the time he left. If he waives those interests, your attorney say see that waiver is fully established legally. Your attorney will also get the registrations and licenses needed to establish this as your band for the future. Among the more significant assets...
Q:"Thinking about doing a trademark search for my small bushiness logo to avoid trademark infringement"
Answer: Great idea, you should do that before settling on a trademark or logo.
Q:"What happens if I do not file a trademark application?."
Answer: You might lose your trademark to someone who does file a trademark application, particularly if you are second to use and they are first..
Q:"Can someone else copy my logo and then file a lawsuit against me?"
Answer: Even if you are...
See a CA lawyer specializing in IP if this occurred in CA. The SOL may depend on when the misappropriation was discovered or may depend on when the misappropriation occurred, depending on where this occurred. Your post says you are in Sacremento. Look up Attorney Daniel Ballard of Sacremento on Avvo and give him a call
Yes,but there are some special steps you need to take:
1. Advertise them accurately - resale not original sale. 2. Disclaim your relationship (none) to the brand name owner. 3. Don't modify the shoes if you are using the brand name. 4. Don't rebrand them as yours. 5. Consult a trademark lawyer, as there may be other issues special to your specific business model.
It's illegal, called "reverse passing off", and violates 15 USC 1125. Why? 3 policy reasons -1) reverse passing off deceives the consumer into falsely thinking the product originates with you out under your control, 2) reverse passing off deprives the true brand owner of goodwill from sale of of properly branded merchandise, and 3) reverse passing off dilutes the exclusivity of the branded product and takes control of quality into your had rather than brand owner.
This is a common wrong question here on Avvo. You do not have to choose just one, and it would bad business judgment not to protect both. You also want a servicemark and want that servicemark protected.
The answer is BOTH. Both are automatic, but you need to register both to make them really valuable. And, use a lawyer so you are protected as well as possible.