Copyright v. Trademark: What’s the Difference?

Everyone has heard of something being copyrighted or trademarked. However, people often use these terms synonymously when in fact they mean very different things and have very different implications. Although I explain the difference between a trademark and copyright, most of my focus is on explaining a copyright.

Let us begin with defining a trademark. A trademark is a name, symbol, design or logo which is used when goods are traded to indicate the source of those goods. A trademark distinguishes one good from another. For the purposes of this article, I will use the Mickey Mouse character to better illustrate the differences between a trademark and copyright. The Mickey Mouse character has been trademarked as a design of Disney. Using the character to sell goods would be an infringement of the trademark.

If you are interested in protecting a title, slogan, or other short word phrase, a trademark is better suited for your needs. Copyright law does not protect a bare phrase, slogan, or trade name. For example, Nike’s slogan “Just Do It” would need to be trademarked in order to be protected.

A copyright, on the other hand, is a form of protection to the authors or creators of original works of music, art, literature, motion pictures and even architectural works. Ideas, procedures, processes are NOT eligible for copyright protection. A copyright is distinct from a trademark in that a copyright is a tangible form of expression. The Copyright Act of 1976 allows the owner of the copyright to reproduce the work, distribute copies of the work, perform the work (piece of music), and display the work (art). Let’s look at Mickey Mouse’s character. Mickey Mouse has been copyrighted as a cartoon character and one would infringe the copyright by using the character of Mickey Mouse is one’s own cartoons.

It is important to remember that a copyright protects a form of expression, not the subject matter of the work. For example, if Steven Spielberg made a movie about aliens invading the Earth in 2525, that particularly movie and the text of the movie would be copyrighted. James Cameron can just as easily make his own movie with original text about the exact same subject matter.

A work is copyrighted at the very moment it is created. No registration is required to secure a copyright, however, there are advantages in registering a copyright. One of the advantages is that the copyright becomes part of public records. Another advantage is that an infringement suit can only be filed with a court once the work is registered.

Furthermore, using trademarked or copyrighted names, symbols, logos or artistic work would not lead to an infringement of the trademark or copyright if one receives the author’s consent or permission.

If you are interested in trademarking an item or creating a copyright, please contact Boyer Law Firm, and we will be happy to assist.

How to Enforce a Foreign Arbitration Award

How to Enforce a Foreign Arbitration Award: Boyer Law Firm knows how difficult it can be to receive a favorable arbitration award. We also understand that having such an award enforced can be a troublesome process. There are a number of Conventions, Acts and treaties that may apply to the enforcement of such awards.

Know How to Enforce a Foreign Arbitration Award

In the U.S. alone, when attempting to have a foreign arbitration award enforced, the Panama Convention, the New York Convention, and U.S. domestic law under the Federal Arbitration Act may all apply. In most instances, the Conventions are controlling, however, in some cases they may conflict with one another. For example, some countries that are a party to one Convention may not be a party to the other Convention, thus creating a conflict between the applicable Conventions. There may also bilateral or multilateral treaties that are also applicable depending on the parties to the arbitration. In such a case, the knowledge and experience of a seasoned attorney is necessary to pursue the enforcement of your award.

It can be just as tricky enforcing a U.S. Arbitral Award in another country. The same or different Conventions, Acts and treaties may apply. Boyer Law Firm has knowledge and experience in fighting to have arbitration awards enforced, in the U.S. and abroad. Contact us today with any further questions we will be happy to assist you in this process.

Great Foreign Investments in the US and Florida

Great Foreign Investments in the US and Florida: A foreign investor in the United States enjoys the same flexibility in financial arrangements as U.S. citizens:

• There is no need to obtain formal approval from governmental authorities to set up a company.
• Foreign exchange controls are generally absent.
• The foreign-owned company may freely transfer U.S. profits abroad, and its owners may freely repatriate their investment.

Great Foreign Investments in the US and Florida

The United States is open for business!

It is important to contact an attorney regarding the different laws and regulations relating to each foreign county and the United States. Boyer Law Firm’s foreign investment practice focuses on advising businesses and investors on cross border investments in the United States. We advise clients on foreign business transactions, acquisitions, and tax issues. Our focus is on efficiently assisting clients in various foreign investment matters. We navigate our clients through the foreign investment process and guide them in making appropriate investment choices.

Practice areas include international transactions, tax effective financing, minimizing of foreign tax, overseas transactions and tax planning. Please contact us today regarding any of your matters in which we will be able to assist you.

The 1099 Form and Short Sales or Foreclosures

The 1099 Form and Short Sales or Foreclosures: When a property is foreclosed or a short sale closed, the net sale price is applied toward the debt, but it doesn’t satisfy the entire obligation. The rest is usually either forgiven or written off. The number reported on the Form 1099 is the amount of the loan that was not repaid, not the total amount of debt on the property.

Understanding the 1099 Form and Short Sales or Foreclosures

The foreclosure or short sale transaction is not a single transaction but two transactions, the sale or exchange of the real property, and secondly the forgiveness of the debt that exceeds the property’s fair market value.

Generally debts are written off or forgiven by a lender. To avoid recognizing taxable income, you must find a tax exception. Some exceptions are the Debt Forgiveness on Principal residence, insolvency exception, bankruptcy exception, etc.

At Boyer Law Firm we have handled such cases and were able to gain successful outcomes for our clients. If you are dealing with a short sale or foreclosure issue, Boyer Law Firm is fully equipped and trained to handle these types of transactions, including the closing. Please contact us with any further questions.

Why use an Attorney when Importing goods?

Why use an attorney when importing goods? The world of imports is a complex system that requires the knowledge and expertise of someone who is able to navigate the proper channels. There are certain goods that are restricted or prohibited from importation altogether. Likewise, some countries do not allow any imports at all from certain countries or regions. This alone can make importing a harrowing ordeal. Beyond the problems of what can be imported and from where, there lies the problem of how much, if any, will be paid in import duties.

In calculating the amount to be paid upon an import there are a number of things to consider. One is how the goods are categorized under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Depending on how the goods are categorized, there can be a great difference in how much will be paid. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection carry out interpretation and enforcement of the schedule. The importer of record must file entry documents with the port director along with evidence of a paid bond in order to cover any duties and taxes. If no entry documents are filed within 15 days of entry, the goods will be placed in a warehouse at the importers expense.

Two other ways that duties are assessed are ad valorem and by country of origin. Ad valorem means that the duties on certain goods are based on a percentage of the overall value of the goods. If the importer values the goods at a lower price, they may be able to receive a lower duty. This can be difficult, however, if the goods are a compound or are commingled. Duties assessed by country of origin can be assessed in a number of ways. These include where the assembly of the most expensive piece of the good occurred, where it was manufactured, where the last modification was made, and many others.

When planning to import items to the United States it is important not only to acquire the expertise of an attorney with knowledge of the relative laws, but also an attorney who is licensed to practice in the United States Court of International Trade. Boyer Law Firm not only has the requisite knowledge, but is also qualified to practice in the United States Court of International Trade.  Please contact us with any further questions.