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A copyright allows the creator of an original work exclusive rights to the use and distribution of that work for a predetermined period of time. Copyrights apply to works of authorship such as artistic works including songs, poetry, visual arts and novels. Even without registration, copyright is automatically rendered when the work is put into a tangible, viewable form. Titles, slogans, words, short phrases and names cannot be copyrighted. To protect an artist's name, a trademark is used.
Conduct a trademark search to determine if your name is already trademarked by another party. This can be done online at the Trademark Electronic Search System database (see Resources). If your name includes a design or graphic element, you will have to search using a Design Code.
Write a description of the goods or services provided under the prospective trademark which outlines the specific terms of the trademark.
Create a clear visual representation of your trademark.
File your trademark application. You can do this by going to the Trademark Electronic Application System online (see Resources). As of 2009, the cost of filing a trademark application directly with the principal register is $325.
If you are unable to file online, you may request a paper application by calling the Trademark Assistance Center at 1 (800) 786-9199. A trademark does not have to be registered, but registration can protect your legal rights from being infringed. A visual representation of your trademark can be plain text or graphic. Plain text conveys more broad rights.