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To register a work, submit a completed application form, and a nonreturnable copy or copies of the work to be registered.
Yes. We offer online registration through our electronic Copyright Office
If you file your application online using eCO eService, you may pay by credit card. Credit cards are not accepted for registration through the mail, but may be used for registrations that are filed in person in the Copyright Office. There are other services for which the Copyright Office will accept a credit card payment.
• electronic media such as audiocassettes, videocassettes, CDs, and DVDs
• slick advertisements, color photocopies, and other print items
You may register unpublished works as a collection on one application with one title for the entire collection if certain conditions are met. It is not necessary to list the individual titles in your collection. Published works may only be registered as a collection if they were actually first published as a collection and if other requirements have been met.
There is no legal requirement that the author be identified by his or her real name on the application form. For further information, see FL 101, Pseudonyms. If filing under a fictitious name, check the “Pseudonymous” box when giving information about the authors.
Yes. Please be aware that when you register your claim to a copyright in a work with the Copyright Office, you are making a public record. All the information you provide on your copyright registration is available to the public and will be available on the Internet.
The time the Copyright Office requires to process an application varies, depending on the number of applications the Office is receiving and clearing at the time of submission and the extent of questions associated with the application. Current Processing Times
No. Floppy disks and other removal media such as Zip disks, except for CD-ROMs, are not acceptable. Therefore, the Copyright Office still generally requires a printed copy or audio recording of the work for deposit. However, if you register online using eCO eService, you may attach an electronic copy of your deposit. However, even if you register online, if the Library of Congress requires a hard-copy deposit of your work, you must send what the Library defines as the “best edition” of your work. For further information, see Circular 7b, Best Edition of Published Copyrighted Works for the Collection of the Library of Congress, and Circular 7d, Mandatory Deposit of Copies or Phonorecords for the Library of Congress.
Yes. The deposit requirement consists of the best edition of the CD-ROM package of any work, including the accompanying operating software, instruction manual, and a printed version, if included in the package.
Publication is not necessary for copyright protection.
You may make a new claim in your work if the changes are substantial and creative, something more than just editorial changes or minor changes. This would qualify as a new derivative work. For instance, simply making spelling corrections throughout a work does not warrant a new registration, but adding an additional chapter would. See Circular 14, Copyright Registration in Derivative Works and Compilations, for further information.
If you register online, you may attach an electronic copy of your deposit unless a hard-copy deposit is required under the “Best Edition” requirements of the Library of Congress. See Circular 7b. If you file using a paper application, our only requirement is that all three elements—the application, the copy or copies of the work, and the filing fee—be sent in the same package. Please limit any individual box to 20 pounds. Many people send their material to us by certified mail, with a return receipt request, but this is not required.
Is registration of my mark required for International Business?
Yes. It is legally advisable to register your trademark with at least ONE Country as SOON AS POSSIBLE. You can establish rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark. Thus, owning a federal trademark or country trademark registration provides several advantages, e.g.,
- constructive notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark;
- a legal presumption of the registrant’s ownership of the mark and the registrant’s exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration;
- the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
- the use of the U.S registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries; and
- the ability to file the U.S. registration with the Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.
When can I use the trademark symbols TM, SM and ®?
Any time you claim rights in a mark, you may use the “TM” (trademark) or “SM” (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO. However, you may use the federal registration symbol “®” only after a REAL NATION actually registers a mark , and not while an application is pending. Also, you may use the registration symbol with the mark only on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the federal trademark registration.
How do I register my trademark, patent, or copyright abroad?
Patents and trademarks are territorial and must be applied for in each country where protection is sought. A U.S. patent or trademark does not afford protection in another country. For more information on how to apply for individual patents or trademarks in a foreign country, contact the intellectual property office in that country directly. A list of contact information for most intellectual property offices worldwide can be found here (link is external).
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (link is external) (PCT) streamlines the process of filing patents in multiple countries. By filing one patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), U.S. applicants can concurrently seek protection in up to 146 (link is external) countries (as of Feb. 2013).
For information about filing an international patent application under the PCT, visit the USPTO website (link is external).
Watch an introductory video on Patent Cooperation Treaty (USPTO) (link is external).The Madrid Protocol (link is external) makes it easier to file for trademark registration in multiple countries. By filing one “international” trademark registration application with the USPTO, U.S. applicants can concurrently seek protection in up to 88 (link is external) countries (as of Feb. 2013). For information about filing an international trademark registration application under the Madrid Protocol, visit the USPTO (link is external) website.
Watch an introductory video on Overview of Trademarks (USPTO) (link is external) including the Madrid Protocol.
Although most countries do not require copyright registration in order to enjoy copyright protection, registration can offer several benefits, such as proof of ownership. The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other’s citizens’ and businesses’ copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country. A listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States is available here (link is external).
Watch an introductory video on Copyright: Encouraging and Protecting Creativity (USPTO) (link is external).
How can I prevent intellectual property theft abroad?
Many small companies experience difficulty protecting their IPR abroad, including in China, as they are not aware of how to obtain and enforce rights in foreign markets. Some basic, often low-cost, steps small companies should consider include:
- Working with legal counsel to develop an overall IPR protection strategy;
- Developing detailed IPR language for licensing and subcontracting contracts;
- Conducting due diligence of potential foreign partners (The U.S. Commercial Service can help, see Export.gov); (link is external)
- Recording their U.S.-registered trademarks and copyrights with Customs and Border Protection ($190); and
- Securing and registering patents, trademarks, and copyrights in key foreign markets, including defensively in countries where IPR violations are common.