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How to Trademark comic book characters??? Trademark

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by TheWonderKid, Jul 30, 2012.

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  1. TheWonderKid

    TheWonderKid Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi. I am an aspiring comic book creator, and have been creating many of my own characters and comics for quite some time now.
    Like how did Batman, Spider-Man and Superman get trademarked. And also, what is the deference between trademarks and copyrights?
    It would be a huge help if I had them protected. Thanks.
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Cool... I met Gene Colan a number of times. He was such a nice and talented artist. Graphic novels and comic books are far more than they appear to be.

    Copyright protects a "work" - something you've created. It could be the words in a book, the drawings in a comic book or pictures you have taken. It helps people who create something unique and valuable have the exclusive benefits of their creativity. They are exclusively allowed to make money from their creation for a period of time and nobody else can use it without permission. This helps keep people creative - if you create something unique, the law will protect your right to be the only one to profit from your creativity.

    Trademark protects a "brand name" which is a unique name identified with an entity that provides a good or service. It prevents the public from being confused with who makes a product. It's a recognition that as a society, we need to protect people's unique business name so people know who is selling the product.

    Let's say you love Tropicana orange juice. What happened if 3 other companies marketed their juice with that unique name? You'd buy juice, thinking it's the real Tropicana's and perhaps discover it's terrible and not what you expected. Same thing with computers - what if there were multiple companies with the name and logo for Hewlett Packard or for HTC or Motorola mobile phones? You'd be buying inferior knock-offs by companies who have the same name hoping to confuse you. The law doesn't allow it.

    Copyright happens automatically. If you create something in writing, you own all the rights. Registration helps prove you created it and not someone else.

    Trademark isn't so simple. You need to first establish that you have a reputation of doing business as XYZ. You can file an intent to do business, which is a good start but it is expensive - you don't know whether the business will be successful and it's over $300 per application.

    So with comic books, companies have a right in (a) copyright, which is the ownership of the artwork and all the "stuff" it contains, as well as (b) a "brand" which people might associate with a group of stories. For example, the Batman symbol displayed over Gotham City along with the special font is a special and unique logo that most would associate with DC Comics' Batman series. This way any product or book that uses that "logo" would and should be associated with DC Comics' and Warner Brothers' product. Same goes with Marvel characters like Spiderman. Make sense?
     
  3. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    I too have created comic style fictional charcaters. I have often thought of trying to publush them but was always afraid to try for fear someone would steal my ideas or other mishaps. One character i created called "Freedom" is pretty original if you ask me.
     

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