To be fully protected in the United States, a trademark must be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A capital R with a circle around it denotes a registered trademark.
Many small companies use their founders’ name as the basis for a trademarked company name.
As part of the punishment for German aggression during World War I, German drug maker Bayer lost its trademark on “Aspirin” in France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Today, Bayer still retains its trademark in Germany, Canada, Mexico and dozens of other countries.
The distinctive pattern of Burberry Ltd. is an example of a trademark that does not involve words or symbols.
The rights of creators of original artistic works such as books, movies, songs, and screenplays are protected by copyrights. Some examples and key issues surrounding copyrights are illustrated below.
In China, millions of pirated DVDs are sold each year, and music piracy is estimated to account for at least 95 percent of music sales. In response, the U.S. government has pressed its Chinese counterpart to better enforce copyrights.
The presence of the copyright symbol tells consumers that they are not allowed to duplicate the product that carriers the copyright.
When it became apparent that The Verve’s 1997 hit single “Bittersweet Symphony” duplicated a Rolling Stones song, The Verve was forced to give up the copyright for the song.
Today’s cheesy television ads aimed at inventors follow a long traditional of companies offering to help individuals copyright their ideas–for a small fee, of course.
A painting such as Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” enters the public domain (i.e., is not subject to copyright) one hundred years after its creator’s death.
Copyrights provide exclusive rights to the creators of original artistic works such as books, movies, songs, and screenplays (Figure 4.8 “Copyrights”). Sometimes copyrights are sold and licensed. In the late 1960s, Buick thought it had an agreement in place to license the number one hit “Light My Fire” for a television advertisement from The Doors until the band’s volatile lead singer Jim Morrison loudly protested what he saw as mistreating a work of art. Classic rock by The Beatles has been used in television ads in recent years. After the late pop star Michael Jackson bought the rights to the band’s music catalog, he licensed songs to Target and other companies. Some devoted music fans consider such ads to be abominations, perhaps proving the merit of Morrison’s protest decades ago.