Friday, February 12, 2010

Pillow Talk

Dear Rich: I want to market a craft that I make. Online I have found numerous other people making the same pillows, in various shapes and forms. I have found one that has a copyright for a shape that goes around the neck. Others may possibly exist but I cannot find the images to determine if the shape and size of mine are the same or different.Mine are a simple square and rectangle, of which there are many versions on-line. What distinguishes mine is my marketing idea -- I want to give it sex appeal, quite different from others. For that reason I am applying for a trademark for my logo and name. But regarding the copyright, would I infringe on anyone's copyright if mine is square or rectangle? No, a useful article cannot receive copyright protection. However, the expressive elements that can be "separated" from the pillow can get protection such as the fabric design or images, or in some cases, the text. Traditional (square, round, etc.) and functional shapes (for example, around-the-neck) shapes of a pillow are not protected by copyright.
Getting a trademark. Seeking trademark protection for your logo and name is probably a good idea if you want to stop someone from using similar content. Of course, the Dear Rich Staff reminds you that to obtain that protection you must have used the marks prior to competitors.