Is Copyright enough or do I need a Trademark?
I am starting a genealogical research and publishing company. I will heavily emphasis publishing initially. I heard that I have copyright automatically on my ebooks/website. I can take the extra step of registering for official copyright on these e-books. However, I am conceded because digital works are easy to copy and easy to steal. I am considering using company logo as a watermark on the pages of ebooks, to make it easier to spot online. Do I need to take the extra step of trademarking my name/logo.
~ New York
Copyrights and Trademarks do very different things. Copyrights protect the effort and creativity that is used to produce a work. Anyone who is willing to work independently can produce another work with the same ideas. In other words, copyrights protect your effort and creativity, not your ideas.
Trademarks, while usually owned by business, actually protect the consumer. The trademark prevents the consumer from becoming confused about who is providing them with stuff, like genealogical research services or books providing genealogical information. In other words, trademarks protect your relationship with your customer.
It sounds like both trademarks and copyrights could be important to your new business. For example, while you do have an automatic copyright, usually the costs of a copyright lawsuit are significantly higher if you have not registered with the US Copyright prior to the infringing acts. If your industry is prone to digital theft or counterfeiting, a trademark can be very useful, because websites that operate using your domain name may be prone to action under the UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Process). And this list could continue for some time…
Since your business (publishing and genealogical research) relies heavily on Intellectual Property rights, I suggest meeting with an intellectual property lawyer at least for an initial consultation. Be sure to bring along a copy of your business plan, samples of the works that you will publish, and any legal forms that you might have found, for example, your publishing contract.
Good luck with your new research and publishing company.