Protecting Your Brand: Copyrights and Trademarks

Domestic DipticUntitled

When I trademarked the term Lifestylist® over 10 years ago I had no idea what I was in for. I thought by registering the name and going through the proper channels I’d be protected – unfortunately it wasn’t that easy. You have to constantly monitor all of the media that is out there and be the  intellectual property cop which can be very time consuming, but the only way to protect what you have built. I’ve found that some people honestly didn’t know that Lifestylist is a trademarked term and will remove their usage of it, but there are others who insist on getting lawyers involved.

Through all of this I’ve become increasingly more aware that there are some really stellar, ethical bloggers out there that really know their stuff and share great information and then well… there are others. Today I noticed a tweet from someone I follow and respect – Courtney Price of Courtney Price Design and sure enough it was full of great information that every blogger needs to be aware of.

Her article on Copyright Issues for Bloggers shows how to do the right thing – she contacted Susan and William from the House of Brinson about an online class they gave on copyrights,  got quotes and permission to use their photography and credited them in the article. Blogging should be about celebrating all of us – not just your own domain.

We teamed up at the beginning of our Lifestylist journey with Lisa Stewart of Lisa Stewart Photography so we would have the photos we need to tell our story with. I have a photography page at the top of my blog that credits her and states all photos are copyrighted.

Words to the wise: if you don’t own the rights to a photo, got permission in writing to use it or took it yourself, don’t use it. This is becoming an issue that more photographers and writers are taking seriously and winning in the battles that make it to court.

If you don’t know if a term or service is trademarked you can go to the USPTO website, do a trademark search and anything that has been filed will be shown as well as who the owner is.

If you haven’t discovered them already, be sure to visit The House of Brinson and Courtney Price Design to see examples of how to share ideas and make a house a home beautifully.