A copyright notice symbol may be used for registered and unregistered works. (This is different from trademarks, where there is a distinction between the notice for registered marks and the notice for unregistered marks.) At a minimum, a notice should always be followed by a year designating when the work was completed and the name of the copyright holder. You can also add the text All rights reserved to communicate to viewers that before any reproduction is made of the materials identified by such copyright notice and attribution, permission should be sought from the designated owner.
2013. Copyright Owner Name. All rights reserved.
Remember: The copyright holder is not necessarily the same as the author (though it may be). If an employee authored a work, the employer is the owner (copyright holder). If your company engaged a contractor to author a work for you (e.g., a manual, a graphic work, website or advertising copy, etc.), you will likely need a written agreement between your company and the contractor that expressly transfers the copyright.
While I have your attention, I want to highlight several issues related to protecting your logo marks (your design marks as distinguished from your word marks):
A Funny Thing Happened Along to Way to the World Series: The San Francisco Giants and MLB forgot to register the team’s logo mark, the script treatment of their SAN FRANCISCO mark, that appears on the players’ jerseys. Someone else did. Now MLB is dealing with a lawsuit to gain control!
Think About Your App Logo Now: Protection for a pared-down logo to identify your company as the source for mobile and Internet apps is increasingly important. Logo marks for apps may be simple looking, but they are an important component of your brand protection strategy. If you are taking an element from your existing logo or perhaps the script of the first letter from your company name, you should think about registering the trademark for this new logo now.
Copyright Protection for Your Logo: Though copyright protection is not available for a word mark, since words or short phrases are not copyrightable, it is possible to get broader protection for your design mark under copyright law than under trademark law. That is, if your logo is original, more than a mere type treatment andit contains some extent of creativity, it may be possible to register a copyright in your design mark. Copyright registration is much less expensive than trademark registration and copyright protection is international in scope. Also, proving copyright infringement is far less complex than proving trademark infringement.
If you have any questions about design and logo marks you have created and whether copyright protection may be available, contact me.