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Old 10-03-2015, 10:34 AM   #1
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Selling a copyright business name

Just wonder what the drill is to sell a copyright business name.

Way back I knew there were shipwrights and boatwrights , so I decided to name my business ,

YACHTWRIGHT

Planning on advertising on Pro boat builder , and taking offers.


Any suggestions?

TIA
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:04 AM   #2
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Copyright laws have changed over the years. Depending upon when you first copyrighted the name, you may or may not have anything to sell if you didn't renew the copyright. http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:09 AM   #3
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FF-you would sell it the same way you would sell anything else, an ad in ProBoat Builder probably is a good place to start. The problem you will run into is that there will probably be little perceived value to a copyrighted name by potential buyers. Copyright is meant more for written works than just a single name. In theory, copyrighting a name does provide some protection, but the downside is it is the responsibility of the copyright holder to enforce that. So, if you come across someone else using the name, it is your responsibility (and cost!) to convince them to stop using it. Of course, if you are successful in court, you do recover your costs of enforcement. Whenever the name is used, you should include the copyright symbol ("c" in a circle) to give notice of the copyright. It would be far more effective to trademark a name rather than copyright it.

Good luck with the sale!
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:17 AM   #4
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Peg-the info you posted is a bit out of date. The latest major copyright law amendments were in 1989. The general term of a copyright now is the life of the author plus 50 years. In addition, for a written work, copyright attaches automatically, no filing required, although filing does provide some additional protection in terms f notice to others.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:09 PM   #5
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FF-you would sell it the same way you would sell anything else, an ad in ProBoat Builder probably is a good place to start. The problem you will run into is that there will probably be little perceived value to a copyrighted name by potential buyers. Copyright is meant more for written works than just a single name. In theory, copyrighting a name does provide some protection, but the downside is it is the responsibility of the copyright holder to enforce that. So, if you come across someone else using the name, it is your responsibility (and cost!) to convince them to stop using it. Of course, if you are successful in court, you do recover your costs of enforcement. Whenever the name is used, you should include the copyright symbol ("c" in a circle) to give notice of the copyright. It would be far more effective to trademark a name rather than copyright it.
Given his intended use, wouldn't it be a trademark? Also, the flavor of FF's post gives the impression it was never used. Doesn't that fall into the arena of "squatting"? I was led to believe trademarks must be actively used to retain validity.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:14 PM   #6
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Nothing to sell

Generally speaking, business names are not subject to copyright under US law:

http://copyright.gov/circs/circ34.pdf

If you have an official registered trademark on the name, you may be able to sell it, but unless it is a name that someone with deep pockets actually wants, there is very little market (e.g. those who have trademarks on "alphabet" are currently waiting for a call from Google).

Yachtwright itself seems to be generic enough that it may not even be trademarkable. Valuable marks are not generic or descriptive, for example Xerox, Kleenex, Google, Kodak, and so on.
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Old 10-03-2015, 02:23 PM   #7
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Peg-the info you posted is a bit out of date. The latest major copyright law amendments were in 1989. The general term of a copyright now is the life of the author plus 50 years. In addition, for a written work, copyright attaches automatically, no filing required, although filing does provide some additional protection in terms f notice to others.
You didn't read far enough. If you'd gotten to the bottom of page 2, you'd have seen that Congress amended them again in 1992.
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Old 10-03-2015, 03:11 PM   #8
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What Fred has is a Trademark, or more specifically a Wordmark. It is a valid, registered trademark, and as such is protectable and might be of value to someone. Trying to sell it is certainly worth a shot.

Fred, when you advertise it, don't say it's Copyright, because it isn't and it will suggest to people that you don't really have anything of value. Say that it is a valid, "Registered Trademark", and even give the registration number. That will show that you have a valid and defensible claim to the use of the word in business.

Here's a link to the info on the US Patent and Trademark web site Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)

Good luck with it!
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Old 10-03-2015, 03:18 PM   #9
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Without an equivalent domain registration, I doubt just the name has any value
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Old 10-03-2015, 03:26 PM   #10
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Without an equivalent domain registration, I doubt just the name has any value
Yes and no. With a registered trademark, you can assert trademark infringement against anyone using it as a domain name. I have seen domain names abandoned because of such infringements, and I've seen them forced off line. It can be an ugly process, but a registered trademark is a powerful tool.
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:29 AM   #11
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Yachtwright has been E mail registered for more than a decade .

We have used the name both importing and exporting marine items since the 1970's , although the (your'e right) Trademark was only done about 10 years ago..

Any other/better ideas than Pro Boat Builder?

Enforcement so far simply has been a nasty gram to the copyist with the federal number.
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Old 10-04-2015, 01:24 PM   #12
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The advice to advertise it with the term Trademark is important, as a simple business name cannot be copyrighted as far as I know and wouldn't prevent someone from being able to use it as a business name.

Also as twistedtree pointed out, a registered trademark can be used to prohibit someone from using a registered domain name. Back in the early days of the internet expansion, there were many who tried to squat on domain names. The early ones made some decent money, until the big players fought back and won their trademark infringement suits.

I have never registered a trademark, but I have registered a business name in my state. This has protected me from any other businesses from using that name within my state. At least so far. I have only had to protect it twice in 30 years and in both cases all it took was a nice letter and copy of the state law.
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:32 PM   #13
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a registered trademark can be used to prohibit someone from using a registered domain name. Back in the early days of the internet expansion, there were many who tried to squat on domain names. The early ones made some decent money, until the big players fought back and won their trademark infringement suits.

I'm not a lawyer, but I've been on the front lines of several such disputes. State business name registration is a big help, but only within a state, and most businesses are interstate these days.

And even Trademarks are not completely exclusive. Each is registered in the context of a type of business, and the same Trademark is allowed in different types of businesses as long as confusion between the two of them is unlikely. So, for example, FF's Trademark is in the context of a marine business. It is likely that the same Trademark would be allowed for something like a shipping business since it is unlikely to be confused with a marine supply business. But lawyers will argue over it if you ask them to. And this is where domain names can become a sticky issue since you can have two people with the same legitimate registered tradename. In that case whoever gets the name first is likely to keep it since they have a valid claim given their trademark, and the other trademark is within the context of a different business, so trademark law allows both of them to exist.
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:38 PM   #14
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What does McDonald's, of the hamburger-kind, think about this?
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:03 PM   #15
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What does McDonald's, of the hamburger-kind, think about this?
It's kinda like the law of tonnage in navigation, but in this case he who has more lawyers and money wins.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:06 PM   #16
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But I also know of a small family business called Johnson and Johnson that does computer and technology consulting, and they successfully kept a domain name that the big J&J would have wanted. There is lots of gray area, so lots of room for lawyers to battle.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:37 PM   #17
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What does McDonald's, of the hamburger-kind, think about this?
As long as you don't rename your boat to McCoot, you will do just fine.
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Old 10-04-2015, 11:12 PM   #18
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Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys are a sub species of lawyer here. Whether the US has them or not I know not, but it is an area of great specialization. If they exist,that`s where I would go.
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Old 10-05-2015, 05:58 AM   #19
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The big question is value.

Selling for not much more than the price of an add doesn't seem to be worth the bother.

How are trade names valued?
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Old 10-05-2015, 05:58 AM   #20
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Yes, it's the same in the US.
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