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THE ART OF THE DEAL: WHY MORE ARTISTS ARE GETTING TRADEMARKS

If you are an artist, designer, photographer or other creative entrepreneur, you will have likely come into contact with intellectual property, whether you know it or not. Intellectual property refers to the creations of the mind that are protected by law, enabling you to earn recognition and benefit financially from your inventions.

So, how are they protected? Generally, intellectual property falls under the categories of copyrights, patents and trademarks:

COPYRIGHT

Copyright applies to work that is recorded, such as films, sound recordings and musical works. It gives the author specific rights to their creations and prohibits any unauthorised use by third parties, meaning you can take legal action against infringement or plagiarism.

PATENTS

Patents apply to industrial processes and give innovators exclusive rights to use, sell or manufacture their creations.

TRADEMARKS

A trademark is a name, word, symbol or design that uniquely identifies one creator’s work from another. The key difference between copyrights and trademarks is that copyright laws protect your artwork, whereas trademark laws protect your business and reputation.

Throughout history, artists have more often been associated with copyright than trademarks. But in an age where artworks can be instantly and endlessly copied to produce marketable products, many major artists with distinct design elements have applied for both. Some of these include Banksy, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol, who have ensured their long-term income and maintained commercial control over their creations through copyrights and trademarks.

In many cases, an artist’s personal name is also their company name. So, turning yourself into a brand is an important business consideration to prevent anyone else from using your name to sell art. It is also important to consider that in the event of your death, a trademark in your name should be specified in your will to streamline succession planning and to ensure your loved ones can continue to earn money from your saleable artworks.

Registered trademarks can also generate new revenue streams by licencing your brand to other companies. This means you permit them to use your brand in exchange for financial compensation. Licencing is also a business-savvy way of extending your brand into new markets or geographies, increasing your recognition and brand awareness.

HERE TO HELP

At Turner Little, we understand that you work hard to create incredible art, so we work tirelessly to protect it with exclusive rights to your brand. To find out how we can help you register your trademark right first time, get in touch today.

Turner Little and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Material on this page has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.