Can You Trademark A Photograph?

[This transcript is a result of automated audio transcription from the video posted below. For help from Copyright Trademark Lawyer Brian Russ, visit or call 888-632-6623. Grammatical errors may be present in the transcript below. This transcript is for informational purposes only and may not be relied on as legal advice.]

Hey everyone is attorney Brian Russ I’m a California attorney. Helping people with copyright and trademark matters you can see my website above Give us a call 888632 663 you know one of the best things about practicing in the copyright and trademark field primarily. As you may have seen my other videos I focus on copyright and trademark rights acquisition.

So actually getting the rights to the copyright and trademark and and obviously advising people once they have the marks, and so on. It’s one of the great things I can work with people across the US you know, I regularly work with people in other states. You know, I’m based in California and I’m amazed the bar for the patent trademark office for trademark purposes not for patents not for pads. I didn’t take any science classes. And so I’m not a patent attorney. But I can’t help with trademark registration issues. So today’s topic is on view this question I get a lot from people and essentially the question is, can I trademark a photograph right you you go to the beach or wherever your national park go to somebody take a picture of Half Dome.

Take a picture of El Cap, three sisters. And he’s out and I trademark my photo. It’s a great photo. It probably is a great photo and you want to trademark it and that’s awesome.

And so I get people call me all times they cannot trademark a photo so I’m going to give you the answer. First, I gotta give you some disclaimers. I get through these really fast first This video is not legal advice you have not retained me for this video i’m just providing for informational educational purposes only it’s not legal advice. This is not fact specific. If you have a fact specific issue you want legal advice on you need to retain an attorney to help you with your situation. you’re viewing this video does not constitute an attorney client relationship. And finally, this video is an advertisement I sell my services so to the extent this video can be considered advertisement should be considered an advertisement. Again, I sell my services. I have my URL right up there copyright trademark you can give us a call 888632 663 talk to you about your case talk to you about what’s going on and we’ll probably want to work with you. And when we work with you we take your money.

Ok, getting into the question. Can I trademark a photograph? Can you trademark a photograph? And as an attorney that practices and copyright trademark law again I practice in San Francisco, San Francisco trademark attorney I practice the Sacramento Sacramento trademark attorney and I practice in LA Los Angeles trademark attorney all those things. I get these questions all the time. Can I trademark a photograph? And the answer is no. No, you can’t trademark photograph. You just can’t do it. A photograph cannot be trademarked. trademarks are limited to a few categories. So one is for words. Right so we think were some famous words have been trademarked. Just do it. What was the one from McDonald’s? I’m loving it. Things like that. trademarks are for words. They’re also for phrases. Well, I guess I could have said Just do it. And I’m loving it as phrases words. You know, probably McDonald’s, Nike, so on things like that right? Those are trademarks.

Oh, what? I always love fast food. Trademarks because they’re so great like free shirt chalupa from Taco Bell. Pretty sure Chiluba is trademarked because what does it Chiluba but for a delectable treat from Taco Bell. So trademarks are also for symbols. Right? So we were talking about logos and things like that. And on trademark sales for designs, you can get a trademark for color. Also. So trademarks for words, phrases, symbols and designs, they do not cover photographs, photographs, are something that are covered by copyright. You know, you copyright a photo. And technically, the copyright exists the moment the photos taken at the moment of creation, again, photos, artistic expression, one of the things I like to try to tell people is, you know, think about trademark trademark equals business. And copyright equals art. Trademark is usually, you know, things used in commerce, things used to distinguish itself from competitors, whereas copyrights are generally covered for things that are, you know, a creative expression.

Now, of course, right. Big copyright, you know, is Hollywood is is is Nashville, its music. You know, so obviously, there’s business there, but it’s more, you know, the business of creativity. So anyway, so if you’re looking for a trademark attorney in California, if you’re looking for a trademark attorney in Sacramento, a trademark attorney in San Francisco or Los Angeles, contact me, be happy to help you. If you’re looking for a copyright attorney out in New York City, contact me if you’re looking for a copyright attorney in Nashville, contact me. You know, I’m happy to help you guys figure out how to get this stuff trademarked and copyright. Right. And again, I’m just looking to help you with your rights acquisition. So that’s it for the video today. It’s kind of a long day, kind of at the end of the weekend. pretty tired. So just quick video. Hey, have a good one.

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