Copyright or not copyright ? That is my question 🙋

Hi, A question that I ask myself for one of my future partial retirement projects in order not to be “looted” too much in the event of a global success as enormous as it is totally unexpected (more seriously it is a question of being able to remain an owner and free to continue to create and distribute without being prevented by a smart guy who will have protected my idea/logo/name in his name… you see what I mean :grin:): are many of you having protected your brand by an official registration? I think about the name of a site, its logo and its areas of activity. If so can you share what type of protection you have chosen and why ? Best regards.

I do consulting for small businesses and have registered company identities in Europe for a few clients.

In my experience, unless you’re planning to go international, it’s a waste of money (it’s quite expensive, at least in Europe it is).

It gives peace of mind that no one will take your name, and you have a stick to whack people with who register a name or domain name (too) similar to yours.

Keep in mind that you’re already protected by the standard copyright laws that apply in most of the world. Even with just those in hand, you can defend your brand pretty well.

A common misconception is that registering a brand will make it yours unconditionally. This is not the case. Even if your registration is granted, it’s possible that down the line someone will pop up who claims prior ownership. Even of they didn’t register their brand, if they can prove they’ve been using it longer than you, it’s theirs.

The above is true for all countries that’ve signed the international copyright treaties. Some (mostly eastern and Asian countries) that haven’t, only recognise registered businesses and allow companies to register (or use without registration) an existing name if it hasn’t been registered before. This will have no effect on the rest of the world though.



@Heroic_Nonsense Hi, Thank you for this response as always detailed and useful. The price is indeed a concern: around €500 for France (name+logo+3 sectors of activity), around €2700 for Europe, for the USA+Canada+GB it is the same price, a total of around 6000€ for countries that might interest me. Hence my question here. The anteriority of the use seems to be a fairly generally established fact except that in “digital” matters it is not as clear. If I create a YouTube channel and use the same name for my website, how can I guarantee that I retain ownership without “official” protection? Admitting that no one can claim or use prior art. For example, I discovered that in some countries (like France :yawning_face:) using my first/last name for my psychologist website could be contested by homonyms because they may have reason to not want to be equated with “psychologist.” It’s very confusing because in France I am obliged to name my self-employed company with my name (rule of individual companies in France, re :yawning_face: we are good I tell you we are good). Not easy all this…

If I create a YouTube channel and use the same name for my website, how can I guarantee that I retain ownership without “official” protection?

The countries that you list, have all signed the UCC. This means that any intellectual properties that you (and your business) have, are protected by copyright law in those countries. This includes your name, on the condition that it is a unique name (and not something general, like “Radio Company”).

If you register a youtube-channel, you do so (by Google’s terms) in the United States (not in France, even if you visit to do so). American copyright laws apply, and the US has signed the UCC too.

This means that anyone who signs up a Youtube channel and chooses a name that is (too) similar to an existing brand, could get into trouble if the owner of that brand complains to Youtube. So no worries there.

The ‘official protection’ only simplifies your defense. Say that you register a company called “Dan’s Elements”. Down the line, another Dan (there are statistically more Dans in web development than in other fields) comes along and registers “Dan Elements” - a similar, but not identical name.

The first Dan can now dispute the ownership of the name. The registration office will consider this, and looks at a number of factors. The first factor is what both companies actually do. If both are in web development, then yes - this is a problem. If one of them is in web development and the other makes concrete building blocks, then this is not a problem.

Another thing they look at is the age of the company. If it turns out, after investigation, that the second Dan has in fact been using the name for far longer than the Dan who bothered to register his name (and again - both are operating in the same field of business) - the prior art overrules the registration and “second Dan” gets to keep using the name.

Back to your situation: if you’ve registered your name, you can simply send proof of registration to whoever you’re complaining to and tell them “look, i was here first!”. If you didn;t register the name, you’re going to have to prove you were first otherwise. For example by showing old photos of your business that show the name, adverts you took out that show your name or show that you registered your domain on a certain date.

More work, more easily disputed by the other party’s lawyer and generally more of a fuzz. If time is money for you, the registration might be cheaper.



So lets look at this, Apple is has many subsidiary companies. Apple INC owns Apple Sdn Bhd in Malaysia, Apple in Singapore Apple in uk these are all separate companies to protect the the parent company Apple. This does not stop Apple Cybercafe opening cyber cafes in Malaysia. This FYI exist comes with Apple Logo and all so does apple. The issue is nothing will be done unless they lawyer up and run up expenses. The question is is it worth it.


As long as those cybercafes don’t pose a threat, and stay out of the lime light, they’ll get away with it.

In the US, Apple has to protect its trademark actively (due to local law) and could even loose the right to its own name if it eases up on it. In other countries this is often not the case.

Apple has been on the reverse of this too. I the 80s. Apple Inc, a record company owned by the Beatles, sued Apple for the use of the name and a logo that looked like an apple (the fruit). The record company even tried to convince the judge Apple was publishing music as macOS came with musical sound effects at the time.

They settled, on the condition that Apple Computer would never meddle in the music business.

When the iTunes store launched, Apple Inc (again: the record company) sued Apple again for breach of the earlier agreement. Apple (the big one) again settled and paid an unknown amount of money, and even got a deal to publish the Beatles’ music on iTunes too.

Fun fact: the sound effect called ‘Sosume’ on classic macOS was named that as a pun on the settlement: “So Sue Me”.


Oh Apple Malaysia and what ever region actively deal with this stuff thats why all the different subsidiary companies in each country.

Just imagine the amount of money is spent by apple setting up countries and or regional HQ with their own legal teams.

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An element of response to the question of price at Apple: it’s not just for the margin, it’s also for the protection… of the margin :rofl: