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Home > Using Copyright > Required Information > Consider Other Rights

Consider Other Rights

Other rights may arise with:

  • images of people (publicity)
  • company slogans and logos (trademark)
  • novel ideas and inventions (patent)


  • Right of Publicity
    Many states recognize an individual's right to govern how his or her name, image, voice, or other identifying characteristics (as a whole termed the "persona") may be used.

    State Laws: The laws of each state vary widely, and if a project is intended for wide distribution, such as on the internet, it is recommended that the project be able to clear the law of the state with the most restrictive law in this area.

    If you are not sure if your use of someone's likeness in your project is appropriate, it is recommended that you route your question to the Attorney General's office for a legal opinion.

    Under Washington State Law every individual or personality has a "property right in the use of his or her name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness, and such right shall be freely transferable, assignable and licensable, in whole or in part". This right survives the death of the individual or personality and exists whether or not the right was commercially exploited during the individual's or personality's lifetime. Use of the persona of any person, on or in goods or products, advertising, or fund raising, without permission of the owner of the right, constitutes an infringement. The infringement may occur even if the activity is not for profit.

    Names in the News: Many educational, newsworthy and public interest uses may be made without permission, however, this should not be interpreted as a blanket exemption for any and all educational, newsworthy or public interest uses. If your project contemplates unrestricted publication or dissemination of works containing images and characteristics of individuals or personalities, it is recommended that you obtain permission for current and possible future uses as you are creating the project. This will enable you to ensure your work is publishable and eliminate the need to go back and obtain permissions in the future if a new use arises.
Trademarks
A trademark is a symbol used to identify and distinguish the source of a product.
    Service mark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.

    The mark itself may be a word, acronym, phrase, or design, or a combination of these elements. Trademarks are generally marked with the symbol "TM" ("SM" for service mark) or "®" for federally registered marks.

    Using Copyrights Which Contain Trademarks: In using copyrighted works that also contain trademarks, such as images depicting logos or cartoon characters, care must be taken to ensure that your use of the trademark does not infringe the rights of the owner or infer an association between your project and the owner of the mark. For example, if you build a site that provides troubleshooting tips for Microsoft Word and you include logos from Microsoft, this might be an infringement because use of the logo might lead some to believe that your site is operated by, associated with, or endorsed by Microsoft. Quite simply, if you aren't affiliated with a company, don't use their logos on your site.

    University of Washington Trademarks
    The University of Washington controls the use of its trademarks. This includes the following:

    • Husky logos,
    • Name "University of Washington" and
    • Letters "UW" in certain fonts and styles.

Use & Permission: The University allows its trademarks to be used in official publications of the University and other uses deemed appropriate. If you are interested in using the University's name or logos in your project, you need to read the rules and adhere to certain use requirements. Most uses require permission from Publication Services.

Patent Rights
The U.S. government grants exclusive rights to useful, new, and non-obvious inventions or designs in the form of a patent.

  • A patent may be granted to anyone who "invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvements thereof."
  • The owner of a patent can prevent others from the manufacture, use, offer for sale, or sale of the patented invention in the U.S. and the importation into the U.S. of the same.

Copyrights & Patents:
If a patent has been obtained on an idea, anyone wishing to use the idea must obtain a license to use the invention, even if the use is unintentional or without knowledge that a patent exists. Contact UW TechTransfer for any questions about creation or use of patentable inventions.
 View Example 

 

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