A certificate of registration or an office action is usually issued within six to nine months of submission of the application.

Copyright Example

U.S. Copyright law protects cartoon or "graphic characters" as visual works of authorship.

Copyright Fact

Trademark law can also be used to protect cartoon or graphic characters if they are used in association with the sale of goods or services.

To obtain a registration, an applicant submits to the U.S. Copyright Office a completed application form, a nonrefundable filing fee, and a nonreturnable deposit of the work being registered. The deposit requirements vary depending upon the type of work and whether the work is published or unpublished.

The application and deposit are examined by a Copyright Examiner who evaluates the submission for originality and compliance with the registration process. The Copyright Examiner does not search Copyright Office records in completing the evaluation. The time the Copyright Office requires to process an application varies, depending on the amount of material that is submitted.