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Categories for Intellectual Property

A Statement of Use (SOU) is an official form that is available from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You cannot file this form until your business has begun using a trademark, which is intended so you can’t register a trademark as a means to hold it or tie it up, and which requires it to be used for commerce reasons. There are many ways...

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We’ve all been asked to keep a secret at one point or another, but if that secret is from a friend or family member, the only real consequence of breaking that pledge is hurt feelings and a violation of trust. But a non-disclosure agreement or NDA basically takes the notion of keeping a secret even further by creating a legal obligation to keep a secret....

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Intellectual property is a crucial element in the long-term success of any business venture. Failure to protect your intellectual property can result in competitors stealing your ideas, your branding, your image, and ultimately the good will you’ve created with happy or loyal customers. Think about a few of your favorite brands or products and how you are easily able to identify them and will often...

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If you’ve received an office action notice from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) after filing an application to protect your intellectual property, then you may be wondering what this means, what you should do next, and how best to proceed. First of all, it is important to note that it isn’t uncommon to receive an office action notice, and that in most cases...

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the government body that registers trademarks. These trademarks can be applied to business names, slogans, phrases, logos and symbols, and are an important element to protecting the intellectual property rights of any business. Once a trademark has been successfully registered, you then receive exclusive rights to use the trademark and make money from the trademark. It...

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Branding is of critical importance to most businesses and protecting your brand by securing your trademark is an important first-step on your way to success. While there are many different ways to protect your intellectual property, trademarks are those that deal specifically with the protection of a name, word, slogan, design, symbol or image which identifies a business or brand and helps to distinguish it...

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So, you’ve filed your trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and are eagerly waiting to hear back that your trademark is officially registered, but instead you receive a letter back filled with a bunch of legalese that makes it hard to understand. Now you wonder if the whole process has been a big waste of time and money. It’s all too...

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If you’ve invested the time and energy developing a new business idea or product, you’ve also likely spent some time grappling with whether or not you should protect your intellectual property in some way. The vast majority of small business owners and entrepreneurs don’t have a solid grasp of how, why, and when they should be protecting their intellectual property. When to Seek Protection As...

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Trademark Renewal

May 1, 2016

Unlike copyrights, where most registrations last for life of owner plus seventy years, trademarks must actively be renewed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Once you receive your registration certificate, you can rest easy for some time – five years to be exact. After five years, you will be required to file a Section 8 Declaration of Continued Use. You may receive...

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According to Trademark law, marks that are not eligible for registration on the Principle Trademark Register, but are capable of distinguishing an applicant’s goods or services, may be registered on the Supplemental Register (TMEP §§815).  Most small business owners and others filing for Trademark protection have never heard of the Supplemental Register, but it can often be helpful to Trademark applicants.  The Supplemental Register can...

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Under the United States Trademark laws, there are two different types of trademark applications available for trademark registration. The first is referred to as a 1(a) or currently in use in commerce application. The other is a 1(b) or intent to use application. There are advantages and disadvantages to each application, which all small business owners should know before they decide to file for trademark...

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The Trademark Totem Pole

April 1, 2016

According to Trademark law in the United States, there is a continuum, or Trademark Totem Pole, as I refer to it, by which trademarks are classified. The upmost protection is afforded to the marks at the top of the pole, while those marks at the bottom of the totem pole are afforded little or no protection. Fanciful marks are marks that have no meaning or...

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Most companies that start a website do not think about the potential liability issues that come with starting a website. There is lots of potential for both trademark and copyright infringement on websites, especially when there will be user posted content on the website. In order to avoid these issues or at least limit liability, a company launching a website should designate an agent for...

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If you are a small business owner that intends to and has maintained a business in one state, you can likely qualify for a state trademark registration.  Most states allow for registration of a product or business name as a state trademark; which is typically much less than a federal trademark registration.  If your business never plans on leaving the state you are currently located...

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