De-mystifying Trademarks

Introduction: I receive a lot of questions pertaining to trademarks.  There are several facets to the topic.  First is the scope of protection.  Second is what is a permissible trademark and third is what is the process of applying for federal registration of a trademark. Discussion: The scope of protection is vague.  A trademark identifies…

Read More →

Trademark-Design Patent Overlap

INTRODUCTION:  This article explores the trademark-design patent overlap.  The maker of a new product or service wants to distinguish its goods/services from the competition.  A distinctive style of a product, identifying the maker or source of the product, can be valuable intellectual property.  Note I have previously written on the distinctions between trademarks and patents. …

Read More →

Patent or Trademark?

  Introduction: I continue to receive questions prefaced with a statement “I have an idea and I don’t know if I should patent it or trademark it?”  Patent or Trademark.  The question is often stated in various ways but I think you get the idea.  There are fundamental differences between requirements and rights of patenting…

Read More →

WHAT IS A TRADEMARK?

Introduction What is a trademark?  Basically, a trademark is exactly what it says it is; a “mark” used in “trade” to distinguish the goods of the trademark owner from the goods of others. For services, the term is (not surprisingly) “service mark”. A mark may be a symbol, design or word. Frequently a mark is…

Read More →

TRADEMARK OPPOSITION

Introduction Trademark opposition is one step in the process in registering a trademark on the Principal Trademark register of the USPTO.  This step requires passing through the phase termed “publication for opposition”. Discussion Recall the first step in the registration process is filing of the trademark application. The application is either based upon actual use…

Read More →

PERSONAL NAME TRADEMARKS

Introduction People are proud of their workmanship and service. Accordingly, it is natural that people want to name their products and services with their name, e.g., Ford automobiles, Hewlett Packard printers, etc.  I suggest this is not, however, a good strategy for establishing a brand.  As I continuously urge, the best trademarks are arbitrary words and symbols.  Coined words…

Read More →

GEOGRAPHIC NAME TRADEMARKS

Introduction If you have read my article “Introduction to Trademarks” you will know that I encourage use of arbitrary or coined words as trademarks.  They provide the strongest protection.  I am always leery of geographical place names in trademarks. At best they provide weak protection. Also it may not be possible to register the marks on the USPTO Principal…

Read More →

INTRODUCTION TO TRADEMARKS

Introduction Trademarks and service marks are an essential part of creating a brand.  (Service marks will be included with the comments pertaining to trademarks.)  The following is an introduction to trademarks. I have written other articles pertaining to trademark sub-topics. Discussion Trademarks are literally a mark or symbol, word, combination of words, sounds or name that is used…

Read More →

Patents, Trademarks & Copyrights

  Introduction The following is a brief summary of each tool for protecting intellectual property (IP). The tools discussed are Patents, Trademarks & Copyrights. Patents Patents protect an idea (invention) that is embodied in a device or method.  This is different from Copyright and Trademarks. The vast majority of patents are “utility patents”. There are also plant…

Read More →