A Board Certified Patent Attorney
Archive for the ‘Trademarks’ Category
"Suzy" asks: If I look on uspto.gov and see that there is a company already trademarked under a name similiar to my company’s name will my trademarked registration be denied? My response: Not necessarily. Just because someone else has trademarked a name similar to yours does not always hurt your chances for getting a trademark. A perfect example is the trademarked name "Delta". There are two companies using this name. First, Delta Airlines. Second, Delta Faucets. How can these two companies claim the trademark for Delta? The answer lies in trademark categories. As of this writing there are 45 trademark categories (divided by products and services). A few examples of categories are machinery products, musical instruments, medical device products, rubber products, r
Not a day goes by that I don’t get a call from a distressed business owner who – after using one of those ‘trademark filing’ services online – contacts me because their trademark got rejected. And it always brings to mind the origin story of the lucky horseshoe. Legend has it a blacksmith (who later became St. Dunstan) was approached by a man who asked that horseshoes be attached to his own cloven feet. Dunstan recognized the customer as Satan and explained that he must shackle him to the wall to perform the service. While hammering, Dunstan deliberately made the job so excruciatingly painful that the bound devil begged for mercy. He refused release until the Devil promised to never enter a house where a horseshoe was displayed from the door. Hence the reason today’s door “knockers
If you are in business, and are successful and profitable, your business name should be registered. Why? It prevents others from using it to do the same type of business, represent their businesses as yours, steal your customers and ruin your business reputation. Without it, you have a big liability, almost as if you are leaving the door to the shop open when you leave at the end of the day. Registration also offers you other rights. The United States Patent and Trademark Office website lists seven specific ways trademarks protect your business. 1. Public Notice of Your Claim of Ownership of the Mark When you apply for a ownership of your business name and are approved, it is published in the Official Gazette. This weekly online publication gives the public 30 days to examine and oppose your registration. If there is no opposition, the pa
If you would like have a unique competitive advantage from everyone else in your industry, and enjoy “impossible to forget” status, then I’ve got a quick story to share with you. Over a decade ago, when my partner Glenn and I decided to devote our lives to patent and trademark law, I suggested to Glenn what may have seemed to many be a rather obvious idea. Why not call ourselves The Idea Attorneys®. Glenn thought it was a fantastic idea, but he had doubts. He said, “John, there are hundreds of attorney’s practicing patent and trademark law. I’m sure someone has thought about using the name idea attorneys.” At this time we were both buried with work, but I set aside a few hours each night to scour the trademark records to see if the name was taken. Amazingly, it was free.
The owner of a Federally registered trademark is presumed to be the exclusive owner of the mark for the goods and services. So, if a word or phrase is already trademarked, does that mean you can’t use it? Most people think yes. But there is a little loophole in trademark law that allows you to use a trademarked term even if it’s protected and widely used. Let’s take a closer look with a few examples… Trademark Example #1: Delta I’m sure you’ve heard of the airline giant Delta Airlines. But you probably aren’t aware of Kitchen faucet manufacture Delta Faucet. Delta faucet holds a number of trademarks for its products including its In2ition two in one shower, the Linden waterfall pull-out kitchen faucet, and the Dryden bath faucet. But it also owns a registered mark on the Delta name, just like D
There are some interesting trademark disputes making headlines in the past couple of weeks. Here is a quick recap of the odd, funny and (sometimes) insane world of trademarks. Facebook Trademark against Your Face Facebook continues its quest for world domination by trying to trademark the word "Face". However, the Patent and Trademark Office reports that the trademark will only apply to “telecommunication services, namely, providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users.” The Trademarked "Face" of Facebook? Here’s the full New York Times Story – Facebook Trademark "Face" Universities Enforce Trademark against High School Alligators are everywhere here in South Florida, but only one Fl
The threat of trademark infringement doesn’t necessarily have to shut down your business or bury you under legal bills. If you do not have much invested in the name, you may decide to just change your business name and pray you don’t get sued for past infringement damages. But if you get hit with a trademark infringement claim, do you have to give in? A recent article in Forbes online magazine details one woman’s ordeal with trademark infringement. It all started with a cease and desist letter explaining the various ways her business infringed on U.S. trademark rights. Click on the link to read more about: Do you fight back or pick a new name…Trademark Infringement.