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Showing posts from September, 2006
Copyright Registration: Performing Arts Works First, let's pinpoint what falls into the performing arts category. Here's the list of examples from the US Copyright Office: "Performing arts works are intended to be 'performed' directly before an audience or indirectly 'by means of any device or process.' Included are (1) musical works, including any accompanying words; (2) dramatic works, such as scripts, including any accompanying music;(3) pantomimes and choreographic works; and (4) motion pictures and other audiovisual works." Here are some books about copyrights: The Copyright HandbookHow to Register Your Own CopyrightNow to file an application: The application is fairly simple & the cost is $45 per application. Despite what others state, a "poor man's" copyright is NOT the same as registering it. Here's what the US Copyright Office has to say: "The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes calle…
The Web of Trademark Law is About to get Bigger The Federal Trademark Dilution Act of 1996 is about to expand in scope. The bill is simply awaiting the President's signature in order to become law. The new Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 basically expands the scope of dilution to include blurring or tarnishment. Here's what the government says about both: * "Defines 'dilution by blurring' as an association arising from the similarity between a mark or trade name and a famous mark that impairs the distinctiveness of the famous mark. Allows the court to consider all relevant factors when determining whether a mark or trade name is likely to cause dilution by blurring, including: (1) the degree of similarity; (2) the degree of inherent or acquired distinctiveness of the famous mark; (3) the extent to which the owner of the famous mark is engaging in substantially exclusive use of the mark; (4) the degree of recognition of the famous mark; (5) whether the user …
The Pitfalls of Relying on Free Name Research

You found the perfect name for your business and are ready to make your place in the business world. You know you should check to make sure that no one else has rights to your name but where to start?
Doing a search of the web brings up many, many services offering to search your name for free or for a minimal cost. Before you jump on board, make yourself aware of the following pitfalls: Free research will never give you an accurate glimpse of what's out there in terms of names of products or services. If it's free, by all means, take advantage of it; however, please make yourself aware of any "hidden" costs and, most importantly, that you will be missing large chunks of information that are necessary to any comprehensive name search.
Comprehensive searches always cost more than preliminary searches because of the depth and breadth of the thousands of databases that must be searched, at a cost of $1 to $5 per minute wholesa…
Podcast - 204,000,000 & counting

In a somewhat surprising move, it was announced this week that Apple wants to claim rights to the word podcast. A cease & desist letter has already been sent to Texas based Podcast Ready.

Those digits in my headline are how many hits I got for the word podcast when I did a search on Google this morning. It seems to me that trying to prove a point of origin and/or a right of ownership is going to be as close to impossible as impossible can get.

So what do we think? Is this a case of a behemoth company run amok? Or is this simply what Apple has to do - police & protect their trademark?

The online community definitely has an opinion.
A company in Santa Cruz may be Riding a Cruncher

There's been a follow up to the topic I wrote about earlier last month: Going Surfing! Huntington Beach IS Surf City USA ®.

Noland's on the Wharf received a cease & desist letter from the Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau.

Check out an article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The only article I could find in relation to a Huntington Beach paper was almost a carbon copy of the Santa Cruz one; check it out here.

Oh Trademark! My Trademark...your fearful trip is done!

A radio station operating from Lincoln, NE and owned by Clear Channel Communications ® has stopped using the pronoun MY because someone already owns that mark; read about it here.

photo: ©

Doing a quick little search at the USPTO popped up a registered trademark for MY for radio broadcasting services:

Registration Number: 1535807

Mark (words only): MY

Registration Date: 1989-04-18

International Class: 041
Class Status: Active
Basis: 1(a)
First Use Date: 1986-04-30
First Use in Commerce Date: 1986-04-30

To check it out, go to the USPTO's Status page and enter the registration number.

The listed owner is George R. Francis, founder and CEO of AmCom General Corporation, the prior owner of the MY trademark. AmCom went through a series of purchases & sales, even once being technically owned by Clear Channel, the very company that owns the radio station in Lincoln, NE that has had to stop …
Do You Need a Registered Trademark?Yup, pilfering from Marit's articles again – time seems to be an elusive friend as of late.It's less of a need than a want. Registering a trademark is NOT mandatory. However, are you a business owner, or do you work with a business that does not currently have a trademark registered or pending with the USPTO? If this last statement in any way describes you, then YES, you may benefit from having a trademark. It is true that many businesses do not register a trademark with the USPTO, but this puts the business at a great disadvantage when compared to another company that does have a trademark. Having a trademark notifies an individual that you have the corner on your market. It allows you to take court action if another business does attempt to infringe upon your name. You are essentially protecting your market upon registering a trademark by publicly individualizing your name. This protection allows a greater piece of mind for the average busi…
What is a Trademark Search?Here's another great article written by Marit. The original can be read here.A trademark search can, in actuality, be many different things. In theory, a trademark search is performed to determine whether or not the mark you are hoping to use is already taken by another. This allows an individual to apply with a greater level of confidence for the use of a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (herein referred to as the USPTO). A trademark search is, ideally, a comprehensive, analytical way of researching a name, slogan or logo for prior use.A trademark search can also be performed in a sloppy and ineffective manner, and may not protect you from potentially infringing upon another’s name or logo. This is why it’s important to ensure that the trademark research you have commissioned is done comprehensively and thoroughly!It is not unusual for a trademark research company to charge hundreds of dollars for searching the USPTO, which y…
What is a Trademark?

Other matters are taking my time away from posting today, so here's a reprint of an article written by one of our researchers, Marit. The original article can be viewed here.

At one point or another, we’ve all seen a product or business name with a small, encircled R floating next to it. You’ve probably wondered what this R symbol really means, and how exactly it got there in the first place. Most people will tell you that it means something to the effect of “registered,” but that’s only a small part of the significance behind the circled R. It’s correct that this symbol does imply the term registered, but registered with whom, and how?A "registered trademark", or ®, refers to a name, slogan or logo that has been officially registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Registering a trademark is beneficial to a business because it publicly states that your trademark is registered with the USPTO and therefore, you have exclusive …
Trademark News: New Procedure at the USPTOA few days ago, the USPTO announced a change in their procedure to submit "amendments/corrections to trademark applications after publication".This got me thinking that this would be a good opportunity to remind readers to stay on top of your trademark filing. It's up to the applicant to be aware of their trademark's status; the USPTO is not going to remind applicants of anything. Also, if the USPTO sends you an email that you never got, it's up to you let them know.
That being said, here's how you check your status:
Go to the Status PageEnter your 8-digit serial number (it will start with a 7) in the field and click Request StatusYour filing will pop right up. Two areas to pay attention to:Current StatusProsecution HistoryHere are the definitions to some of the more common status descriptions:
Abandoned"An application that has been declared abandoned is "dead" and no longer pending. Abando…
Copyrights and Patents: Visual Arts Copyright RegistrationFirst, let's pinpoint what falls into the visual arts category. Here's the list of examples from the US Copyright Office:"Examples of visual arts works:Advertisements, commercial prints, labelsArtificial flowers and plantsArtwork applied to clothing or to other useful articlesBumper stickers, decals, stickersCartographic works, such as maps, globes, relief modelsCartoons, comic stripsCollagesDolls, toysDrawings, paintings, muralsEnamel worksFabric, floor, and wallcovering designsGames, puzzlesGreeting cards, postcards, stationeryHolograms, computer and laser artworkJewelry designsModelsMosaicsNeedlework and craft kitsOriginal prints, such as engravings, etchings, serigraphs, silk screen prints, woodblock printsPatterns for sewing, knitting, crochet, needleworkPhotographs, photomontagesPostersRecord jacket artwork or photographyRelief and intaglio printsReproductions, such as lithographs, colloty…
Trademark News: One Example of how Losing a Trademark Translates into Cash MoneyTerry Wilson is about to make some dough for changing her name and foregoing her potential trademark for "TightPod"™. Read about it here.A quick search of the USPTO shows about 500 live marks that contain the word POD. Some belong to Apple, some are registered but many are still pending. What does this mean for all those pending marks? Do they have big money coming down the pike? Or will they be going down Opposition road at the USPTO?