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Showing posts from July, 2006
Trademark Info: What's the deal with the © ® ™ symbols?

The ™ symbol is to be used for marks that either have a pending trademark application OR for marks that are simply claiming the rights to the mark.

The ® symbol is to be used for marks that have a Federally registered trademark.

Trademarks can be names of products or services, logos, slogans, packaging and even sounds and smells. In essence, a trademark can be almost anything that is used to identify a particular product or service. Registering a trademark grants the owner exclusive rights to the mark within the specified industry. Of course, it's necessary to research the mark comprehensively prior to filing to ensure that there is no possibility of infringing upon another party.

The © symbol is used to denote copyright ownership.

Copyrights can be obtained for things of an artistic nature. This includes, of course, poetry, films, sculptures, music, fiction, etc. But can also include things that may not necessarily seem &qu…
Trademark Info: HELP! I found a company that has my same name.

Determining if marks infringe can be tricky and each situation varies from another.The general rules to keep in mind are:

1) Are the names similar in Sound, Appearance or Meaning?

2) Are the industries the same or similar to one another?

3) Are the names confusingly similar to the average consumer? In other words, could customers be confused and assume that both companies are affiliated?

4) Do the trade areas cross? What about the advertising routes -- are the products/services advertised in common places?

Here's what the USPTO has to say about this matter:

"The principal factors considered by the examining attorney in determining whether there would be a likelihood of confusion are:

the similarity of the marks;
and the commercial relationship between the goods and/or services listed in the application.

To find a conflict, the marks do not have to be identical, and the goods and/or services do not have to be the same. It …
Copyrights and Patents: How to Copyright a Name

Simply put, you can't. To protect a business name within your industry, you would apply for a trademark.

Copyrights can be obtained for things of an artistic nature. This includes, of course, poetry, films, sculptures, music, fiction, etc. But can also include things that may not necessarily seem "artistic" in the general sense of the word. Copyrights can also be obtained for advertising copy, games, software programs and blueprints, to name just a few.
To protect a business name within your industry, you would apply for a trademark.
Trademarks can be names of products or services, logos, slogans, packaging and even sounds and smells. In essence, a trademark can be almost anything that is used to identify a particular product or service. Registering a trademark grants the owner exclusive rights to the mark within the specified industry.

Of course, it's necessary to research the markcomprehensively prior to filing to ensure…
Trademark Info: Business Name – How to Name a Business

The naming of your business could be one of the most important decisions you will make. A name's originality and legal availability will create a real asset value of its own, as it becomes marketed and gains market acceptance. The name you choose will become the focal point of all the benefits and features that relate to your business. Customers will be able to find and refer others to it in the future.

I suggest either hiring a name creation firm or get together with your friends and/or family and throw a "name party" & have everyone bounce some ideas around. Compile a listing of names that you like the best. Once you have that list, do as much free research as you can before you delve into comprehensive research.

I listed some links where you can do some preliminary name checking. However, please be aware that this is merely scratching the surface of what's out there.

Only comprehensive research will tell you …
Trademark Info: Trademarks – What is a Conflict? What is a Strong Similarity?

Comprehensive trademark research consists of several layers:

Researching comprehensive databases, such as Lexis-Nexis or Dialog
Looking for similarities, such as synonyms, word placement & spelling variations
Consultation with a trademark attorney if Conflicts or Strong Similarities arise
The hardest matter to determine is what's going to be a potential problem for you and what isn't. Once that is ascertained, further research into the company or companies is needed.

First, let's discuss the difference between conflicts and strong similarities.

What is a Conflict?

Determining a conflict is very simple - it's any mark that is EXACTLY like yours. If the name AND the goods/services are EXACTLY the same, then it's a Conflict.

What is a Strong Similarity?

These are harder to determine and require analysis. A Strong Similarity is a name that is similar enough in Sound, Appearance or Meaning to be con…
Domain Names: The ONE Mistake Commonly Made when Registering a Domain

You found the perfect domain name for your business and it's available. You're free to register it, right?

WRONG!

While the name may be available on domain registries, it could easily be owned by another party on the trademark or common-law levels. Prior to registering your domain name, it is strongly advised that comprehensive research be conducted.

It is every business owner's responsibility to ensure that the name they're using is truly available. Don't assume that the name is available simply because you're able to file for the domain.

Comprehensive research includes searching the:

pending and registered Federal trademark files;
registered State trademark files;
national Common-Law files, which includes DBAs, incorporations, product announcements, newspapers, company directories, etc.
Comprehensive research should also include a search of names that are similar in Sound, Appearance or Meaning! Thi…