Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thank you to Isabel Isidro from PowerHomeBiz for interviewing me about trademarks and business names! Check out the Home Business Guide to Understanding Trademarks and Protecting Business Names!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I won't be able to post for a week or so. I'll be back as soon as possible :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Martha Stewart in the News Again

The residents of Katonah are a tad upset with the 3rd richest woman in entertainment.

My only question is – was there the same ire when she originally filed for the geographic term, Katonah, back in 2005?

Check out the old listings by going
here and enter these serial numbers: 78727055 & 78727070

What are the different types of marks?
What factors should be considered in choosing a strong trademark?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Humor & Trademarks: The Two are Not Mutually Exclusive

Case in point, the very funny Stephen Colbert's take on the AT&T and Cingular deal – check out the video here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How to Determine Trademark Infringement?

This post was inspired by all the hullabaloo caused by the iPhone (who owns it? Apple? Cisco?).

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;
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 may be enough that the marks are similar and the goods and/or services related."

If you find yourself trying to determine if a similarly named company is going to be a problem, it's best to contact a private search company or a trademark attorney.

What is Conflict? What is a Strong Similarity?
Trademark FAQ

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cisco & Apple Getting Ready to Duke it Out in Court

There was quite the buzz earlier this week about Apple's latest gadget, the iPhone. Today's buzz is all about the lawsuit Apple received from Cisco for trademark infringement. So, what way do we think this is going to go? My bets are on Cisco getting a princely sum.

Trademark FAQ
Can I get monetary damages when my trade name is used elsewhere?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

USPTO Celebrates a Milestone

The USPTO announced via a press release that their millionth online trademark application was filed. The millionth applicant since 1997 is pretty impressive. And while, yes, I agree that the electronic system is a thing of beauty if you're in the trademark world, I do have a bit of contention with a portion of that press release.

The millionth application was filed by Donald Junck for the name Bait Craft. Now, of course, I'm going to be biased but I'm going to have to disagree with this: "As many small business owners have done, [Junck] filed the application himself, demonstrating how easy and convenient TEAS is to use--regardless of the applicant's location or resources."

I do think TEAS is a marvelous tool; however, delays tend to be the result for someone not familiar with the verbiage or the process or what the USPTO expects to be on the application. While some mistakes can be corrected, others cannot. And those mistakes that can be corrected still end up delaying your registration.

Also, the press release neglected to mention that Mr. Junck had been through the process once before so he was familiar with what the USPTO wanted. Bait Craft was his registered trademark from September 15, 1998 until June 18, 2005. On June 18, 2005 the USPTO canceled his mark because a
Section 8 was not filed. To check out the old listing, go here and enter in the Serial Number 75328408.

Trademark Application FAQs
Why would the USPTO refuse a trademark?

Friday, January 05, 2007

They're Celebrities AND Inventors

Ironic Sans had a great post yesterday about celebrities and their patents. Using Google's new Patent Search feature, the folks at Ironic Sans found 18 patents by your not-so-typical inventor (is there a typical inventor, though?).

Is it a patent or a trademark that you need?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2006: The Year That Was…

* Record-breaking:

The USPTO had a 36% increase of final actions on trademark applications from 2005.

* Controversial:

Some debates looked familiar while others were new to the trademark scene.

* A Little Wacky:

From headbutts to podcast (generic or no?), it's been a wacky year of filings.

Read more about trademarks.
Read about trademark filings.