Friday, July 27, 2007

Trademark Question From a Reader
"If I have an agreement as an exclusive distributor of a product, and the product name was in use prior to my agreement, but not trademarked, can I apply for and receive a trademark for the product name."


Thanks for your question Jerry!

Yes, a trademark does grant a
legal presumption of the registrant's ownership of the mark and the registrant's exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration.

However, it sounds as if
Common-Law rights are going to be at play here. So, even if the manufacturer does not have a trademark, they are still going to have Common-Law rights to the name.

Here's what the USPTO has to say:
"Where the mark is used by a related company, the owner is the party who controls the nature and quality of the goods sold or services rendered under the mark. The owner is the only proper party to apply for registration."

Hope that helps Jerry!

Any other questions out there? Please email me at shannon at tmexpress dot com.

Read more about trademarks here

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Trademark Video

I ran across this video on YouTube & thought I'd share it with my readers. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One More Democratic Candidate Trademark Filing

Picking up where we left off from , let's take a look at trademark filings that are using the names of the other Democratic candidates.

One problem...

The only other one I could find is for John Edwards & this mark IS connected with Senator Edwards:

John Edwards President, Serial Number 78291084.

On February 8th of this year, the USPTO sent an Office Action to the Attorney of Record. And, I've got to say, this is the first time I've ever seen something like this:

"The application had been misplaced; on behalf of the Office, the examining attorney apologizes for any inconvenience this delay may have caused."

On September 17th, CNN & YouTube will be hosting the Republican debates. I'll visit this topic again for those folks.

Read more about the trademark application process here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Looking at the Democratic Candidates Through a Trademark Lens

I, like many others, watched The CNN YouTube Debates last night & I thought it'd be interesting to see what kind of registered/pending trademarks are out there using the names of the Democratic candidates.

Let's start with the two candidates that we seem to hear about the most.

Barack Obama:

These are, from what I can tell, NOT affiliated with Obama or his campaign.

I Back Barack, Serial Number 77035991 & applied for by James R McDonald.

Mr McDonald was sent a refusal citing "Registration is refused because the proposed mark consists of or comprises matter which may falsely suggest a connection with U.S. Senator Barack Obama. Although not connected with the services applicant intends to provide under the proposed mark, the name BARACK is so famous that consumers would presume a connection with Senator Obama."

No Drama with Obama, Serial Number 77153329 & applied for by Sylvia Quarles

On May 10th of this year, Quarles received "The examining attorney refuses registration because the mark consists of or comprises matter which may falsely suggest a connection with the individual Barack Obama."

Seeing a trend here?

Hillary Clinton

These mark is, from what I can tell, NOT affiliated with Clinton or her campaign.

Statue of Hillary, Serial Number 76163132 & applied for by DareCloud Development Inc. This mark was filed for the sale of "figurine statues of the Statue of Liberty with the likeness of Hillary Clinton."

This application is abandoned & while the materials are not available online since the mark is so old, I have a pretty good guess as to why this mark never made it to registration.

Interestingly enough, I also came across a trademark filing that Clinton filed for the Heifer Project International for Good Neighbor to the World when she was a partner at the Rose Law Firm.

Read more about the other types of refusals the USPTO can hand down.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The USPTO Got Served

Four lawyers and/or inventors are suing the US Government "over their appointment of an unqualified 2nd in command to the critically important Patent and Trademark Office."

Do you need a patent or a trademark?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Resources for Inventors

I was watching American Inventor last night and I realized I hadn't yet done a post for inventors. Has anyone seen this show? I'm consistently bowled over by these folks that have spent THOUSANDS of dollars on their inventions & then walk in with prototypes made of wood, PVC pipe, coat hooks, etc. & it got me wondering where did all that money go??

By the time the episode got to the middle-aged gentleman that had the cake cutter, I think I got my answer. One of the judges asked where he had spent the $30 some thousand dollars (of his retirement!) and he replied that he paid a company to conduct a patent search, file it & help him create it. ding ding ding - bells went off for me at that point.

I'm the first to admit that my knowledge of the entire scope of the patent process is minimal. I understand the concepts & some terms, basically bits and pieces. That being said, I cannot endorse or denounce any particular invention company but I thought it'd be a good idea to post some resources for all those inventors out there. has a great resource about how to avoid invention company scams.

They also have a
very helpful checklist to use when speaking to an invention company.

Michael S. Neustel founded the National Inventor Fraud Center, Inc..

Check with the Federal Trade Commission to see if a company has been investigated or fined; enter the word INVENTION in the search box.

And, then the big patent daddy,
the USPTO should definitely be visited.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Trademark News

Well, it's been quite awhile for an update - my apologies to my readers. Business has been good, obviously, so unfortunately my blog has been in the back of the back burner. I know I've got some questions to answer for folks & I promise to do so ASAP.

Here's what's going on in the world of trademark news:

Doc Wins Preliminary Injunction for Cookie Diet

Fifa Applies for 2010 Trademark Control

Dykes on Bikes is Inoffensive, says the USPTO

Small Business Owner Wins $15 Million from Land O'Lakes

Want to know more about trademarks?