trademark toolkit from spear ip

Trademark Toolkit: An Educational Resource

It’s no secret that trademark is one of my favorite topics. Trademarks are everywhere we look — from your Apple TV home screen to your Pinterest feed. In this trademark toolkit, we’ll talk about what exactly is a trademark, the nitty gritty on trademark searches, and things like domain names and trademark registration. Of course, this is educational. If you have a specific legal question, please … Continue reading →

avoiding trademark scams spear ip

Trademark Scams and How to Avoid Them

Becoming the owner of a registered trademark has its perks. Plus, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office mails you a fancy certificate with a gold seal. In recent years, though, along with that certificate, the USPTO started sending out warnings. Warnings of trademark scams.

Usually sent on an orange piece of paper along with the registration certificate, the notice warns of “misleading offers and notices from private companies.” The … Continue reading →

how to choose a strong trademark spear ip

How to Choose a Strong Trademark

What is a strong trademark? The main thing to know about a strong trademark is that it enjoys a lot of trademark protection. (Compared to a weak trademark, which isn’t as protectable.) Put differently, a strong trademark is not “cooler” than a weak trademark, it’s just easier to police and protect. This is because of some little legal terms: “distinctiveness” and “secondary meaning.” So how do you choose a strong trademark? It helps to understand the characteristics of strong and … Continue reading →

protect a t-shirt idea lifestyle brands spear ip

You Can’t Protect a T-shirt Idea (But You Can Start a Lifestyle Brand)

“I have a REALLY great t-shirt idea.” “I’ve got an idea for a funny t-shirt slogan.” Many an IP attorney has heard this phrase at least once. Just like protecting an idea can be difficult, it’s challenging to protect a t-shirt idea. But a lifestyle brand? Now you’re talking. But be proactive: know how to safeguard the protectable elements of a t-shirt or lifestyle brand.

Put A ® On It: Color Trademarks (and Cheerios)

Color trademarks are unique beasts. Either color is an essential part of your packaging, logo, or overall branding (looking at you, Lyft), or color is kind of a non-issue. (Think about the rainbow of Nike swooshes you’ve seen in your lifetime.) It’s possible to register or “trademark” a color, but, as General Mills just learned, it’s not easy. Below, a little more on color trademarks and the registration process.

Using A Personal Name As A Trademark

Using A Personal Name As A Trademark

Not everyone uses an arbitrary or fanciful brand name. Often times individuals or companies will just go with someone’s name (present company included). Read on for a list of considerations when using a personal name as a trademark.

You're Not Cheating the Trademark System

You’re Not Cheating the Trademark System

Rats. You spent so much time selecting your name, and you can’t use it. For one reason or another, you and your attorney have determined that you have to change your brand name: you received a cease-and-desist letter in the mail that contained some pretty valid claims; your application to federally register your trademark was rejected; or a trademark search revealed a third party that started using a similar name before you did. “But I love this name!” you proclaim. “I brainstormed, worked … Continue reading →

Using a Descriptive Trademark

Put A ® On It? Using a Descriptive Trademark

Using a descriptive trademark can have its benefits — consumers likely don’t have to guess at the goods or services you offer if you come right out and describe them in your brand name. But are you familiar with the downside to using a descriptive trademark?

IP Planning For A New Business

IP Planning For A New Business

You’re starting a new biz. Congratulations! No doubt you’ve spent time figuring out your logo, the design of your website, etc. Have you thought about your intellectual property and doing some IP planning? It seems a little chicken-before-the-egg (do you register first or launch first?). And, yes, it’s a little less “sexy” than web design. But, IP planning for a new business could be one of those things where your future self will thank you if you actually sit down and do it.