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 →
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 →
“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.
So, you’re thinking about registering a trademark. You have worked hard to choose a mark that distinguishes your product or service from the competition. Now, you’re wondering if it’s possible to protect it. “Cheap” online legal services like Rocket Lawyer, Legal Zoom, and Trademarkia sure are tempting.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
This season, you’ve likely been the recipient of a holiday card or two. No doubt influenced by our growing Pinterest culture, greeting cards and invitations are becoming increasingly creative and ornate. Hand-lettering, unique typefaces and fonts, and calligraphy: each are works of art in their own way. How does IP protection for lettering, calligraphy and typeface work? And, are there concerns with using typefaces you haven’t created yourself?