United States Patent and Trademark Office Trademarks

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that serves a fundamental role in the U.S. intellectual property system by issuing patents and registering trademarks.... more +
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that serves a fundamental role in the U.S. intellectual property system by issuing patents and registering trademarks.    less -
News & Analysis as of

Making Your Mark: How to Obtain and Protect a Trademark

A key component of the strategy of almost any business is branding: building a name or logo that consumers associate with your business. The law recognizes that words or symbols that demonstrate a business's commercial...more

Bringing Down the Bauhaus for Trademarks?

We’ve been spilling a lot of digital ink lately on the topic of non-traditional trademark protection and how the functionality doctrine serves as an absolute bar for such protection. As you know, for some time, we’ve...more

A Disclaimer for Disclaimers at the USPTO

You know that feeling when you’ve nearly crossed the finish line? You have done the work, put in the time, and the only step left is to run through the tape. There can be similar moments with trademark applications,...more

USPTO Refuses to Register Marks Associated with Eric Garner

Last month, I wrote about trademark profiteering, concluding that attempts to monetize rallying cries by registering them as trademarks almost always fail. The USPTO proved me correct this month, when it denied two separate...more

Three Point Shot - February 2015

Will Johnny Be Good, or Will Name Games Go up in Flames? Johnny Gaudreau, left wing for the Calgary Flames, is attempting to high-stick potential interlopers by locking up rights to his now-popularized nickname – Johnny...more

Advertising Alone Does Not Demonstrate Use of a Service Mark in Commerce for Purposes of Obtaining a Federal Registration

Here’s a common scenario: Your business has come up with an idea for a new service offering, and you or your marketing department has created the perfect brand for it. Now what? Because you have a great relationship...more

Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 — and Functional Too?

Welcome to another edition of newly filed configuration trademark applications at the USPTO, here is the latest; it is quite a specimen: The question for the day though is whether the claimed mark actually functions...more

Trends in Trademarks

With more than 3,000 breweries in the United States and nearly 2,000 more in some phase of planning, the likelihood of trademark infringement increases with each passing IPA related pun. Some disputes are settled in a very...more

Top 5 Mistakes Brand Owners Make When Filing Their Own Trademark Applications

Entrepreneurs often choose not to spend money on legal fees as they are launching their businesses. Understandably, budgets are tight in a company’s early days, and when faced with the choice of spending money on a trademark...more

Single-Letter Trademark Battles: Who Gets the W for “W”?

How much trouble can a double-U make? If you’ve been following this blog over the years, you know the answer: quite a lot. This blog has written extensively on the trials and tribulations that may accompany...more

Unsolicited Offers for Trademark-Related Services in the United States

WARNING! If you have filed a trademark application in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it is likely that you will be the target of private companies who will try to confuse you into paying unnecessary fees....more

Deck Stacked Against HOUSE OF CARDS

No spoilers here, I promise.  Like many Americans since it was released on Friday, I’ve been binge-watching Season 3 of House of Cards.  If you haven’t watched the program, available only on Netflix, it’s a riveting drama of...more

IP in the NFL: “I’m Just Here So I Won’t Get Fined,” or Are You?

Just last week, on February 18, 2015, Seattle Seahawks superstar running back Marshawn Lynch (“Lynch”), also known as Beast Mode, filed for a federal trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for...more

Trademark Profiteering: Can Let’s Roll, Boston Strong, I Can’t Breathe And Je Suis Charlie Be Registered As Trademarks?

Let’s Roll. Boston Strong. I Can’t Breathe. Je Suis Charlie. Besides being rallying cries for social movements in the wake of horrible tragedies, what do these phrases have in common?...more

Intellectual Property 2014 Year in Review

The year 2014 saw some important developments in the area of intellectual property law. A number of intellectual property-related issues even made national headlines. Who can forget the public debate over the rightful...more

Craft Brewery Intellectual Property Primer

A. Introduction - A name. It all starts with a name. A series of words, individually with little meaning, but collectively, the embodiment of creativity, passion, and inspiration. Whether the name of the craft brewery...more

Are You Ready to "Party Like It's 1989"? Be Sure to Get Taylor Swift's Permission First

Famous country-music-turned-pop-star Taylor Swift made headlines recently when she filed a slew of trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for various lyrics from her latest album, entitled...more

The Controversial SAWS of “Justice”

What if the Trademark Office took Taylor Swift’s controversial new trademark applications and stalled examination of them, preventing them from getting approved, despite having no legitimate basis to refuse their...more

Use It or Lose It: When Can a Trademark Registered Under Section 44(e) or 66(a) Be Deemed “Abandoned” in the US?

Unlike most countries, US trademark law generally requires that a mark be in use before it can be protected. The US recognizes common law rights in unregistered marks if they have been adopted in good faith and are in actual...more

Lights Shining On Configuration Trademarks?

As our loyal readers know, we love bringing non-traditional trademarks within your sights for consideration, even if they’re hanging from the ceiling, so here’s another to explore...more

Would You Feel Friendly Toward Freddy?

As the brand manager or trademark counsel for Friendly’s, would you be friendly toward Freddy’s? I remember the Friendly’s restaurant chain when we lived in Columbia, Maryland, back in the days when I clerked for a...more

Trademark Review | January 2015

Diageo Enforces Trade Dress Rights in its CROWN ROYAL Drawstring Bag - Diageo owns a registration for the mark CROWN ROYAL for whiskey. Diageo has sold its CROWN ROYAL whiskey in a purple drawstring bag for many...more

USPTO Announces New Lower Fee Schedule for Trademark Applications

On January 17, 2015, the United States Trademark Office implemented a reduced fee schedule for newly filed applications. The Trademark Office has introduced an additional category of applications called the TEAS Reduced Fee,...more

Business Law Newsletter - January 2015

In This Issue: - FirstPay Decision: IRS Bests Trustee in Local Tax Case - Privacy Policies for Mobile Apps: One Size Does Not Fit All - Trademark Fees are Decreasing - Excerpt from Trademark Fees are...more

Overclaiming in Trademark Applications: “Full Line of …”

In Ferring B.V. v. Fera Pharmaceuticals, LLC, the Eastern District of New York was called upon to determine the importance of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (“TMEP”)...more

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