Trademark Asset Protection


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Trademark Asset Protection

  1. 1. Trademark Registration for Asset Protection<br />Katherine Sunstrom<br />Attorney at Law<br /><br />1<br />
  2. 2. What is a trademark?<br />A distinctive word, phrase, sign or indicator used by a legal entity to set its products or services apart from others in the mind of the consumer.<br />Examples that can be entitled to trademark protection: words, symbols, logos, pictures, smells, sounds, and (arguably) taste and textures.<br />2<br />
  3. 3. What is the purpose of a trademark?<br />As stated above, to set yourself and your goods or services apart from others.<br />As Tracey has said before, you want to occupy a larger space in the brains of your audience so that they recall you and your goodwill faster and more accurately.<br />Should be a part of your branding strategy.<br />Effective branding almost always results in trademark rights- huzzah!<br />3<br />
  4. 4. 4<br />
  5. 5. How do you get common law trademark protection? What do you get?<br />First user.<br />Consistent use in commerce in conjunction with goods and services.<br />Interstate versus Intrastate. <br />Distinctiveness (more on this later).<br />Right to exclude others from confusingly similar use.<br />Geographic rights.<br />Target market, channels of trade rights.<br />5<br />
  6. 6. Federal Registration, why do I want one?<br />Prevent others from encroaching on your goodwill.<br />Nation-wide Priority User<br /> Prevent others from using and registering similar marks<br /> After 5 years of consistent use; becomes incontestable<br /> Statutory remedies<br />Notification- <br />Constructive notice of your exclusive rights<br /> ® next to your trademark=legitimacy<br />Deterrent to infringers: “Beware of Dog”<br />6<br />
  7. 7. Federal Registration, why do I want one?<br />Becomes a valuable asset for your company<br />Makes the intangible asset of your company’s goodwill more concrete.<br />Can increase your ability to quantify that asset. Can use comparables.<br />Allows you to transfer that goodwill via sale or license for $$.<br />Domain name protection and internet advertising.  you have almost nothing without a registration.<br />7<br />
  8. 8. Registration Process<br />Availability Search and Opinion Letter<br />Prevent infringement upon other’s marks<br />Future defense against “willfulness.”<br />Deterrent against litigation.<br />Application to the USPTO<br />Examination<br />Exchange with Examiners<br />Registration issues<br />Management of your asset.<br />Contracts and licenses<br />Policing your mark<br />Trademark notices<br />Periodic filings to keep registration <br />8<br />
  9. 9. Locking up and strengthening Goodwill<br />9<br />
  10. 10. Distinctiveness- a sliding scale<br />Fanciful (Kodak)<br />Arbitrary (FrogDog)<br />Suggestive (Always Get Texas)<br />Descriptive (Park N Fly)<br />Generic (Bar)<br />10<br />
  11. 11. Arbitrary<br />11<br />
  12. 12. Arbitrary<br />12<br />
  13. 13. Suggestive<br />13<br />
  14. 14. Unusual Trademark Registrations<br />Sound: <br />NBC Chimes<br />Spoken letters “AT&T”<br />THX “Deep note”<br />Harley Davidson engine roar- DENIED<br />Scent: <br />Plumeria scent for embroidery thread<br />Chanel No. 5- DENIED<br />Tactile: the word UNDERBERG in braille.<br />Taste: No known registration but case law suggests it is possible if strongly distinctive. Orange flavor for cough syrup: rejected.<br />14<br />
  15. 15. Questions?<br />Katherine L. Sunstrom<br />Attorney at Law<br />1501-A W. 18th Street #18<br />Houston, Texas 77008<br />713.502.3049<br /><br />The text of this work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license, to view a copy of this license visit<br />15<br />
  16. 16. Credits<br />Obama photo by StijenVogels on flickr and licensed under the Creative Commons license found at:<br />Head lock photo by vegas_nitro on flickr and licensed under the Creative Commons license found at:<br />Laptop sticker photo by trozbo on flickr and licensed under the Creative Commons license found at:<br />All other images used by permission.<br />16<br />