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Navigating Trademarks! What Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Know will Kill their Business!


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Karen Kimble, Ph.D, JD, discusses the key mistakes entrepreneurs make with regard to trade marks. It is never a good idea to create a product, slap a logo or custom label on your creation, and begin selling to the public. To many small companies have infringed on large company’s trade mark’s and have been taken to court and forced to cease operations, costing the operator precious time and money. Allow Karen Kimble to show you how to do basic trade mark searches and how to safely navigate your product into the marketplace without infringing on other trademarked material.

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Navigating Trademarks! What Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Know will Kill their Business!

  2. 2. Trademarks <ul><li>Common use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No registration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>State Trademark </li></ul><ul><ul><li>State protection only </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Federal Trademark </li></ul><ul><ul><li>US protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bases for international trademark </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Trademark Symbols <ul><li>TM – trademark when you claim rights in a mark for goods </li></ul><ul><li>SM – service mark when you claim rights in a mark for goods </li></ul><ul><li>® - Only when the USPTO actually registers the mark (after grant) </li></ul>
  4. 4. File a Trademark <ul><li>Electronically using TEAS at </li></ul><ul><li>24 hour available </li></ul><ul><li>Checks form for accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Proof you filed </li></ul><ul><li>Must pay fee on-line </li></ul>
  5. 5. Need an Attorney? <ul><li>No. But you must comply with all the requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Read all the Statute and Rules </li></ul><ul><li>Mistakes are costly </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Principal register </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supplemental register </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Responses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appeals </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. What Needs to be Filed? <ul><li>Applicant’s name </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually an LLC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Owner of Mark </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Name & address for correspondence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Email and surface mail </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Depiction of the Mark </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Word mark </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Logo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Colors </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Errors in Filing for these Items <ul><li>Applicant’s named wrong, wrong entity, or not LLC at time of filing </li></ul><ul><li>Word mark with design elements </li></ul><ul><li>Word mark with color not needed </li></ul><ul><li>Logo - change mind later on logo not good as must be exactly as filed; clear drawing; if colored, must specify locations and colors correctly </li></ul>
  8. 8. What Needs to be Filed? <ul><li>Goods or Services Classification </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From Manual </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bases for filing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intent to use [1(b)] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actual Use [1(a)] – specimen for each class </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Errors in Filing for these Items <ul><li>Classifications are inaccurate – did not review list enough </li></ul><ul><li>Need to list more than 1 class for the goods or service for the activity </li></ul><ul><li>Filed actual use [1(a)] but did not ship outside the State (interstate) – proof and paid; mark on goods and container, sold and shipped; date first used </li></ul><ul><li>Intent to use [1(b)] and do not meet that requirement </li></ul>
  10. 10. Errors in Filing for these Items <ul><li>Specimen </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot see word mark on the goods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot see logo on the letterhead or goods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Submit wrong items for proof </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Signature - wrong person signed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>officer of LLC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>owner of the mark </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attorney </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Costs <ul><li>Electronically using TEAS + = $275 per class </li></ul><ul><li>Attorney time </li></ul><ul><li>Prosecution </li></ul><ul><li>SOU if [1(b)] </li></ul><ul><li>Appeals </li></ul><ul><li>Global Mark </li></ul>
  12. 12. Prosecution of Mark <ul><li>Legal and Procedural Review by Examiner for Principal Register </li></ul><ul><li>Looks for conflicting Marks; confusion of Marks </li></ul><ul><li>Mark may not be descriptive, geographic, surname or ornamental, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Office Action then 6 months to reply </li></ul><ul><li>Only 2 Actions then appeal [TTAB] </li></ul>
  13. 13. Opposition <ul><li>Published then can be opposed </li></ul><ul><li>30 days from publication to file the opposition or request extension of time </li></ul><ul><li>TTAB hears these cases </li></ul>
  14. 14. Certificate <ul><li>If actual use [1(a)] and no opposition is filed, then USPTO registers the Mark ~12 weeks from publication </li></ul><ul><li>If intent to use [1(b)] then notice of allowance issues ~12 weeks from publication & 6 months later </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Must submit SOU </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Request 6 month extension for SOU $150/class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximum extension = 3 years total </li></ul></ul>