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Trademark Registration: The Attorney\'s Role

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Nuts and bolts of the attorney\'s role in the trademark clearance registration and prosecution process.

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Trademark Registration: The Attorney\'s Role

  1. 1. U.S. Trademark Registration: The Attorney’s Role Clark A. D. Wilson cwilson@gardnergroff.com 2018 Powers Ferry Road Suite 800 Atlanta, GA 30339 770-984-2300www.gardnergroff.com www.gardnergroff.com
  2. 2. U.S. Trademark Registration Introduction • Trademark/Service mark: Word/phrase/symbol/design or combination, which identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others. – Federal Law: Trademark Act of 1946 (Lanham Act) – 15 U.S.C. 1051 – State Law: Georgia O.C.G.A. 10-1-440 – Common Lawwww.gardnergroff.com
  3. 3. U.S. Trademark Registration Introduction, cont’d… • Strength of Trademarks – Strongest: Fanciful (i.e., not even a word) • Example: Xerox, Kodak, Google – Next Strongest: Arbitrary (i.e., a word used in non-natural form) • Example: Apple, Go Daddy, Delta – Middle: Suggestive (i.e., multi-step metal connection from mark to good/service) • Example: Coppertone, Tropicana – Weak: Descriptive (i.e., immediate mental connection from mark to good/service) • Requires proof of “Secondary Meaning” for protection/registration • Example: IBM, Steak & Ale, Slurpee, Microsoft – Unprotected: Generic (i.e., the actual descriptive term for the good/service) • Example: Aspirin, Escalator, Applewww.gardnergroff.com
  4. 4. U.S. Trademark Registration Introduction, cont’d… • Client Consultation – What is the proposed mark? What will it be used for? Where will it be used? – How and when will it be used? Likelihood application to be refused?www.gardnergroff.com
  5. 5. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Clearance • Ethically obligated to offer/recommend a TM search – BUT, no legal requirement to conduct one – Safest to recommend the most comprehensive search available. WHY?www.gardnergroff.com
  6. 6. U.S. Trademark Registration TM clearance, cont’d… • Types of Searches – Knock-out: Using the USPTO search tool to look for identical words ($) – Evaluating likelihood of confusion with Federal marks ($$) – Considering likelihood of confusion with State marks ($$$) – Considering unregistered Common Law marks ($$$$) – Additional considerations: Domain names, Trade Names • What is the Attorney’s Role? – Clarify that in initial conversations prior to client decision • Search Report? – If clear, time to start registration process – If problems, time to re-evaluate optionswww.gardnergroff.com
  7. 7. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process • What happens at the USPTO regarding your registration? – Receive Applications – Examiner reviews your TM applicationwww.gardnergroff.com
  8. 8. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • How can I file a new TM Application? – Caveman: on paper mailed to the USPTO ($375/class) – You: Electronically HERE: uspto.gov/trademarks/teas • TEAS ($325/class) or TEAS Plus ($275/class but stricter requirements) • Initial Application Forms; 1(a) or 1(b)www.gardnergroff.com
  9. 9. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • What information will be required in the TM Application? OWNERwww.gardnergroff.com
  10. 10. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • What information will be required in the TM Application? MARK INFOwww.gardnergroff.com
  11. 11. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • What information will be required in the TM Application? MARK INFOwww.gardnergroff.com
  12. 12. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Description of Goods and Services & International Class(es)www.gardnergroff.com
  13. 13. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Description of Goods and Services & International Class(es)www.gardnergroff.com
  14. 14. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Description of Goods and Services & International Class(es)www.gardnergroff.com
  15. 15. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Description of Goods and Services & International Class(es)www.gardnergroff.com
  16. 16. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Filing Basis: 1(a), 1(b), 44(d) or 44(d)www.gardnergroff.com
  17. 17. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Filing Basis: – 1(a): Actually using mark in interstate commerce now • Sale or transport of goods or rendering of services: (1) between more than one state or (2) in commerce between the US and another country • Need to provide Date-Of-First-Use in interstate commerce • And, Date-Of-First-Use anywhere – 1(b): No use of mark yet, but bona fide intent to use in future • No Specimen required at filing; will require if allowed (6x6mth extensions) – 44(d): Foreign application exists for same goods/services (w/in 6 months?) • Can file without current US use as Intent to Use – 44(e): Foreign registration exists for same goods/services • Can file without current US use as Intent to Use – 66(a): Extension of International Madrid Registrationwww.gardnergroff.com
  18. 18. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • 1(a), you need to submit (JPG/PDF) a Specimen of Use in Interstate Commercewww.gardnergroff.com
  19. 19. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Acceptable Specimens of Use in Interstate Commercewww.gardnergroff.com
  20. 20. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Attorney correspondent addresswww.gardnergroff.com
  21. 21. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Signaturewww.gardnergroff.com
  22. 22. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Handwritten Signaturewww.gardnergroff.com
  23. 23. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Handwritten Signature VALIDATEwww.gardnergroff.com
  24. 24. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Textform for Handwritten Signaturewww.gardnergroff.com
  25. 25. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Upload Signature .pdf then click “Validate”www.gardnergroff.com
  26. 26. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Submission confirmation & Serial Number (also get an email)www.gardnergroff.com
  27. 27. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • What happens after the application is filed? (i.e., Prosecution) – Examining attorney reviews the application 3-4 months after filing – Office Action sent (nowadays by email) if registration refused • Substantive: likelihood of confusion, genericness, descriptiveness, etc. • Clerical: errors/omissions in owner information, not acceptable description of goods/services, not acceptable specimen, disclaimer, etc. – 6 months to respond to the Office Action • Accept any suggested amendment from Examiner • Propose own amendment • Present arguments against refusal • Move to Supplemental Registry? (Only if last resort) • Tip: If unsure, call the Examinerwww.gardnergroff.com
  28. 28. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Use TEAS to respond to Office Action (2 Response Forms)www.gardnergroff.com
  29. 29. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • Once the TM Application is Allowed (i.e., no more Refusals) – Notice of Publication to allow public 30 days to oppose your registration • Must have standing (i.e., injured by your registration) • Must show reason why your registration would be invalid – If no opposition, receive TM certificate within ~60 dayswww.gardnergroff.com
  30. 30. U.S. Trademark Registration TM Registration Application Process, cont’d… • QUESTIONS / THANK YOUwww.gardnergroff.com

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