Articles Tagged with Trademark

2013_03_23__5016-300x200Whether you’re starting a new business, launching a new product or service or just haven’t gotten around to getting trademark protection for your logo, the names of your company or what you provide your customers, acting sooner is better than acting later. The more time passes the greater the chances another party may be able to trademark the same or similar words.

Trademarks are words, symbols or phrases that identify you as the seller of goods or services or the manufacturer of certain products. Trademarks distinguish them from other goods or services.

Perform a clearance search.

photo - Under Armour lawsuitIn less than ten years Under Armour has gone from the owner selling its sporting goods from the trunk of his car, after making them in his grandmother’s basement, to a $3 billion business. That aggressive growth is being matched with legal aggression against companies who may, or may not, be infringing on the company’s trademarks.

One example is a lawsuit against a company whose owner claims its name, Armor & Glory, is biblically inspired, not inspired by its much better known competitor, according to the Washington Post. Terrance Jackson started his company in 2013, he says after he found much of the clothing marketed for his three year old son were covered in skulls and crossbones.

Jackson has only sold a couple hundred shirts and has no marketing budget beyond its Facebook page. Despite its small size Armour & Glory got the attention of Under Armour, the country’s second biggest sportswear company, which sued it, claiming trademark infringement. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Maryland where both companies are based. According to the Post,

photo - trademark by opensource,comYour company’s most valuable assets could be its intellectual property. Just like you lock the doors when you close to protect what’s inside your office, store or factory, there are ways to protect your intellectual property. A trademark can include any word, name, symbol, device or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish your goods or services from others and to show the source of those goods and services.

The first step to protecting this property is to register it with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If you had to litigate to protect your rights, you could argue that “common law” created by judicial decisions over time protect your rights to a name, but the chances of success would be far greater is you are actively using the mark in commerce and have filed for federal trademark protection with the USPTO. You also need to take this step to challenge a website domain name registries to protest someone else’s domain name.

Federal registration of a mark is not mandatory but it has several advantages, including,

  • Notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark,
  • Legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and
  • Exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration.

Once you’ve done that and you think your trademark rights have been infringed, there are some considerations you need to think about before legal action would be warranted.

  1. Is there trademark infringement?

Could consumers be confused by the dual use of the trademark? Is the mark used on competing goods and Continue reading

IP DisputesMark Getty, Chairman of Getty Images and one of the world’s largest Intellectual Proprietors said, “Intellectual property is the oil of the 21st century.”

Well said.

With everyone vying for IP power, though, you must not forget that 21st century IP opportunities also come with 21st century challenges.

Because while copyrights, trademarks and patents may be an entrepreneur or serious investors chance to strike revenue gold, how do you safeguard your precious ‘metal’ in a world where technology makes almost anything accessible to anybody with a computer?

Before we show you how to protect your property, it first helps to have an understanding of why IP protection has become such a challenge in the first place. There are two key contributing factors.

#1 – The Digital Technology Rabbit Hole

This should come as no surprise, but today’s digital technology – while useful – also comes with complications. Computer hackers can reach into your company email stealing secrets that should be for your eyes only. Viruses can attack your finances, scrambling your profits and numbers. And anybody with a modest knowledge of computers can steal your copyrighted or trademarked work right off of your website or blog and pass it off as their own. And you may be none-the-wiser.

In fact, it’s very common for images or bits of content to be scraped off the internet and repurposed on a different platform. In happens every day.

Most of the time, these random acts of copyright or trademark infringement go unknown because the World Wide Web is simply so vast that there’s no way we could track it all down. It’s a digital rabbit hole and stolen pieces of work simply get swallowed and lost in the www abyss.

#2 – The International Component

Continue reading