Trademark Application Timeline

Trademark Application Timeline

How long does the trademark application process take? Answer: While there is no absolute answer - for most applications the  trademark application process takes between 8-12 months and can be broken into several stages - each with its own variables. Step One - Trademark Clearance: The first step is the one before you file the trademark application.  Prior to filings any trademark application, you should take time to review prior registrations that might block your application from being accepted.  This can be done by you or by a trademark lawyer. When working with an attorney, this involves discussing the mark and your business, and it typically takes between 1-7 days depending on the type of trademark screening you decide to have done and the attorney's workload. Step Two - Preparation of Application: Assuming your trademark is cleared, an application is prepared based on the information you provide, and if working with a trademark attorney, the analysis of the lawyer.  You can count on 2-3 days for this...
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Halloween Trademarks 2017 Edition

Halloween Trademarks 2017 Edition

While no one asked for it - here it is - 2017 Edition of Spooky Trademarks.  SHRED BUNDY - Tasteless on so many levels   LIFE AND DEATH - That's just weird - listed services sound very sophisticated though - "Consultation and advice regarding musical selections and arrangements for sound recordings and live performances"   UNDEAD BETTYS - Roller Derby rocks!!!!!!    SN87504276 - I just like this one due to the cinematographic nature of the description of the image, which I find kinda scary: The mark consists of seven figures around a four-sided table; six of the figures are animals (from upper right proceeding clockwise: donkey, horse, boar, goat, duck, and lion); between the duck and the lion is a female human (an ale wife/barmaid) wearing a headscarf and holding two tankards that she is bringing to the table; she wears a long apron; on the far side of the table a lion wears a doublet which tied around his waist using a rope belt; the doublet...
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Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers – Q&A

Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers – Q&A

I'm a Teacher, so copyright laws don't apply - Right?? Answer "Face to Face" exception Well - sometimes.  While it is true that there are exceptions to the rules regarding use of copyright protected works by teachers , they are limited. When setting up the copyright laws, Congress created the "Face to Face" exception which allowed use of protected works for "Performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction." (17 U.S. Code § 110, Emphasis Added).  Notably, this exception is loaded with qualifying language that requires the exception to be interpreted pretty narrowly. Fair Use Guidelines However, teachers have another option.  Like the general public, the rules governing Fair Use  can be applied to teaching activities - in fact teaching is specifically called out by the statute as a limitation on the exclusive rights of copyright owners.  17 U.S. Code § 107 .   The challenge, of course,...
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Related Goods & Likelihood of Confusion

Related Goods & Likelihood of Confusion

What are "Related Goods" for the purpose of evaluating Likelihood of Confusion? Answer The leading case on evaluating likelihood of confusion is the 1973 case E. I. DuPont DeNemours & Co.   In it, the Court sets out a series of factors  to be evaluated when determining likelihood of confusion under § 2(d) of the Lanham Act.  One of these factors looks to see if the two marks are used on "related goods" or services or if their marketing activities would result in consumer confusion. If the goods are not related at all, or they are NOT marketed in a way where potential consumers would incorrectly create an assumption that they come from the same source, then, even if the marks are identical, confusion is not likely. When evaluating whether goods are related goods and precluded from registration, courts have repeatedly noted that the question of relatedness requires a showing that the goods are connected in the minds of the consumer. They, in...
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Notice from Minnesota Secretary of State regarding pre-2015 limited liability companies in Minnesota

From the MN Secretary of State ### NOTICE: Owners of pre-2015 limited liability companies in Minnesota: Upcoming changes to the law will affect your business. The Office of the Secretary of State (OSS) wants to remind all limited liability companies formed prior to August 1, 2015 that they will become subject to a new law passed by the 2015 Legislature, Chapter 322C, beginning January 1, 2018. It is recommended that owners contact their attorneys, accountants or other business advisors well before the end of the calendar year to review the impact of the new law. The new law pertaining to LLCs may bring significant changes to governance and management, operating agreements, and other aspects of your business. All owners of an interest in an LLC should be aware of the impending law change, and should review the governing documents of the LLC to determine whether any adjustments are necessary. The law does provide certain provisions to smooth the transition to the new law. For further information...
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Copyright Office Releases an Updated Draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

Reprinted From Library of Congress NewsNet Issue 666, June 1, 2017 Copyright Office Releases an Updated Draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition Acting Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Claggett today released a revised draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition. This draft includes the first proposed updates to the Compendium since its release in December 2014. The public draft is available on the Office’s website at https://copyright.gov/comp3/draft.html. It will go into effect on July 3, 2017. The Compendium is the administrative manual of the Register of Copyrights concerning the mandate and statutory duties of the Copyright Office under Title 17 of the United States Code. See 37 CFR. § 201.2(b)(7). The proposed updates are the result of a comprehensive review of the Office’s practices and procedures. The draft revisions to the registration chapters clarify how and when the Office communicates with applicants and how it handles duplicate claims, deposit requirements, and claims involving multiple works, among other improvements....
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Trademark Enforcement Options – FAQ

What are My Trademark Enforcement Options? Answer: Deciding on the right trademark enforcement options may seem pretty easy, but other options exist. While trademark owners are not required to sue all trademark infringers, not taking some type of action can weaken the trademark as a "source identifier" and weaken the value of the mark. Trademark Owners who fail to enforce their trademark entirely risk abandoning their rights to the mark. Deciding on your company's trademark enforcement procedure and policy can be very important. Settlement The most obvious alternative to litigation is settlement.  Settlement can be used as a trademark enforcement tool as well and is always an option. Owners of trademark and infringers may be able to agree to some form of concurrent trademark use where one party uses the trademark in one geographic area, and the other uses it somewhere else. Another option for settling a trademark dispute is for one party to license the rights to the other. Settlement agreements allow senior trademark user to...
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Copyright Cases: Mavrix Photographs, LLC v. LiveJournal, Inc.

Mavrix Photographs, LLC v. LiveJournal, Inc.  LiveJournal is a social media platform that displays photographs posted by users.  Maverix Photographs sued for copyright infringement of some of its photographs.  LiveJournal raised the defense that it was protected by the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  The district court agreed and dismissed the case on a summary judgment motion by LiveJournal. Appeal The appeals court (1) reversed the district court’s decision, instead finding that the safe harbor would apply if the photographs were posted at the direction of users. However, LiveJournal posted the photographs after a team of volunteer moderators, led by an employee,  reviewed and approved them. The court held that whether the photographs were posted at the direction of users depended on whether the acts of the moderators could be attributed to LiveJournal. Disagreeing with the district court, the panel held that the common law of agency applied to the LiveJournal's DMCA safe harbor defense. Because there were genuine...
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Contract Consideration – FAQ

What does it mean for a contract to be not enforceable because of a lack of consideration? Answer: In order for a contract to be enforceable, the mutual promises of the parties must be supported by "consideration." Considerations means each party gives something of value to the other.  The reason that the courts and legislatures generally require some form of consideration is to insure that the promises being made are not merely a casual statement, and accident, or gratuitous – in short – to make sure the people making the agreement really mean it. Consideration looks at whether the parties have assumed an obligation on the condition of an act or forbearance of another. Except in cases of employment matters, Minnesota courts generally do not look at the adequacy of the consideration being offered – only whether some consideration has been exchanged. For written agreements, the court presumes valid consideration. While adequacy of consideration is not usually analyzed, vague or indefinite terms...
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Benefits of a Federal Trademark Registration – FAQ

What are the benefits of a federal trademark registration? Answer: There are many benefits of a federal trademark registration, both direct and indirect.  Direct benefits are numerous and include: National protection of the mark; Ability to obtain injunctions stopping infringers; Ability to use the registration to apply for foreign trademark registrations; Greater access to the  federal court system; Assistance from the United States Custom in stopping counterfeit and infringing goods from importation; and Attorneys fees when proper notice has been attached to the goods or services. I In addition to these considerations, trademark registration provides indirect benefits in the form of being able to point to it when protecting marks used for social media accounts, protect against improper use in search engines, ability to obtain new domains in sunrise periods, and providing great leverage in UDRP and URS disputes against cyber-squatters. Why Provide these Benefits Providing these benefits serve two primary functions.  By granting these rights to trademark owners the government helps to incentivise business owners by...
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