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IPTech Insights

Will a state trademark protect me from someone filing a federal trademark later?

A trademark owner has common law rights in their mark as soon as they start using it. So even without a state trademark, you would have superior rights to anyone trying to use the mark after you start to use the mark. You will be protected against having to stop using your trademark if some else is granted a federal trademark registration for the same mark after you start using your mark locally. That said, it is a good idea to get a state trademark so your use of the mark shows up if anyone does a search before adopting a mark.

What’s the difference between the US Patent and Trademark website and the Google Patent website?

In terms of searching for patents, both websites have lists of current issued patents and public patent applications.  

How Do I File My Application Internationally?

With respect to foreign filing options, you either can file directly in the countries you want to pursue protection in by the one year mark or file a U.S. Patent Application, or you can use the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) to file an application with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that will extend your need to file national applications in each country to between thirty to thirty-one months from your U.S. filing date. 

What Happens After I File a Patent Application?

The period of time after filing a patent application is called Patent Prosecution. This is the time that your attorney (on your behalf) negotiates with an Examiner at the U.S. Patent Office.

What fees are involved in Patent Prosecution?

It usually takes 15-24 months to hear from the Patent Office once an application is filed. At that point, we would expect to get the Office Action (or rarely, a notice of allowance).

What are the best practices in choosing and using a mark?

Don't choose a mark that is confusingly similar to another mark. Trademark law is generally protective of "prior users" of a mark. When you file for a federal trademark registration, the examining attorney will determine whether your mark (taking into consideration the goods and/or services for which it is used) is close enough to a prior registered mark that it would likely confuse consumers. If so, the examiner will refuse registration.

What is the proper way to use the ®, TM, and SM symbols for marks?

Most of us understand that the symbols TM and ® are associated with trademarks; however, many do not understand the difference between TM and ®, how to use these properly, and the consequences for failing to do so. Furthermore, many people are unaware of the SM symbol. Here we discuss these three symbols, their significance, and proper use.

What is a trade secret, and how do I protect a trade secret?

A trade secret is any “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process” that has actual or potential economic value by virtue of its being secret, and which you make “reasonable efforts” to maintain a secret.

Fair Use

What is the fair use doctrine?

The fair use doctrine is a limitation on a copyright holder’s exclusive rights to use or protect their copyrighted material. 

New 15-Year Design Patent Term in the U.S.

On May 13, 2015, the "Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs" went into force in the U.S.