The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a new rule on July 2, 2019, requiring trademark applicants, registrants, and parties to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings whose domicile is not located within the United States or its territories to be represented before the USPTO by a U.S.-licensed attorney as of August 3, 2019. Domicile is typically defined as the permanent legal place of residence of an individual or the headquarters of an entity. The rule does not retroactively apply to applications filed before August 3, 2019, but impacts such applications if an office action is issued on or after August 3, 2019, requiring the applicant to designate a U.S.-licensed attorney to respond. This rule is intended to streamline trademark registrations and reduce the potential of invalidations by providing the USPTO a more efficient way to enforce statutory and regulatory requirements.
By Evan M. Kent
It has been my experience that when many U.S. clients expand their businesses beyond national borders, they are unaware that their U.S. trademark registrations provide no protection in foreign jurisdictions.
Trademark ownership provides important commercial and legal benefits including the exclusive right to use the registered trademark and the right to sell or license it to another for profit. Further, trademark ownership gives one legal standing to prevent others from using or attempting to register similar or identical trademarks. Trademarks are considered to be tangible assets of the owner and add to the value of the shares of a company. If you are an exporter, or thinking about exporting in the future, you should seriously consider securing protection for your trademarks at the earliest possible date in those foreign markets which are or could be of interest. (more…)
By Brionna Ned
When you start to think about protecting your business’s intellectual property, some things might immediately jump to mind – like trademarking your logo or filing a patent application for the functional invention that underlies your business. But other things, like the design or appearance of your product, may not be so obvious. In fact, it may not have occurred to you that you can and should consider seeking protection for the appearance or ornamental characteristics of your company’s product – whether that product is an actual article of manufacture, like the Apple iPhone, or the user interface of your mobile application. Intellectual property law offers protection for both via copyright and patent law.
Here are 10 ways to build a rock-solid foundation for your new company and avoid constructing a masterpiece on top of quicksand:
- Make sure your company’s name isn’t already taken. As a starting point, search the name on Google and other Internet search engines. Then search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website (uspto.gov). Important: repeat this process each time you pick the name of a new product or service.
- Check if the domain name you want is available – if so, get it. Create Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for your company, and start using them. (more…)
Last week, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The process, however, will take at least two years to be completed. Your European Union registered trademarks, which currently cover the United Kingdom, will continue to be enforceable in the United Kingdom for some time. Eventually, this will no longer be the case, but we expect that a transitional procedure will be established allowing for the maintenance of rights in the United Kingdom once it has officially departed the European Union. Because there is no precedent for such an event, there is no way to predict whether this will take the form of an automatic extension of existing European Union rights to the United Kingdom, require re-registration in the United Kingdom, or another conversion procedure altogether.
This article was co-authored with Kevin M. Rosenbaum of MS&K.
On February 24, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, PL 114-125 (TFTEA), which includes an assortment of trade facilitation and trade enforcement provisions, including a number of provisions focused on intellectual property rights (IPR). Section III of the new law provides a number of enhancements to U.S. enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) at the border. In addition, included among a variety of new trade enforcement provisions in Section VI, the new law provides additional resources to assist the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) improve IPR protection and enforcement in foreign markets. (more…)