Blog

Posts Tagged ‘tips’

If your business might wish to take advantage of the new business opportunities for US companies in Cuba, consider proper trademark protection as well. Even under the prior embargo, US companies were permitted to file trademark application in Cuba. Now that the embargo may be amended or lifted, US companies that could have business interests in Cuba need to consider trademark ramifications. This is a particular concern because Cuba is a “first-to-file” country, meaning someone could obtain rights by registering a brand name even if they have not made any commercial use of the name.

File:Flag of Cuba.svg

Addition reading:

Trademark tips for bloggers

Posted by ipelton on: August 7th, 2015

I am frequently asked questions about blogs and trademarks. Blogs are a service, even if they are not for profit and have no way of making money, and blog names can be protected by trademark law. Which means that blog names can be registered as trademarks with the USPTO. For example, this blog is called IPelton® and is a registered trademark. In the USPTO registration, the services for IPelton are described as “On-line journals, namely, blogs featuring information and observations in the fields of law, branding, and intellectual property.”

In 2014, the USPTO saw more than 3,500 applications for trademarks featuring “blog or blogs” in the description of goods and services.  Ten years earlier, that number was just 18!

Here are some trademark tips for blog owners:

  • Be creative. A creative name is more more likely to be unique and much easier to protect, generally. For example, one of my favorite blog titles is a cheese blog called, It’s Not You, It’s Brie®. Search the internet and the trademark database at USPTO.gov to make sure it is unique in your industry.  Check domain name availability and use as well.
  • Make it stand out. When using the name, put it in a different font, color, bold or italics to make it stand out. That way it helps demonstrate that the title of the blog is special and that you want to call attention to it and protect it.
  • Use proper trademark symbols. Use “SM” on the right shoulder of the title if the name is not registered. If it is registered, use the ® as frequently as possible. Showing others that you are protecting the name makes it a stronger brand and enhances the legal protections for it.
  • File to an application with the USPTO to register the trademark for name of the blog.
  • Register the corresponding .com domain name, even if you do not intend to use it. The annual cost is worthwhile insurance to prevent someone else from using the .com and causing you headaches and potential legal bills.
  • Register the corresponding social media usernames on major social media sites. Even if you never use the names, there is a value in making sure someone else cannot use them.
  • Monitor for infringement. Set up a free Google alert or use other methods to check periodically for copycats. If you learn of an infringement, consult with an attorney. If you do not make an effort to stop infringers, your rights in the name will generally be weakened.

Most blogs, like this one, are informational. But they serve several important purposes – enhancing credibility, improving search engine ranking, content creation, marketing, and demonstrating expertise – and thus have a significant value to the author. To protect the investment – of time, energy, and money – in that valuable blog asset, blog owners should strongly consider the tips above including trademark registration.

I have written previously about the plethora of ways to use your trademarks to promote your brands. See my post,  50 ways to use your trademarks. But now there is a new way – on a Super Bowl® ring. Of course, very few will ever have this opportunity.

Last weekend, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft presented players with their Super Bowl rings. The rings feature two registered trademark slogans, one on the side and one on the back: Do Your Job and  We are all Patriots.

For a 360 degree view, see here.

It is unlikely than anyone reading this will ever get a Super Bowl ring – but the Patriots have shown that there are always new and creative ways to use your trademarks and build your brand.

Tuesday Trademark Tip: Register domain names first

Posted by ipelton on: January 27th, 2015

Before launching a new brand name or company name, register the relevant domain names. Consider a few different extensions, not just the .com. And consider some different spellings if applicable. Once you make a name public, or file a USPTO trademark application, the world knows about it. And there are plenty of nefarious people who try to register domain names that correspond with brand names and company names so they can offer them for sale, or worse. (While there may be legal action available against a cybersquatter, such a proceeding could be even more expensive than buying the domain name from the party that bought it.)

Save money – and protect your brand – by registering domain names first.

To sign up for more a weekly Tuesday Trademark Tip delivered directly to your inbox (in a brief weekly email format), sign up at www.TuesdayTrademarkTip.com

FireShot Pro Screen Capture #057 - 'Home Page' - tuesdaytrademarktip_com

Seven quick tips for protecting your brand

Posted by ipelton on: November 21st, 2014

One of the first blog posts I wrote was on this subject. It is basic and brief – but very important!

  1. Choose Wisely – The more creative your brand name is, the greater the odds that it is unique.  More distinctive and create name or slogan is generally more capable of standing out among the competition and becoming a brand with real value. Which sounds like a more exciting brand, a more valuable brand: “Jim’s Gym” or “Vantage Fitness“? “Cincinnati Frozen Yogurt” or “fraîche”? “Joe’s Pizza” or “Pie-tanza” “Search.com” or “Google”?
  2. Use it – The more prominently you use your trademarks – brand names, logos and slogans – the stronger and more distinctive they become and the more your likely customers are to remember your brand and to use it to tell others about it.
  3. Distinguish It – Use ALL CAPS, bold or italics to emphasize your brand as often as you can.  Then the customer knows exactly what your brand is.
  4. Register it – Registration provide enhanced legal and practical protection and increases the dollar value of your trademark assets.
  5. Create Google Alerts – An easy and free way to monitor for others copying your brand or commenting on it.  If you find a possible infringement, contact an attorney. www.google.com/alerts
  6. Enforce it – When your trademark is violated, take action quickly. If you don’t care enough about your brand to fight for it, why should the customers care? Taking quick action generally leads to quicker, better, cheaper resolution of the problem.
  7. Think outside the trademark box – Are there sounds, shapes, colors, patterns, uniforms, or other ‘nontraditional’ trademarks being used to help make your brand stand apart?  If so, highlight and protect them.

© 2014 Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC.