December 2017

The year is coming to a close soon, and what a year it has been. More than 300 US trademark applications filed for clients, attending a Supreme Court trademark case hearing, a conference in Barcelona, a new website, and much more. Whether working with businesses down the street or across the globe, helping you build and protect strong brands and successful businesses gives me tremendous joy. 

As a thank you to my readers and clients, I am offering  a special holiday bonus! Two trademark applications for the price of one, plus USPTO filing fees . Email me at [email protected] for details. Offer valid for just one week, through 12/22/2017.

New DMCA Designated Agent Directory filing with Copyright Office takes less than 10 minutes and less than $10

The  Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") protects webmasters and website owners from liability for copyright violations on their sites when materials are uploaded by users. In order to receive such immunity, site owners must meet several requirements, including having a take down procedure upon receipt of notice of a violation. But one easily overlooked requirement to take advantage of the safe harbor is the requirement to register with the  Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

Every website owner, even if previously registered in old system, muse re-register electronically by 12/31/2017. All paper designations will be invalid effective 1/1/2018. The online process costs $6 and takes less than 10 minutes. The registration process is online here:
Why is this important and valuable? In essence, a website owner must have a public filing that tells the public where they can provide notice of any copyright violations by users on the website. The Copyright Office then maintains a  public directory available online.
Any self hosted blog or other website that allows for comments by users, or other user contributions, should take efforts to take advantage of the safe harbor. Note that if your blog is hosted on or another similar site, it is likely protected by that site's safe harbors provided the site operators have taken the proper steps. Here, especially because the filing fee is less than $10, it is better to be safe than sorry. A little insurance to avoid defending an copyright claim could go a long way - and potentially save a lot of money and hassle.
As noted frequently here on the IPelton® blog, I aim to practice what I preach. Last month I submitted a designation to the Copyright office for my IPelton blog.

How to use the USPTO's TSDR 
(Trademark Status and Document Retreival)

The USPTO website has a unique page with the records of each pending application and each registration. It even has many old ('dead') applications and registrations. These pages are accessible via Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) at

What does TSDR do? TSDR may look straightforward, but it can do quite a lot:
  • provide the status of each record;
  • provide a static link than can be sent to others to demonstrate the existence of a USPTO trademark application or registration;
  • access the procedural history of an application or registration;
  • view and download any documents from the file history of an application or registration, including Office Actions, responses to Office Actions, specimens of use, renewal filings, and more;
  • retrieve a PDF copy of a registration certificate;
  • view the goods and/or services and International Classifications thereof connected to an application or registration;
  • view any "Disclaimer" claims;
  • determine whether a record is on the Principal Register or Supplemental Register
  • view the "Drawing" of a standard character or design/logo mark;
  • play the audio for a sound mark;
  • view registration renewal and maintenance deadlines and filings;
  • view Assignment records and documents for an application or registrations;
  • view "Proceeding" documents from any TTAB Opposition, Cancellation, or Ex Parte Appeal matter;
  • and more.
To view the full details of an application or registration, including the procedural history, click "Expand All" on the right hand side of the screen.

To access documents, including registration certificates, click the "Documents" tab.

TSDR is a valuable tool for any trademark practitioner. I use it all the time in reference to both applications or registrations where I am attorney of record, as well as to research third-party records that might affect a client or be part of a dispute, or the could provide valuable information in responding to an Office Action.

For more information, see the USPTO's TSDR FAQ page.

USPTO Trademark filings reflect business trends:
Filings related to 'blockchains' increase exponentially

Trademark applications generally act as a barometer for the economy overall, and for the rise and fall of particular industries and general cultural trends. For example, see my prior posts on  dronescupcakes, and  beer.

Recent filing trends clearly reflect the role of "blockchains" in US business products and services.

I conducted some searches for USPTO trademark filings featuring the term "blockchain" somewhere in the record (generally in the mark itself or in the description of the goods or services).
  • Prior to 2015, there were just 53 USPTO records total that included the term "blockchain." See image below.
  • In 2015, there were 44 such filings.
  • In 2016, there were 77 such filings.
  • In 2017, there have been 300+ such filings already!
Based on these trademark statistics, it is clear that US businesses are investing in blockchain goods and services and we will be hearing a lot more about this term, like the pending application for BULLISH ON BLOCKHAIN.

Last month, I visited Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is a great, fun city. And it features a lot of creative stores and trademarks, like Blank Slate creamery, Catching Fireflies, and Grillcheezerie!

For more photos, see my blog post.

And just today, I was listed among World Trademark Review's trademark personalities of the year for my efforts to combat scams preying on trademark owners!

If there are any topics or issues you would like to see covered here, let us know!

This publication has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of the firm. It is not intended to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter. Under rules applicable to the professional conduct of attorneys in various jurisdictions, it may be considered advertising material.

© 2017 Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC.