December 2020
With 2020 almost in the books, it's clear that it has been a challenging, learning, unique year in so many ways. Back in January, we certainly couldn't have imagined the pandemic, lockdowns, challenges, Zoom calls, losses, struggles, protests in the streets, and much more that 2020 has featured. Yet, here we are.

I hope that each one of you finds some joy, rest and reflection this holiday season. I am thankful for my clients, who have worked to build brands during these turbulent times, and to my staff, who have made my work more enjoyable and meaningful than ever.

While there is a lot of important trademark news (see below), I pause to reflect on this year. Every storm features a rainbow, every dark night ends with a sunrise. I took this sunrise photo last week next to a lake, and I share it with you because I find its spark of light, hope, and joy invigorating and energizing as we prepare to ring in a new year.
Big USPTO fee changes coming January 2, 2021
The USPTO will put into effect on January 2, 2021 what is quite likely the largest trademark fee increase in US history. Many fees are going up, and several new fees have been created. These fee changes have been in the works for more than a year.
For more details on the fee changes, click here.
7 Trademark Tips for Blog Owners

The following is an excerpt from my book, Building a Bold Brand.
To learn more about the book, visit

  1. Be creative. A creative name is generally much more likely to be unique and much easier to protect. For example, one of my favorite blog titles is a cheese blog called It’s Not You, It’s Brie®. Before committing to a name, blog authors should search the internet and the trademark database at to make sure it is unique in your industry. Check for domain name availability and web use, as well.
  2. 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.
  3. Use proper trademark symbols. Use “SM” on the right shoulder of the title if the name is not registered, since posting to a blog is a service rather than a product. If the blog name is registered, use the ® as frequently as possible. Showing others that you are protecting the blog name makes it a stronger brand and enhances its legal protections.
  4. File an application with the USPTO to register a trademark for the name of the blog.
  5. 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 owning and using the .com and causing headaches and potential legal bills.
  6. Register the corresponding social media usernames on major social media sites. Even if the names are never used, there is a value in making sure that someone else cannot use them.
  7. 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 are informational, but they serve several important purposes, including enhancing credibility; improving search engine ranking; and creating content, marketing, and thought leadership, and they therefore provide significant value to their authors. To protect the investment of time, energy, and money in the blog, blog owners should strongly consider the tips above, including trademark registration.
Where COVID-19 Masks and Trademarks Collide
I was extra delighted to receive this plaque from The City of Falls Church Economic Development Authority Committee, on which I volunteered for nearly eight years. (The ‘extra’ comes from The Little City®️ logo that I worked to help protect!)
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.

© 2020 Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC.