After the mark registers on the Principal Register at the USPTO, you are required to maintain that trademark.
Hopefully, this is not news to you if you’re a trademark owner! The beauty of trademark protection is trademarks last as long as you use them and maintain them. Once you get a trademark registration, it’s up to you to keep it LIVE. So, what does that mean? That means maintaining. Also, it’s important to enforce your mark! Don’t just sit back and allow other people to use your name – ACT on it! Be sure to consult with a qualified Trademark Attorney before you start drafting those cease and desist letters, for example, because because you don’t want to jeopardize your rights.
Also, it is important to file post-registration documents. They need to be filed timely. Between the fifth and sixth year after you get a Federal registration, you’re required file documents at the USPTO to let them know that you have continuously used that trademark and to let them you are still using the mark. Now, the key words are “continuous use!” Don’t try to get a trademark and then use it, stop using it for a couple of years and then use it again. OH MY!
Trademark use needs to be continuous and not intermittent use.
Also, between that fifth and sixth year period, you can actually make your mark incontestable! That’s right! So, after you obtain a federal registration with the USPTO, calendar maintenance dates to ensure you don’t miss them!
What tools are you using to ensure you maintain your federal trademark?
Ready to learn more about the trademark timeline? Now, what exactly is the trademark timeline? The trademark timeline is what will happen after a trademark application is filed.
First, it’s important to be clear on what you can file at the USPTO to get federal trademark protection. A trademark is a source identifier. This can be an expression, a word, symbol, scent, sound, shape, or color that is used to identify your goods or services.
Once a trademark application is filed, it can take 3-4 months before the application is assigned to a Trademark Examining Attorney. The Trademark Examining Attorney’s job is to determine if your trademark application has any issues and to review your mark to determine if it’s likely to cause confusion with a confusingly similar mark. Your mark may also be highly descriptive or worse, generic! If there is an issue, the Examining Attorney will issue an office action and allow you six months to respond to the action. If the Examiner’s review determines that the application has no issues, the mark will be published in the Official Gazette for third parties to challenge the mark. If no third parties challenge the mark, then the USPTO will register the mark. YAY!
In a nutshell, the average time to complete this process is about 1 year. Often people assume the process is shorter and call attorneys in a panic to get a mark registered.
How long did it take the USPTO to register your mark?
You know what they say about assumptions, right? You make an #$@.. You get my point! Well, keep reading so you don’t make assumptions that can jeopardize your patent, trademark or copyright rights. First, there’s no percent rule! Congratulations on your invention but never ask a patent attorney, what percent you need to change an invention to get a patent. The standard to get a patent is that the invention needs to be useful and solve a problem, the invention needs to be novel and the invention needs to be non-obvious. Have you searched high and low for your invention in every store and you can’t seem to find it on the shelves? Don’t assume that if you haven’t seen your invention in the store, you can patent it. Some inventions are patented but never manufactured and sold. It’s best to seek the help of a patent attorney to conduct a search to determine if your invention is patentable.
Don’t assume that if you own a domain name, you own a trademark and vice versa. If the domain name is used as an address rather than a source identifier, the domain name doesn’t function as a trademark. Be careful sending out cease and desist letters to third parties! First, don’t assume that if someone is using your trademark that their use is improper. Also, don’t assume that you have senior rights over their use. It’s best to seek the help of a qualified trademark attorney to research the potential infringement and strength of your trademark.
Are you copying and pasting pictures from the internet? Are you assuming that if the image is on the internet it’s free to use? You may be liable for copyright infringement. This applies to text on the internet. Even if credit is given to a third party for their content, you can be liable for infringement. It’s better to ask for permission or license the content.
I’m assuming that none of these apply to you! 🙂
What are some other common assumptions inventors and entrepreneurs make?
Great! You’ve invented the next best thing and now you’re ready to tell the world. Slow down! Did you know that if you disclose your invention to others you may lose the right to file a patent application to secure patent protection for your invention? Once you disclose your invention, you have one year to file a patent application or your disclosure is considered giving your invention away to the public. If you’re just dying to tell someone about your great idea, consult a patent attorney! The consultation or discussion with a patent attorney doesn’t start the clock and a consultation is a great start to learn more about how to protect your idea and ensure you fully understand your options.
Also, a consultation is a great time to discuss any prior art that you may have found after you conducted your own. Wait? You didn’t do any research? This is one of the biggest mistakes inventors make! Take a few minutes to research your invention. Use free resources such as uspto.gov, google.com/patents and even conduct a simple word search on Google. If you uncover your invention, you know your invention is not patentable. If you are unsure of how to interpret the prior art, a patent attorney can help you determine if the invention is patentable.
Remember, the early bird gets the worm and the first to file gets an early filing date! Of course, you want to file a patent application to ensure you’re the first to file, but don’t make mistakes that may jeopardize your patent rights!
What are other ways you can jeopardize your patent rights?
Thank you for following The Law Firm of Andrea Hence Evans, LLC on instagram, periscope and twitter! We’re excited to announce that you can now follow the Firm on YouTube! If you enjoy our pictures, tweets and live videos on periscope, you will LOVE our YouTube videos!
Check out our page and SUBSCRIBE while you’re there! What do you think about our first video on YouTube? Thank you for your support!
Here’s the video:
It’s SUMMER! You have survived another year of law school. Congratulations! Have you thought about your career after law school? It’s never too early to start strategizing on actually having a career rather than a job. The competition is stiff. What are you doing to distinguish yourself from other students? Here are a few tips that will help you to advance in your career.
1. First, be open to alternative careers. You’re still a student. Take advantage of all opportunities. Don’t limit yourself. Now is the time to explore all options.
2. Attend your law school networking events and follow up with attorneys. Create a database to store all contact information of the attorneys you meet. You never know when you’ll need to send out a newsletter or an email.
3. Create a blog to get your name out. Analyze cases! Distinguish yourself! The internet has provided an opportunity for you to create your own brand. Take advantage of it. If you’re interested in trademark law, for example, create a blog with niche trademark information.
4. Use social media. (Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin). How will anyone know what you’re capable of if they don’t know you? Social media is a great tool to create a global brand and to grow your followers and supporters.
5. Research jobs and attorney you are interviewing with. Be prepared. Don’t waste their time. The worse thing you can do in an interview is ask questions where the answers can easily be found on the Firm’s site. For example, don’t ask an attorney where they attended law school. Rather, relate their law school to something personal to let them know you did your homework!
6. In an interview, ask intelligent questions to show you’ve done your research, not just “How much will you pay?” Talk about a big case the firm won or a current event.
Remember, your career research should be career focused not job focused. There’s a huge difference.
Time is valuable and irreplaceable so it is important to spend time doing things you love, including working. Happy CAREER hunting!
What’s the best advice you’ve received that has advanced your career?
Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Founder and Owner of The Indie Business Network. Enjoy this Blab interview below to learn more about business, branding and life. Successfully creating a business, branding your business and balancing life are critical to propelling your business.
Enjoy this video!
What are you doing to balance your business and personal life?
Are you prioritizing the wrong things in your business? We are all given 24 hours in a day. People often ask entrepreneurs how they accomplish so much in one day. It sounds cliche but it’s simple. Successful entrepreneurs prioritize their time. If you are not setting daily realistic goals during the day, you could be wasting valuable time. Of course, time is money. If you’re an entrepreneur and you aren’t making money, then you’re not making sense and cents!
You actually may be setting goals but you may be aiming for the wrong goals or even unrealistic goals. It’s critical to look at your goals and identify what steps need to be taken to accomplish your goals. After you set a goal, identify the tasks required to complete reach that goal. Then, identify how much time it will take to complete that tasks and actually subtract that from your 8-10 hour work day. It is so rewarding to actually remove an item from your to-do list. It’s better to end a work day on a high note than to start your day working on an unfinished task.
What’s your secret to maximizing your day?
Hopefully, many of you are taking advantage of continuing to grow your skills and expertise by attending conferences. For example, lawyers in most states are required to attend (Continuing Legal Education) CLE conferences to keep their bar licenses active. Attending conferences is also a great way to expand and grow your brand in other industries. I love it when a prospective client calls my Firm because a “friend of a friend” referred them to my Firm. Those types of calls confirm that I am networking effectively.
I love conferences and I especially believe that I can always learn something new. I know I’m a patent attorney but I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. If you’ve already achieved success and you’re willing to teach me, I’m willing to learn! Often, so many people have a narrow focus when they start their businesses. Think GLOBAL and think of all of the possibilities.
How many of you take advantage of attending conferences that are not tailored towards your specific industry? I hope I’m not the only one in the room raising my hand!