How Strong is Your Brand? (Descriptive Marks)

In a series of posts, I am discussing the spectrum of distinctiveness, which can be used to evaluate the potential strength of a mark. This post is about marks that are merely descriptive. Recently, I discussed the weakest type of trademark, the generic mark.

Descriptive marks on the distinctiveness spectrum

The Use of Shame in a Trademark Dispute

One thing that legal counsel should consider when drafting a cease-and-desist letter: be careful with what you write; it could make you famous.

How Strong is Your Brand? (Generic Marks)

Previously, I introduced the concept of the spectrum of distinctiveness, which is a simple sliding scale we use to determine the potential strength of a mark. In this post, I will discuss generic marks, which fall on the left side of the scale:

"Apple" to describe apples are generic.

How Strong is Your Brand?

My clients often ask me to evaluate the strength of their trademarks. While the answer to such a question is never simple because of the many factors that could affect the enforcement of any trademark, we are able to at least predict the general level of protection a mark could receive by determining where the mark falls on the spectrum of distinctiveness.

Increased USPTO Fees on the Horizon

Back in November, I posted about the new micro entity fees that will eventually be available to qualifying entities as part of the America Invents Act. In that post, I discussed how the micro entity fees will only go into effect after the USPTO has followed the fee-setting process. Here is a recap of the fee-setting process from that post:

Nominations Open for the 2012 National Medal of Technology and Innovation

National Medal of Technology and Innovation Do you know anyone who has made "lasting contributions to America's competitiveness, standard of living, and quality of life through technological innovation" or "substantial contributions to strengthening the Nation's technological workforce"? If so, nominate that person for the 2012 Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Patent Maintenance Fees

A patent is valid for twenty years after its filing date (plus any patent term adjustment granted as a result of USPTO delays, of course). However, a patent will expire before its twenty years are up if the patent owner fails to pay maintenance fees. When speaking with my clients, all of them exhibit awareness of the obvious initial costs to prepare, file, and prosecute a patent application. Many, however, are unaware of the continuing duties a patent holder has to pay maintenance fees.

Trademark Basics

Trademark Basics

I thought a blog post on the basics of trademark law might be helpful to some of my clients. I’ll provide a brief overview of what a trademark covers, the benefits of federal registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and how long a trademark registration will remain valid after it is granted. Please keep in mind that these are all general descriptions and your particular circumstances may merit additional considerations. Speaking with me (or another attorney experienced in trademark matters) to discuss protecting your intellectual property is highly recommended.

How to Calculate Patent Term Adjustment

I recently assisted a client in paying his issue fee—the last step in patent prosecution before a patent is granted. Along with the notice that the issue fee was due, the USPTO provided notice of its determination of patent term adjustment ("PTA"). Since the USPTO has been known to err on its PTA calculations, it may be good practice to at least review the application timeline and determine whether the PTA was correctly calculated. I thought that a blog post about PTA may be useful. So how is PTA computed?


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