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Happy Birthday, America!

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

Can you use AMERICA in your trademark? Can you use the word “America” in your trademark? Well, the short answer is yes, but you may need secondary meaning. In honor of the Fourth of July, we thought we would post about the trademark rules regarding using AMERICA and AMERICAN in trademarks. When the word AMERICA or AMERICAN appears in a …

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Best Practices for Submitting Trademark Specimens of Use

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

Last week the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirmed the refusal of a specimen for retail store services featuring medical devices,” finding that the specimens the trademark owner submitted were unacceptable to establish a connection between the mark and services. Below, we provide best practices for submitting trademark specimens of use to supports your application. Specimen Refused for “Retail Services” …

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Trademark Application Filing Tips

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

Remember that just because you can file your own trademark applications doesn’t mean you should. When you file a trademark application, it is the start of a legal proceeding, and as such you may want to have the help and experience of competent trademark counsel to guide you through the process. Numerous reports have found that by hiring trademark counsel …

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How Do I Know When I Need A CFO?

In Guest Blog Post by Lawrence Chester

You’re a small business owner, and you’re concerned about your business’ future.  Large corporations have a CFO, but you don’t need one.  Are you sure?  A Chief Financial Officer is a strategic financial advisor.  When business owners want to look beyond a simple financial report containing revenues, expenses, and income, a CFO can provide them with the underlying detail. If …

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Are your blog, website and social media in compliance?

In Advertising by Stacey Kalamaras

My sister, a new small business owner, was surprised to learn that a blog is subject to the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for deceptive advertising.  I realized that she was likely not alone in her lack of understanding that blogs, website copy and all social media posts used to promote your small business are in fact forms …

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What are Generic Trademarks? Can I Register One?

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

Yesterday, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) upheld a ruling on a generic trademark, and in the past year or so, a number of generic trademarks have been refused for registration. What is a generic trademark and why can’t a business owner register a generic trademark? To answer that question, it’s important to first understand the different types of …

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U.S. Supreme Court Says Copyright Owners Need a Registration Before Suing

In Copyrights by Stacey Kalamaras

On March 4, 2019, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) finally put to rest the split among the Federal Circuits that a copyright owner may file suit once the U.S. Copyright Office registers a copyright.  Previously, some Circuits had allowed lawsuits once an application had been filed with the Copyright Office. Writing for the Court, Justice Ginsberg said that the …

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The “Carlton” Not Eligible for Copyright Protection

In Copyrights by Stacey Kalamaras

Last December, Alfonso Ribeiro, aka “Carlton Banks” of TV’s The Fresh Prince of Bel Air fame, sued the makers of popular video game Fortnight for using the dance his character made popular on the show.  He claimed the Fortnight makers copied the two-step dance, alleging claims of copyright infringement. In order to sue in Federal Court on claims of copyright …

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How to Protect Your Trademark

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

Trademarks are valuable intellectual property assets in that they are the only form of intellectual property that effectively has no term.  Although trademarks must be renewed every ten years, so long as a trademark is properly used in interstate commerce in connection with its registered goods and/or services, a trademark can be active for as long as it is in …

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Top 10 Trademark Questions Answered – Part 3

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

Over the past two weeks, we have highlighted six tips based on questions we are most frequently asked.  This week we wrap up our three-part series and discuss issues like how to properly use and enforce trademark rights. If we didn’t answer your most frequently asked question, please visit our FAQs on our website or contact us for more information. …