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Keep it Legal Blog

What is the New Trademark Office Rule Requiring U.S. Attorneys?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently issued a new rule that affects all trademark filings owned by parties based outside of the U.S. The rule is that, essentially, everyone who’s doing business with the Trademark Office must be represented by an attorney licensed to practice law in the United States. The new rule went into effect on August 3, 2019. The previous status quo didn’t include any such requirement. Foreign trademark owners could be represented by a foreign attorney or could simply handle their own U.S. trademark filings without legal counsel. The USPTO’s press release regarding the…

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How Do I Register for DMCA Safe Harbor Protection?

If you have a website or app that includes user-generated or user-submitted content, you are vulnerable to a lawsuit from the copyright owners of that content. This applies to all social media sites/apps and any apps/sites with public forums or other types of user content. The U.S. Copyright Act provides for statutory damages of up to $150,000.00 per infringement. The good news is that you are shielded from all such liability under the “Safe Harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) – as long as you comply with all of the necessary provisions, including registration. In this post,…

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5 Things to Consider When Creating a Trademark

When you’re coming up with a trademark, such as a brand name for your products or services, there are a few key points to consider. In other blog posts, I go into some of these points in a lot more detail, but for this post I wanted to pull the basic concepts together so you know on a high level what you should be thinking about. That said, here are 5 things to consider when creating a trademark: 1. Is it generic? A generic term is the common name for a type of good or service. Examples include “Pizza Shop”…

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on Registration of Immoral and Scandalous Trademarks

Note: try not to be scandalized, but this post contains bad language. You can determine for yourself whether or not it’s immoral. OK, read on… Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a ban on the registration of disparaging terms as trademarks. That decision, in the case Matal v. Tam, held that part of §1052(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO, or just PTO) from registering terms that are disparaging as trademarks, is unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. The Lanham Act is the U.S. Federal law that covers trademarks. On June…

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