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Archives: Trademarks

What Does It Mean to “Trademark” A Brand?


What does it mean when someone asks me to “trademark” a brand for them? First, of course, you need to know what a “trademark” is (for a review, check out my page What Is A Trademark?). Basically, it’s anything that identifies you or your company as the source of goods and services. Common trademarks include brand names, business names, logos, and taglines. Typically, when someone reaches out to me to assist with trademark protection, what they’re thinking about is filing an application to register their mark as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. From my perspective…

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Trademark Office Delays Explained (and why China is involved)


Why is the United States Patent and Trademark Office taking so long to respond to trademark filings? The USPTO’s goal is for new trademark applications to be reviewed within 2.5-4.5 months after the date of filing. I’ve practiced trademark law for 17 years, and for most of that time they have been reasonably good at hitting that target. However, per their Trademarks Dashboard, the currently wait time for initial review of trademarks is 6 months, and I’ve seen some applications wait for review for longer than that. What’s the delay all about? As of June 2021, according to the USPTO,…

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DeFi & Crypto Trademarks


What do people in the DeFi and cryptocurrency space need to know about trademarks? I’ve written about cryptocurrency and related topics before: see Trademarks and the Blockchain (2018) and NFTs and Copyright Law (2021). Even people who have been skeptical about cryptocurrency are beginning to identify use cases. For example, George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen recently wrote in Bloomberg: “After many years of doubt and uncertainty, a killer app has finally been found.” Cowen goes on: The core use case for crypto is called DeFi, a recently coined abbreviation for “decentralized finance.” DeFi doesn’t have a formal definition, but it…

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What is Goodwill and What Does It Have to Do With Trademarks?


“Goodwill” (or “good will”, it’s written both ways) refers to a consumer’s positive opinion of a product or service and their willingness to purchase it again in the future or to refer it to a friend or colleague. If you like Starbucks coffee, the product can be said to have goodwill. Goodwill and trademarks are inseparable. This is a legal fact: the Lanham Act, which is the Federal law that governs trademarks, states that a trademark can only be sold or transferred (“assigned”) “with the good will of the business in which the mark is used, or with that part…

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