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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. …

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#COVFEFE Does Not Function as a Trademark

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

Who can forget when President Trump made this tweet: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”?  No one knew what it meant, and the tweet became instantly infamous. That same day, May 31, 2017, an enterprising trademark applicant, filed a U.S. trademark application for #COVFEFE in Class 25 for hats; T-shirts, and other clothing items; however, last week the Trademark Trial …

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Top 10 Trademark Questions Answered – Part 2 of 3

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

Last week we highlighted the first two (of 10) trademark tips based on questions we are most often asked.  If you missed that post, you can read it here. This week we share four more tips focused on the application process to help businesses of all kinds be successful business owners. If you need help with a trademark matter or …

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Top 10 Trademark Questions Answered – Part 1 of 3

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

This year, resolve to protect your intellectual property assets. Did you know that of all the branches of intellectual property, trademark rights have no fixed term and can be protected indefinitely as long as they are used in interstate commerce? This makes trademarks more valuable than patents or copyrights both of which have fixed terms. In this three-part series, we …

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Counterfeit Goods – Why Should You Care?

In Counterfeit Goods by Stacey Kalamaras

Counterfeit goods are the world’s largest illegitimate industry.  Why should you care?  In October, I educated more than 400 attorneys on how to protect their clients’ brands against counterfeiters.  These continuing legal education programs were well-received.  As intellectual property counsel representing brand owners, we are continually concerned about counterfeit goods as one of the biggest threats to a brand.  But, …

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Who Owns Your Trademark?

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

The answer is not as simple as you might think.  Ownership is a threshold issue at the USPTO and yet many applicants get this wrong on their application. If the application is filed in the name of the wrong  trademark owner, it may result in your trademark being worth less than the piece of paper it is printed on.  Here, …

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What Is an Office Action?

In Trademarks by Stacey Kalamaras

If you recently filed a trademark application with the USPTO in the past four months, you may have received an Office Action in response to your application.  What is an Office Action?  In its simplest form, an Office Action is a letter from the USPTO addressing any and all informalities with the application.  These can range from very simple procedural …