How and when to protect your intellectual property in your small business

Bravo to all the small business owners that have the bravery, vision and drive to create something incredible and novel in the marketplace. Every business starts out from an idea. No matter where you are in the stage of solidifying your business idea or executing your business plan, intellectual property is a substantial part of the plan and you want to timely and correctly protect this valuable asset, especially as you try to get your endeavor off the ground by marketing and advertising your product or service.

My Name and My Trademark… Yep, It’s the Same Thing!

Over the past two years, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, has granted British singer and songwriter, Rita Ora, federal protection over the use of the mark “Rita Ora”. That’s right, her name is now registered as a valid trade and service mark for concert souvenirs, clothes, hair and makeup accessories, music recordings, and even her performances and/or services as a singer and songwriter.

First Step to Federally Protecting Your Trademark

By Ann Marie Sallusti | amdlawgroup.com
Trademarks are not just a mark on a product. Trademarks make products identifiable to consumers and are essentially the product that is being sold. Trademarks “may” be federally registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but registration is not mandatory in the United States. Unlike most countries, the United States follows the first to use rule when protecting trademark rights. The first to use rule protects the trademark rights of the first party who uses the trademark of a certain product or service in commerce. Therefore, if a creator satisfies the requirement of using the trademark in commerce in the United States, the creator’s work will be protected. On the other hand, most other countries follow the first to file rule when protecting trademark rights, which protects the trademark rights of the first party to file an application and receive registration for a certain product or service.

It’s A Trademark… But It’s Not Actually a “Mark”

Trademark law has developed tremendously over time, thanks in huge part to the thriving field of technology. What was once a law dedicated generally to what people see, has now become a law dedicated also to what we hear. Just think about it. When you’re sitting on your couch at home watching TV and you hear, “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful”, you almost already know that this is a Cover Girl commercial. Or think about when you’re riding in your car listening to the radio, and you hear, “Ba Da Ba Ba Baaahhh, I’m Lovin’ It”, you automatically know that it’s a McDonald’s commercial. Increasingly, trademark law has not only come to protect words that you see as images, but words as you hear as slogans too.

Are You a Risky Fashionista…Or Are You Risking the Protection of Your Brand?

By Breanna Pendilton | amdlawgroup.com
I know what you’re thinking: “What exactly is a risky fashionista, and how do I know if I am one or not?” A risky fashionista is a person who is interested in a popular style or practice of fashion which may involve the possibility of having a bad or unpleasant reaction from others. In order to be a risky fashionista, you need exactly what the word says: risk and fashion. Without the risk, you’ll just have fashion; and while fashion is ok, it is not enough to protect your brand.

How to #Registeryourhashtag

By Ann Marie Sallusti | amdlawgroup.com
Hashtags are any word or words that have the pound (or hash) symbol in front of them. They are used to get certain words to trend on the Internet via twitter, instagram, Facebook and other social media networks. Anything can be a hashtag. For example, #mybrand, #awesome, #dolls, #trademark, and #fashion. Hashtags can be used to trigger discussions via twitter and other social media websites. A user can register their hashtag using the twubs website and track the use their hashtag receives from the Internet and social media networks. Hashtags can help get a user circulate his/her idea across the market. Additionally, hashtags can emphasize a point the user is trying to make about an event in the world or a personal experience.

Doing the Most!: 50 Cent Expands Empire with New Disney Deal

Doing the Most!: 50 Cent Expands Empire with New Disney Deal

Curtis “50 cent” Jackson is the classic rags to riches tale. He grew up on the streets of Jamaica Queens, NY, where he was shot 9 times, and managed to survive the encounter. One could make an argument that the 39 year old rapper was destined to give the world something great. Not only has the mogul churned out one of the best-selling rap albums of all time with his debut “Get Rich or Die Tryin” in 2003, but he has also become a successful actor, and one of the most savvy business men in the music industry. In conjunction with his condom brand, entitled “Magic Stick”, and one of the most lucrative beverage deals in history with his “Formula 50” Vitamin Water, the multi-talented Jackson has now entered the audio industry with a new headphone deal with Intel, SMS Audio, and Disney.

Brand Interaction: Take it from a Millennial

By Christina Severino | amdlawgroup.com
Although Baby Boomers still control roughly 70% the U.S.’s total disposable income, targeting “Gen Y” consumers is still a necessary evil for all brands. Generational gaps (both economically and socially) have turned the tables on brands, who are now struggling to keep up with the flighty and sometimes unpredictable behaviors of “Gen-Y”. A 2013 survey by Accenture.com claims that Millennials who use social media are 28% more likely to make a purchase because of a social media recommendation. It is not enough that they simply “like” the brand to make them loyal customers.

Michael Kors v. Costco: Bait-and-Switch Trademark Lawsuit

Michael Kors is reportedly seeking a court order to prevent further advertising of its items by Costco. Additionally, profits and punitive damages as a result of the contested ads are being sought. Costco does not sell Michael Kors bags either in retail stores or online, and the misleading pricing is a far cry from the high end prices seen on the Michael Kors website, ranging from $298 to $1195.

Not Your Knot, Bottega Veneta’s Knot

The fashion brand, Bottega Veneta, well-known for its hand bangs and fragrances, had filed its unique “knot” design for trademark registration. Initially, the design was rejected by the USPTO because the knot was a non-distinctive product design and needed a secondary meaning. Bottega Veneta attempted to prove that its knot was distinctive through submitting its sales record, media coverage, high remarks from other fashion industry experts, and a comparison with other famous luxury brand marks.

The Tale of Trademark Registration: What Can Tyler Perry Teach You?

By Ozelle Martin | amdlawgroup.com
Tyler Perry is a highly acclaimed film creator, screen and play writer, actor and now, a new trademark owner. Recently, he was involved in a blistering trademark battle, in the case of Tyler Perry Studios, LLC v. Kimberly Kearney. The featured actor in this tale of the trademark registration of “What Would Jesus Do?” was “use in commerce.”