About Brent Sausser

Dedicating my time to simplify the trademark and copyright registration process.

US Trademark Fees Reduced

trademark fees reduced
On January 17, 2015 the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will reduce their filing fees.  Specifically, the TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System) Plus filing fee drops from $275 to $225, the TEAS (now called, the TEAS RF (Reduced Fee)) falls from $325 to $275, and the paper filing (TEAS Regular) goes from $375 to $325.  In addition, the trademark renewal fee drops from $400 to $300 (this filing is due on the the tenth anniversary of a trademark registration, and every ten years thereafter).

The fees are getting reduced because of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) and for the purpose of encouraging individuals to file applications online.  As indicated in the comments of the Federal Register Rules and Regulations, the change will help “increase the volume of end-to-end electronic processing of trademark applications…[and] will make filing for individuals and smaller entities more accessible.”

The main change from the AIA is a reduction in filing and renewal fees, while the requirements for the filings primarily remain in tact.

Filing a TEAS Plus Application = now $225
In order to qualify under a TEAS Plus application the applicant needs to:

  1. Provide name, address, and email (and allow the Office to contact you via email);
  2. Respond to the Office electronically (through TEAS);
  3. Use a description of your goods/services that complies with the Office’s Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual;
  4. If the mark identifies a person’s name, a signed authorization from the person to use that name;
  5. If including a design, a .jpg of the mark; and
  6. If non-english, a translation.
    (There are a few others, but these are the main requirements)

Filing a TEAS RF Application = now $275
This type of application does not require the above clarifications. In addition, you may list the goods/services under your own description. However, an Examining Attorney may require you to be more specific with your description in a future Office action.  This type of filing simply requires the following:

  1. Provide name, address, and email (and allow the Office to contact you via email); and
  2. Responses regarding the application must be submitted electronically through TEAS

Filing Regular TEAS Application = now $325
Don’t do it. This type of application is submitted via fillable forms that you mail in. Either of the two applications above are better options.  The TEAS Plus or the TEAS RF applications will most likely be processed quicker, you’ll receive notices via email rather than snail mail, and you can respond electronically.  A Regular TEAS filing is antiquated and represents the primary reason behind the reduced fees in the first place. Help America, don’t file a Regular TEAS application.

If you’d like more information regarding the reduced fees the USPTO provides a nice summary page on their website.

If you would like a trademark attorney to handle your registration use OnlineTrademarkAttorneys.com.  You can simply fill out our online form for trademark registration for assistance. Published January 9, 2015 by Brent Sausser.

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Low Cost Trademark or Cheap Trademark Services

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Low cost trademark services are located all over the internet. We’ll tell you what to look for and who to hire in order to protect you from infringement as well as increase your odds of acquiring a trademark registration.

There are numerous “we’re not a law firm” websites such as, LegalZoom, Legal-Sherpa, etc. These “self-help” services will often display a notice in the footer of the website that reads:

We are not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm.

This notice means that any and all information shared with these companies is not attorney-client privileged and that the company cannot inform you of specific trademark laws or legal consequences of filing your trademark. Whereas, an attorney can give you the specific legal advice you need to successfully file a trademark application and protect you from unwanted infringement.

See Customer Reviews:
LegalZoom Trademark Review
Legal-Sherpa BBB Trademark Review

Low Cost Trademark – The Most Important Difference

Self-help services can’t offer you legal advice. When using a trademark attorney the attorney will first conduct a comprehensive search. This search is imperative, as it ensures you are the sole owner of the trademark, prevents you from infringing on another business’s trademark, and determines the likelihood of a successful registration of your mark. An attorney will also advise you throughout this process on the appropriate steps in order to fully protect your mark. In addition to providing you search results of similar marks, an attorney can decipher the most important marks and advise you whether the marks will prevent the registration of your mark and whether you are infringing on a currently registered mark. This can save you six months of your life awaiting the rejection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office as well as prevent legal consequences.

For example, lets say you hire a self-help service to file your trademark: you provide them with your trademark information, they enter it into an application, and you submit it to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Now lets say that your trademark matches another mark that is registered in a similar field. What you have just done is give notice to this registered mark’s owner that you are using an infringing mark. You will most likely receive a Cease & Desist letter from this registration owner advising you to stop using your trademark or suffer legal consequences. If your use constitutes a willful counterfeit mark the trademark owner is statutorily entitled to up to $1,000,000 per counterfeit mark per each type of goods or services. In addition, your trademark will receive a Section 2(d) refusal for likelihood of confusion from the Trademark Office, resulting in the loss of your government filing fee of $275 or $325. All of this could have been avoided with advice from an attorney.

Don’t settle, Increase Your Odds of Obtaining a Trademark Registration

According to a study published in Stanford Technology Law Review, and as reported by the Wall Street Journal, trademark applicants are 50% more likely to receive a registration if they use a trademark attorney. Again, this is correlated to the sound advice a lawyer can give you on whether your mark is registrable.

Cheap Trademark Service – “Attorneys aren’t cheap”

You don’t have to seek a self-help service in order to file a trademark for a low cost. Some trademark attorneys offer low cost trademark services for flat fees. You get the best of both worlds, low cost trademark services AND professional, privileged legal advice regarding your trademark. Thus, instead of seeking a “cheap trademark”, you should seek a low cost flat fee trademark attorney.  If you need more information see our webpage regarding whether you should hire a trademark attorney.

Published September 5, 2014 by Brent Sausser. If you need trademark services or have trademark questions you can contact Brent at the following link: Trademark Registration Attorney.

Trademark Opposition – Should I File To Protect My Mark?

Trademark Oppositions
Blog Provided by Online Trademark Attorneys.com

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is not perfect. Because of imperfection and the subjectiveness of confusing similarity some similar marks make it through the examination process. You as a trademark owner should protect your interest by pursuing available avenues to prevent those confusingly similar marks from maturing to registration. Trademark opposition filings can prevent the registration of a similar mark and save your brand from consumer confusion.

What is a Trademark Opposition?

An opposition is a legal proceeding whereby one party seeks to prevent the registration of a pending trademark. Any person who believes that he will be damaged by the registration of a mark may file an opposition. This does not limit opposition filings to registration or application owners, but extends to those with common law rights as well.

The Time Frame

30 Days
Opposition filings are due after the marks are approved for registration. Specifically, the filing is due within 30 days of the publication of the trademark in the USPTO’s online magazine, Trademark Official Gazette.

Additional 30 Days
You can extend the ability to file a trademark opposition by 30 days from the end of the opposition period by filing an extension request. This request must be requested within the opposition period and is granted simply from the request (i.e. no other evidence/declarations need to be presented).

60 More Days
You can also receive a further 60 day extension by showing “good cause”. Good cause can be shown by stating you need additional time to investigate the claim, you need to confer with counsel, or time to seek counsel, among others.

Another 60 Days Please (180 total)
Lastly, you can extend it an additional 60 days beyond the 120 days already requested (30 day initial period + the 90 day extension), 180 days total, by a showing of “extraordinary circumstances”. Extraordinary circumstances are typically shown by a consent from the applicant you plan to oppose (tough to get, unless you’re in negotiations with the other party).

What is the Point?

Simply stated, you want to prevent marks from obtaining registration that could harm your mark. For example, you own the registration for QWERTY SAMPLE for clothing and a mark for QWERTY POPULAR gets approved for clothing. The two names are not exactly identical in their entireties, however, they are similar enough, because of the shared term QWERTY, whereby your consumers would be confused. If you don’t oppose QWERTY POPULAR the mark will eventually become a registered mark. This could pave the way for other marks to use the term QWERTY along with another term to obtain registration. An opposition filed against QWERTY POPULAR would most likely prevent its registration and protect your mark from consumer confusion, thus, preventing other third-parties from piggy backing and using the QWERTY name in relation to clothing.

The moral of the story is an opposition may be as simple as filing the opposition, whereby the applicant fails to respond, and you get the conflicting application withdrawn. Thus, saving you from consumer confusion and protecting your mark.

Published March 12, 2014 by Brent Sausser. If you need opposition services or any other assistance with trademarks you can contact Brent at OnlineTrademarkAttorneys.com.

Cost of a Trademark / How Much is a Trademark

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*Please see an update to the costs in our new blog post: US Trademark Fees Reduced*

Often, there is a misconception that filing for a U.S. trademark can cost thousands. The reality: you can file a trademark for as little as $275. However, there are some decisions you need to make along the way that can increase this cost, but can also increase your odds of landing a registration.

Filing for Trademark Registration Yourself
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows individuals to apply for trademarks online. This is quite an improvement from the days of paper filings through Certified Mail. The first steps for trademark owners are deciding whether to file a TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System) or TEAS Plus application, as well as whether to file a section 1(a) actual use or 1(b) intent to use application. Here’s where two roads diverge into different trademark costs.

Filing a TEAS Plus Application = $275
In order to qualify under a TEAS Plus application the applicant needs to:
1. Provide name, address, and email (and allow the Office to contact you via email);
2. Use a description of your goods/services that complies with the Office’s Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual;
3. If the mark identifies a person’s name, a signed authorization from the person to use that name;
4. If including a design, a .jpg of the mark; and
5. If non-english, a translation.
(There are a few others, but these are the main requirements)

Filing a TEAS Application = $325
This type of application does not require the above clarifications. In addition, you may list the goods/services under your own description. However, an Examining Attorney may require you to be more specific with your description in a future Office action.

Section 1(a) Actual Use Application or 1(b) Intent to Use Application
After you decide to file a TEAS or TEAS Plus application, the USPTO will ask you to clarify your filing basis. Actual use means you have already used the name in commerce. If you have already used the name you will file for a 1(a) basis if you have not used the mark you file the application as 1(b). A 1(a) application will not cost you more than the filing fee of $275 or $325. A 1(b) application will cost you an additional $100 to file a Statement of Use or Amendment to Allege Use, which is simply a statement of use and proof of use of your mark.

1(a) = $275 or $325 (depending on TEAS or TEAS Plus)
1(b) = $375 or $425 (filing fee + additional filing requirement and depending on TEAS or TEAS Plus)

Using an Attorney to Help you File
According to a study published in Stanford Technology Law Review, and as reported by the Wall Street Journal, trademark applicants are 50% more likely to receive a registration if they use a trademark attorney. With OnlineTrademarkAttorneys.com you can get a comprehensive trademark search as well as trademark registration for $475 + Govt. fees.

Without a comprehensive trademark search prior to filing you leave yourself open to a rejection from the USPTO (losing your $275 or $325 to the USPTO), a waste of the time in which your trademark was pending (which can be up to seven months), as well as your potential infringement of a conflicting mark. The median price for trademark litigation in 2011 excluding damages was $384,000. As a result, a trademark search is necessary prior to filing.

Paying an attorney to handle your trademark can prevent unintentional infringement, a waste of time, as well as a loss of your USPTO filing fees. In addition, using an attorney increases your odds of obtaining trademark registration.

*Please see an update to the costs in our new blog post: US Trademark Fees Reduced*

If you would like a trademark attorney to handle your registration use OnlineTrademarkAttorneys.com.

Published July 26, 2013 by Brent Sausser.

Band Trademark Registration – A Band Name is a Brand Name.

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No substitute exists for a federally registered trademark. Some websites claim to protect your band’s name by listing you in a “band directory” or “band registry” and “establishing ‘prior use'”. You can get the same prior use from a free myspace or reverbnation page. However, neither is sufficient for trademark protection.

A band name is a brand name. Protect it. A band name is a word that identifies and distinguishes the source of service (live performances) or goods (sound recordings) of one party from another. As a result, a band name is registrable subject matter with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademark registration separates the kids from the adults. I’m not going to lecture about how you need to obtain trademark registration, because you know you do. There is a lot of material already on the internet detailing the importance of a trademark. I’m going to offer you some helpful hints and interesting facts regarding band name trademarks.

How to search for other band names
This is an important first step often overlooked. The USPTO offers a free basic search tool, which is just that, basic. You should never base your decision to proceed with a name using this tool alone. For example, let’s say you decide to use the name “the Lamineers” for your band. If you enter this in to the USPTO search bar you get zero results – “Yay!”. I’m sure the Lumineers won’t have an issue. Again, it is a basic tool not a comprehensive search. Attorneys have access to trademark databases that are not available to the general public through database subscription services. There is no trademark search equivalent to a legal opinion letter and search report from an attorney. However, when you don’t have the $299 for a trademark attorney search, you should at least search Google, Bing, Myspace, Reverbnation, Secretary of State websites for business filings and state trademarks, and any other place you’d expect to find a band.

Bands’ trademark disputes
One Direction (U.S.)
Their song “What Makes You Beautiful” was nominated for two MTV VMA awards. They acquired trademark registration for their name and then came to an “amicable agreement” to release the rights to their name to the British version of One Direction. The U.S. band now goes by “Uncharted Shores”.
The Postal Service
You may be familiar with their song, “Such Great Heights”. After applying for U.S. trademark registration this band received a cease and desist letter from the United States Postal Service. The two eventually came to an agreement where the USPS granted the band a free license to use the name as long as they provided a notice regarding the trademark in their future albums and the USPS agreed to sell the band’s CD on their website.
Linkin Park
Originally called Hybrid Theory, however, the band Hybrid forced them to change their name.
Led Zeppelin
Jimmy Page was initially in a band called The Yardbirds, when he splintered off to form his own band The New Yardbirds, his original band took issue. He changed the name to Led Zeppelin. A name inspired by a comment by two of the Who members that their band would go down like a “lead balloon”.
Pearl Jam
The Eddie Vedder lead group initially went by Mookie Blaylock (the name of the All-Star basketball player). Concerns with trademark issues forced them to change their name. Ever wonder why an album with 14 songs was named Ten? Well, it’s a jersey number they admire. They still hold Mookie Blaylock close to their hearts.
The Raconteurs
They go by the name The Saboteurs in Australia. In a bold move the Raconteurs adopted a new name after they received an unreasonable counter offer to acquire the rights to the name from the Queensland Australian group, The Raconteurs.

Trademark Ownership
Trademark ownership can be complicated for a band. Make sure you have an agreement detailing the owners of your intellectual property. Such agreements can be incorporated into the formation of an LLC. For example, the LLC can own your trademark, making each member of the LLC an owner. In your articles of incorporation (an agreement filed with the LLC) include what happens if a member disassociates herself from the group/LLC. Make it clear who owns the intellectual property (the current members). Also, include provisions to return the disassociated member’s share back to the LLC.

Bands should acquire trademark registration to protect their investment. After all, why would you want to pump money into marketing a name that isn’t owned by you. It’s like peddling a bike without a chain.

If you need trademark assistance OnlineTrademarkAttorneys.com provides attorney assistance at an affordable rate. Get a trademark registered for $475 plus Govt. fee. Lastly, one of my favorite sports talk shows always opens up the debate of who is the best drummer that ever existed – that’s why I’ve included a poll below (to settle this matter).


Published June 20, 2013 by Brent Sausser.

Intent to Use Applications – Trademark Reservations, Table for One

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So you’ve come up with the perfect name for your future goods or services. Now what?

The Search
You should first conduct a comprehensive trademark search to identify whether other uses of your mark exist. Some key entrepreneur friendly websites offer misguided advice: Entrepreneurship.com suggests that research is key, then states, “do a basic trademark search”. Forbes and SBA.gov offer the sound advice, “check for trademarks”, however, they both follow that with a link to the USPTO trademark search tool. The USPTO provides this search as a basic “knock out” tool. However, you should never base your decision to proceed with a name using this tool alone. For example, let’s say you decide to use the name NIE KEY for shoes. If you enter this in to the USPTO search bar you get zero results – “Yay!”. Again, it is a basic tool not a comprehensive search. The median price for trademark litigation in 2011 excluding damages was $384,000. A basic trademark search is treacherous waters, conduct the real thing if you truly intend to use the mark.

The Application
The two most common types of applications filed with the Trademark Office are based on Section 1(a)(actual use) or 1(b)(intent to use). If you have not used the name but plan on using the name in the future you should file an intent to use application. This application costs the same as an actual use application at the time of filing. However, it will cost you an additional $100 to file an Amendment to Allege Use or a Statement of Use once you begin using the name in association with your goods or services. In addition, you can file five six month extensions for $150 each after the Notice of Allowance issues. In other words, you can possibly reserve the name for three years after you receive a Notice of Allowance. You have to show “good cause” for extensions 2-5. For example, good cause would be building a plant for product manufacturing, working through research and development for a product, eccetera.

Reserving Your Trademark
No one calls it a trademark reservation, but that is exactly what you are doing. In order to rightfully file an intent to use application you have to have a “bona fide intention…to use” the mark in commerce. If you do not, your application is void ab initio (from the beginning). That means that you can’t think of some really cool name, file the trademark application, and sit on the name waiting for a potential buyer. This is why trademark trolls do not exist. After you have obtained registration you can claim the filing date as your date of first use even though you didn’t use the mark until after you filed. That’s the benefit of an intent to use application, you reserve the name. For example, let’s say you file an intent to use application January 1st and Company B files an actual use application January 2nd. We also have to assume here Company B’s date of first use is also January 2nd. You start using the trademark in July, file a statement of use, and successfully acquire a registered mark. Even though you started using the trademark in July, you have superior rights to Company B who started using the trademark in January. As a result Company B will be refused federal registration on a likelihood of confusion basis.

Filing an Amendment to Allege Use or a Statement of Use
An Amendment to Allege Use or a Statement of Use always accompanies an intent to use application. You file the Amendment to Allege Use before publication or you file the Statement of Use after Notice of Allowance. Do not file between these notices, because this is the “black out period“. The filing of either of the above will require a declaration (stating you’re using the mark) as well as a specimen (an image of your trademark in use in commerce). Once these are filed, and the application is approved, you are on your way to registration.

Our Plug: If you need trademark assistance you should seek trademark attorney help from OnlineTrademarkAttorneys.com. We offer a comprehensive trademark search for $299 and both a search and trademark registration for $475 plus government fee.

Published June 6, 2013 by Brent Sausser.

The New Name of the Washington Redskins NFL Team

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It’s not a question of will it happen, it’s a question of when will it happen? My guess is that within the next two years, the Washington Redskins will go by another name. A recent Congressional bill entitled,The Non-Disparagement of American Indians in Trademark Registrations Act was introduced recently that proposes to deem the term, “redskin(s)” a disparaging word that cannot be registered as a trademark in the U.S. The Washington Post and USA Today both report that this bipartisan bill will prevent the future registration of trademarks using the term “redskin(s)” as well as cancel all existing federal trademarks using the term.

The bill seeks to amend the Trademark Act of 1946 or otherwise known as the Lanham Act. Specifically, it seeks to add the term “redskin(s)” to the current disparaging definition. In accordance with the Lanham Act section 2(a), trademarks shall be refused registration if they “disparage…persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute”. Here, the bill will amend the current Act to cancel any registration that includes the disparaging term. Among those that will be canceled are the six registrations currently owned by the Washington NFL team.

This is not the first attempt to cancel the mark, however, this is the one that will succeed. In 1992, Suzan Harjo along with six other Native Americans petitioned the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to cancel six registrations owned by Pro-Football, Inc. (owner of the Washington Redskins). Harjo lost that case on a defense of laches by Pro-Football. Simply put, the laches defense applies when a party waits too long to file an objection. Here, Pro-Football registered the name in 1967 and the claim was brought in 1992, too long in the court’s opinion. However, this time it’s different.

This bill seeks to retroactively cancel all registrations. In other words, if this bill passes the House and the Senate, goodbye Washington Redskins trademark. This does not mean the NFL team will have to change its name. However, it does mean the trademark is no longer protected under federal law and as a result it will be tougher to defend the name in infringement cases. So will they change their name? You bet they will. Above all, to ensure they don’t offend anyone. Additionally, federally registered trademarks represent a valuable commodity in the NFL. Just imagine all those new product sales.

Goodbye Washington Redskins, Hello Washington………?

In the trademark world, good things don’t come to those that wait.  If you seek trademark registration, www.onlinetrademarkattorneys.com is where you should go.

Published May 10, 2013 by Brent Sausser.

Do You Need to Hire a Trademark Attorney to File a Trademark Registration?

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So who do you trust? When you take your car to the mechanic to get an oil change they come back with a list of four other “issues”. If you ask a restaurant who serves the best steak around they say, “us”. That is why, these days, we rely on Google Local, Yahoo Local, Yelp, Zagat, and most importantly statistics. The Wall Street Journal reported this week, “trademark applicants represented by attorneys are 50% more likely to earn a stamp of approval from the U.S. patent office than those who go at it alone”. We provide similar information on our website. However, if you like statistics, check out the Wall Street Journal article as well as the Thomson Reuters News article both published this week.

Or if you’re looking for trademark attorney assistance visit our website: Online Trademark Attorneys Website.

Published April 11, 2013 by Brent Sausser.

Kate Middleton Knows the Value of a Trademark Registration

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Kate Middleton recently trademarked her name in the U.K for the Royal Foundation Charity. According to the article, she is registering her royal title in relation to a number of goods and services, including t-shirts, in territories around the world. In the original article by The Telegraph Kate explains, “this also protects the foundation against other people using its name illegally.” My thoughts exactly, Kate.

After researching the details through the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) database, the trademark name filed is “THE ROYAL FOUNDATION OF THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE AND PRINCE HARRY” and it covers four international classes of goods or services. Specifically, it includes Class 25 for clothing, footwear, headgear; Class 36 for charitable fund raising; management of charitable funds; financial grant making; Class 41 for educational activities; cultural activities; organising of events (and yes, that’s how they spell organizing in the UK); publishing, including electronic publishing; and lastly Class 45 for Licensing of intellectual property. The Duchess also filed a US registration covering the same goods and services. These and other trademark registrations provide a barrier to potential infringers.

The US and UKIPO databases already show attempts to cash in on Kate’s name. The UKIPO database reveals that an applicant attempted to register, “The Duchess of Cambridge” for “a cheese which we will sell and distribute to the UK and international markets”. It did not receive a registration. The US database reflects two attempts. The first one is for a trademark filed in 2011, “KATE’S KLOSET ‘FOR THE FRUGAL PRINCESS'”. This trademark was rejected on a 2(d) basis for likelihood of confusion with the “FRUGAL PRINCESS”. In fact, the Examiner didn’t even mention Princess Kate. The second is for the not so inconspicuous mark, “PRINCESS KATE”. To which the Examiner replied, nice try, and rejected the application for a false connection with a living individual.

If you own a business and haven’t filed a trademark, you should follow in Kate Middleton’s footsteps. Protect your business from other people using your name. For more information regarding trademarks or help filing a trademark see our website: Trademark Lawyers Website.

Published April 3, 2013 by Brent Sausser.