“Actual Use” vs. “Intent-to-Use” Trademarks

A trademark is a word, groups of words, or a symbol that is registered so that it can be used in association with a company or a product. Another individual or business can not utilize something that is trademarked. It is used more often by companies that want their customers or clients to know that a particular product or service is associated with their business. There are two general ways to register a Read More

A Brief Guide to Patentability for California Businesses

A patent is a legal tool that allows you to have exclusive rights to an invention for a period of time. It requires that you disclose the details of the invention to the public by filing a patent with the U.S. government. Patents allow inventors to control who uses their ideas and permits them to derive monetary value from the invention. Without a patent, someone else could easily copy the design and market it Read More

No Trademark Left Behind: Understanding Abandonment

Have you been keeping track of your trademark? While it may seem like a low-maintenance form of intellectual property, the rights to your trademark can expire if you don't monitor its use. When you stop using your mark for three or more years without intending to use it again, it becomes an abandoned trademark under United States law. As the owner, in other words, you relinquish your rights to the trademark when you Read More

Intellectual Property Law: Understanding Invention Assignment Agreements

If you are a business owner who employs individuals who will be creating intellectual property of any type, it is absolutely essential that you understand (and use) invention assignment agreements. To put it simply, these agreements ensure that any inventions or concepts that the employee (or third party contractor) creates while working for you, will belong to your business. As with most legal concepts, however, Read More

A Brief Q&A on Trademarks

There is a great deal of confusion and misinformation out there regarding the intellectual property protection known as “trademarks.” These tools are vital for most businesses in order to protect their unique brand, but many business owners simply do not understand what they are or how they work. Thus, we have put together a brief Q&A session in our latest blog to provide answers to some of the most common Read More

Intellectual Property Theft: The Cease & Desist Letter

Your intellectual property is the very core of your business. It is your ideas and innovations, your brand, and everything that makes your company unique. Any attempt to steal from your company should anger you, but a theft of intellectual property can be a particularly galling prospect. So what do you do when a current employee, or a former employee, or even a business rival steals your intellectual property? Read More

Intellectual Property Law: Understanding the Difference Between Copyrights and Trademarks

Intellectual property law can be convoluted and confusing, but also essential to your company’s success. We’d all love to believe that our competitors will play fairly or that our own employees will always be loyal. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that you have to expect and prepare for the worst in people. You work hard to be innovative and creative. You provide a product or a service that people enjoy. You Read More

Registered Trademark Symbol Confusion

Some small business owners may have some confusion about when they may use the registered trademark symbol, or even what the registered trademark symbol is; so, what is it and when can you use it? Here's the quick and dirty: you can begin using a superscript TM (that's the floating TM at the end of a word, logo, etc.) when you have an intent to claim a trademark on the word, logo or whatever it is that you intend to Read More

What is a Trademark?

I am often asked, "What is a trademark and what does it get me?"  Well, the first part of that questions is fairly straight forward, the second part, not so straight forward, but let me try to help. What is a trademark?  A trademark is something that is used to promote your small business.  What immediately comes to mind is your small business name, however a mark could be a logo, a phrase, such as your tagline, a Read More

To Trademark or Not to Trademark Your Small Business Name

Although a trademark can be an essential element of your small business assets, is it really necessary?  I have clients that get advice from people that ends up to be all over the map.  The reality is that if you want to file for a trademark, sooner is typically better than later.  This is for the simple fact that if you wait until your brand becomes wildly popular before perfecting your mark, you may be in a Read More