Supplement Your Trademark

When securing a Federal trademark for a business or product everyone must go through the  the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). When doing so the hope is to come out with a secured trademark in the principal register, however for some, Plan B might be the way to go when Plan A fails.

The Principal register is most commonly where trademarks are registered. These trademarks are distinctive and clearly set apart the corresponding product or business. Such trademarks are not merely descriptive and have satisfied the qualifications set by the USPTO. At times, certain trademarks, while almost ‘hitting the mark’ just don’t quite reach it. It is at these moments that the USPTO will recommend these “trademarks with potential,” to the supplemental register instead of denying registration altogether.

The supplemental register consists of trademarks that have the potential of reaching distinctive effectiveness and just need an extra something to drive out of the purely descriptive phase. While not the final goal, accepting amendment to the supplemental register does present advantages. You may still bring forth suites of infringement in federal court. Your mark can be sighted by an examiner against similar marks looking to be registered and by being listed on the supplemental register your mark gains priority over other marks seeking registration at a later date. Another perk of accepting supplemental registration is the legality of using the ® mark rather than the ™ label. This grants you federal protection instead of the basic protection of common law. Furthermore it grants a more stable and legitimate aspect to your trademark.  Finally, after five years on the supplemental registration list, reapplication for principal registration is granted and having been on the supplemental list helps prove that your trade mark has gained distinctiveness. This will help secure your principal registration.

A few negative aspects of the supplemental register is that despite its step upward, it is not official. Supplemental registration does not grant exclusive rights to the registered owner. This means that the Department of Treasury cannot stop importation of infringement into the US, the mark does not automatically gain incontestability after five years and the mark is not truly valid until gaining principal registration.

Despite these few downfalls, having the protections the supplemental register provides, over no federal protections at all, may be a better path to follow. When Plan A fails, this Plan B is a good way to go to begin the securing and protection of your brand.

Article Reference:

Can Sharing a Web Link Lead to Copyright Infringement?

Most business and business savvy clients work in areas and on projects that involve regular, sometimes intensive, and often constant research.  Research is a constant!

And many people work from many places, researching at the office, at home or on the go. Many times this research involves the passing along of web links from one individual to another, and vice versa. Whether sharing news via e-mail, sync and data storage services, such as Drop Box, SkyDrive, Sugarsync,, and many others; collaborative web portals, Social Media Sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram;  we all use web links. They are easy to copy and paste and are so conveniently placed right in our address bar for easy access. We share these links all the time without a second thought. But is this legal?

Now a federal judge confirms that our actions are perfectly fine.

In a recent case, a plaintiff sued defendant for copyright infringement. The plaintiff claim was partially based on alleged improper use of web links, arguing that a web link provides the pathway to copyrighted material. The court found however that a web link does not itself contain copyrighted material and therefore does not infringe upon a copyrights owner’s rights under Section 106 of the Copyrights Act.

The hyperlink serves as a window through which one can view material, copyrighted or not.  Simply getting to the material presents no copyright infringement problem.   It is the steps taken after finding the material that present a mine field of challenges and potential trips.  Think twice ( or more) before downloading the material to your computer, or uploading it to a server.  As for merely sharing or clicking on a link, no harm done.

For now, we are free to continue our use of web link sharing without any copyright infringement fears.

Article Reference: