Patent Basics: what is patentable?

The federal statute that governs what is patentable is, 35 U.S.C. Section 101 which reads: “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent…”  According to the USPTO’s website that includes “practically everything that is made by man [or … Continue reading

What’s The Difference Between A Trade Mark And A Service Mark

A common question that comes up when trying to protect a brand name or logo relates to the difference between trademarks and service marks.  To what extent is there a difference, and what are the rules for filing each?   The short answer is that there is really no difference between a trade mark application … Continue reading

Can My Website Be A “Specimen” For Showing “Use In Commerce” Of My Trademark?

In order to perfect rights in a trademark application, the applicant must show that the trademark is being “Used in Commerce.”  Use in Commerce means that the mark must be used in the sale or transport of goods or the rendering of services in “interstate” commerce. For goods, the mark must appear on the goods (e.g., tags or … Continue reading

Trademark Questions: What’s the Difference Between the Principal Register and the Supplemental Register?

The US trademark register has two sections: the Principal Register and the Supplemental Register.  Most trademarks are registered in the Principal Register.  The Supplemental register is used for non distinctive marks that may become distinctive (“acquire secondary meaning,”) but have not yet done so. What is secondary meaning?  Secondary meaning, or “acquired distinctiveness,” is when a non-distinctive … Continue reading

The 2 Flavors of Trademark Applications

A common question of inventors, developers and business owners is when to register a trademark.  Many carry the misconception that it is not possible to register a trademark until the product or service is sold.  Actually, it is proper to file a trademark application under two circumstances:   Use In Commerce: The mark is being used … Continue reading

What Are Design Patents?

In short, a design patent covers the way something looks.  The U.S.P.T.O. has this to say about design patents: “A design [patent] consists of the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an article of manufacture. Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent application may relate to … Continue reading