Archive | Trademarks

Use Based v. Intent-To-Use Trademark Applications

There are at least two types of federal trademark applications. The first is a use-based trademark application, also known as a section 1(a) application corresponding to the section of the law that authorizes the application. The second type is an intent-to-use application also known as a section 1(b) application.

Use-Based
A use-based application is one where the applicant is already using the mark in commerce at the time when the application for federal trademark registration is filed. Use of the Mark in commerce can include shipping or selling the goods with the mark or rendering services after advertising those services with the Mark.

Intent-to-Use Based
An intent-to-use application is one where the applicant has not used the mark in commerce or business at the time that the application is filed. …

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What Happens After A Federal Trademark Application is Filed?

TrademarkApplicationFiled-001Generally an applicant should not be too concerned with how long it takes to obtain a federal trademark registration at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Once your trademark application is filed, later filed applications by others are less of a concern. Further, in the United States, trademark rights accrue based not only on registration but also on use. Therefore simply by using your trademark in commerce you can begin to generate common law rights which you can assert even before you obtain a registration. This article will explain the process and the general timing of events after an application is filed.

Trademark Office Approval Is No Guarantee of Freedom to Use Mark
Approval of a trademark application by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) does not guarantee …

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Should I File for a State or Federal Trademark Registration?

FederalTrademark_vs_StateTrademarkNow that you determined that you need to seek a trademark registration. The next question is what type of registration should you seek: a registration from your state or registration from the federal government? The answer is the federal government in most cases and here’s why.

Costs
State trademark registrations cost less. The government fees for state registration depend on the state but tend to be less than a federal registration. For example, an Illinois state trademark application has a $10 registration fee. Whereas a federal trademark application at the United States Patent & Trademark Office has a fee in the range of $275 to $325 per class of goods/services declared in the application.

Geographic scope
The scope of protection provided by state trademark registration depends on the state, but …

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Seventh Circuit Questions Usefulness of Trademark Surveys

CrackerBarrelThe Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBOCS) is a well known chain of restaurants. Kraft is a well-known manufacturer of food products sold in grocery stores, including a variety of packaged cheeses. Some of the packaged cheeses are sold under the trademark “Cracker Barrel.” Kraft sued CBOCS when it discovered that CBOCS planned to sell food products, such as packaged hams, in grocery stores under its logo, “Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.” Kraft Foods v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, No. 13-2559 (7th Cir. 2013).

Kraft objected only to the sale of products under the mark “Cracker Barrel Old Country Store” in grocery stores. It did not object to the sale of such products in the CBOCS restaurants or online. The district court granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting CBOCS from …

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Trademark Application Problems: Wrong Owner Named

While the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides online forms that appear to make it easy to file a trademark application, there are several portions of the application that can trip up an inexperienced applicant. One of those areas is the owner portion. The USPTO requires that the correct owner of the trademark be specified in the application to register the trademark. This sounds easy but in many cases it is not, as will be shown below.

Individual and Partnership Owner Problems
Take the case of American Forests v. Barbara Sanders, 1999 TTAB LEXIS 529 (TTAB 1999). In this case, Barbara Sanders filed a trademark application to register LEAF RELEAF to be used with the goods of leaf bag equipment. The application named herself individually as the …

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Zynga Sues “Bang With Friends” Hookup App Maker for Trademark Infringement

Filed in the “good luck with a trademark fight based that name” department comes Bang With Friends, Inc. (BWF) and their casual sex app of the same name. The app is designed to discreetly connect a user with the user’s facebook friends who also have the Bang With Friends app and are interested in hooking up with them. The BWF website says “Your friends will never know you’re interested unless they are too.” Classy.

Not surprisingly, on July 30, 2013, Zynga filed a trademark infringement complaint against BWF alleging infringement of Zynga’s “with friends” trademarks. Zynga Inc. v. Bang With Friends, Inc., No. 13-cv-3517 (N.D.Cal., July 30, 2013). Below we’ll look at what can be learned about brand protection from this case, but first a background on the case.…

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