A successful trademark management program is critical to the success of a business and its corporate brand. We take a personal approach to trademark and brand management- we treat these valuable assets as if they were our own. We recognize that trademark and brand management and protection involves more than simply prosecuting discrete trademark applications. We work with clients to develop brand strategies and shape marketing messages that exploit existing goodwill in the marketplace and maximize the value and growth of their trademarks and brands.
Trade dress is a subcategory of trademark law that refers to the overall image (look and feel) of a product or service that identifies its source and distinguishes it from those of others. Trade dress protection applies to product packaging, design, or configuration of goods. For services, trade dress protection applies to the “total visual image” such as a restaurant’s décor, menu, layout, and style of service. A company’s trade dress can be extremely valuable by distinguishing its goods and services from competitors and attracting customers to its brand.
A comprehensive trademark portfolio management strategy not only includes securing rights through registration, but also includes a well-designed enforcement program. This includes monitoring the registration activities of third parties and taking necessary action through trademark cancellation and opposition proceedings to ensure continued protection of trademarks and brands. And even when steps are taken to avoid conflict when registering a company’s trademarks, another party could object to such registration through a trademark opposition or trademark cancellation proceeding.
A trademark is used to identify and to distinguish the goods and services of one party from those of another. Companies invest significant resources to establish recognized trademarks and brands that create enduring and widespread demand for their goods and services. A company’s trademarks therefore provide tremendous value for building a strong business identity and setting it apart from the competition.
A business’s trademarks and brands are among its most valuable assets. Through strategic trademark licensing arrangements, brand owners can not only increase brand awareness but also generate significant income. Our trademark attorneys help clients formulate, implement, and execute worldwide trademark and brand optimization and protection strategies. We assist trademark owners/licensors, as well as licensees, in structuring licensing arrangements to leverage valuable trademarks and brands and secure their competitive advantage.
Receiving a trademark cease-and-desist letter can be unsettling. The letter claims that a trademark infringes another trademark and demands stopping use of a mark that the company believed it had the right to use. The letter might even threaten a trademark infringement lawsuit if the use is continued. Or, worse, a company receives notice that a trademark infringement lawsuit has already been filed against the company. The importance of proper a response cannot be underestimated. Responding the wrong way can adversely affect not only the outcome but also the company’s bottom line.
A company’s trademarks are the DNA that makes up its identity and sets it apart from the competition. As such, proper protection of a company’s trademarks requires focused and proactive measures. Trademark registration is an integral part of such measures. However, the trademark registration process can be extensive and complex, and it requires attention even after the initial trademark registration.
Although no federal right of publicity exists, per se, many states have right of publicity laws that regulate how others can use the name, likeness, signature, photograph, gestures, mannerisms, or other recognizable aspects of people’s personas for commercial gain. This right allows both celebrities and non-celebrities alike to protect against the unauthorized commercial use of their image. Additionally, it allows individuals the ability to retain control of the way that they purpose their image.
Even after a trademark’s initial registration, the trademark holder needs to pursue continual enforcement of the mark to prevent infringement. Companies’ intellectual property portfolios are continually at risk of being coopted for others’ purposes, and registration does not necessarily prevent them from committing infringement. Enforcement is also important to prevent loss of rights in a trademark.
Counterfeit goods cause billions of dollars of losses each year to brand owners. Often, the more successful a brand, product, or service becomes, the more it is targeted by counterfeiters. In addition to direct monetary losses, trademark counterfeiting can lead to harm to reputation and goodwill, which can be difficult to repair. Thus, a company’s reputation hinges on its ability to protect its brand and to prevent misuse of its trademarks through counterfeiting.
Cybersquatting is the act of registering, trafficking, or using an Internet domain name in bad faith, specifically with the intent to profit from the goodwill generated from the trademark of another. Cybersquatters generally rely on generating profits from the sale of domains to trademark owners at an inflated price. Cybersquatters may also register domains that are not identical to the trademark in question, but are similar enough in spelling to persuade the trademark owner that acquisition of that domain is necessary as well. This practice is known as typosquatting.
Uniform domain-name dispute-resolution policy (UDRP) proceedings are legal actions brought for the resolution of disputes regarding the registration of Internet domain names. UDRP is a process established by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and is a common method used in the resolution of disputes over domain names.