Following the September 16th, 2011 signing of the America Invents Act (AIA) into law, the USPTO issued a quick reference guide to the effective dates of patent prosecution rule changes under the AIA. A summary of the effective dates can be referenced below, and the full USPTO report can be accessed here.
GENERAL INFORMATION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
- California Secretary of State Business Resources
- California Business & Professions Code
- U.S. Small Business Administration
QUICK REFERENCES FOR ENTREPRENEURS
ESSENTIAL 411 FOR INVENTORS
- Figure Out if Your Invention is Patentable
- U.S. Patent & Trademark Office's Pro Se and Pro Bono Resources
- Summary of the Implications of the U.S.'s Shift to First-to-File
SCHEDULE OF U.S. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY FILING FEES
- Domestic Patent Application Fees
- Patent Cooperation Treaty Fees
- Trademark Application Fees
- Copyright Submission Fees
RESOURCES FOR E-LAWYERS
A registered trademark offers business value, legal protection, peace of mind, and the ability for your company to develop more fully. Many modern “do-it-yourself” legal programs boast that for a small fee any individual can draft and file their own legal documents, including trademark applications to be filed with the USPTO. There are, however, a number of circumstances - some obvious, others not - where it is strongly advisable to consult with a trademark attorney before expending any time or money on potentially valueless filings. For example, your mark may all ready be used by others - under Federal registration or not - and your application will be quickly denied, without a refund for fees paid.
- A trademark attorney can conduct a more comprehensive search and offer thorough advice on whether your mark is likely to gain registration.
- A trademark attorney can recommend alternatives to filing an application for a mark that is unlikely to gain registration.
- A trademark attorney can respond to USPTO office actions that are issued during the application process.
- A trademark attorney can help you protect your registered trademark by assisting with third-party infringers, licensing matters and ensuring that all strict deadlines are met for renewal dates.
Many YouTube users create a strong presence on the video-hosting website, establishing themselves and their username as a brand or even an empire. As YouTube has evolved into more than just a video site - arguably a career-launching and income-making platform - users logically may seek trademark protection of their usernames through federal registration with the USPTO. The company LegalZoom instructs readers that users may be able to gain trademark protection because “most companies that maintain a channel of proprietary videos include their trademark in their YouTube name or elsewhere on the page and within the account.” Ref. Merely associating a username with a media-hosting account as one's sought-after trademark, however, will likely fall short of the USPTO's "use in commerce" requirement. Federal trademark registration traditionally requires use of the trademark "in U.S. commerce" to obtain a registration. 15 U.S.C. § 1051. In December 2012, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) issued a final decision in regard to an applicant’s mark, which was his YouTube username. The TTAB affirmed their denial of a trademark registration to applicant Gary K. Rogowski, who sought to trademark his username, “Active Reasoner,” in International Class 9, audio recordings featuring music (In re Rogowski, 2012, TTAB, Serial No. 77083475). The applicant had included a screen image of his YouTube video and page as a part of his statement of use. The examining attorney first rejected the application, stating that a video is not an audio recording, as Class 9 includes, and that the audio was not clearly identified as downloadable, which would make it a part of commerce. Upon appeal, the TTAB did not address the examiner’s differentiation of audio and video recordings, but affirmed the rejection because the statement of use did not “show the required correspondence between the mark and the identified goods being offered for sale or transport in commerce,” mainly because there was no readily available “download” link for the consumer. Some YouTube videos do have “download” links on the page which reroute the watcher to iTunes or Amazon, but this is typically for more established artists with sales and mark use elsewhere. For the independent artist not yet in the iTunes music store or involved in any other use in commerce, LegalZoom’s statements regarding username trademark protection are misleading. The TTAB likened Mr. Rogowski’s use of the mark as “an on-line retail[er]...which fails to show a means for ordering the goods or service,” and cites a number of registration-refusal precedents. The Board also did not accept Mr. Rogowski’s argument that many consumers use outside software or tools to download YouTube videos, stating that the absence of a direct link to download on the statement of use’s face failed to meet the requirements. For YouTube users looking to gain trademark protection, creating use in commerce beyond posting videos is crucial. This can be accomplished through simply adding a “download” link to a YouTube page or creating an alternative webpage with purchasable items (albums, downloads, etc.), products (think merchandising), and other use in commerce, to cite in the statement of use. One link can make the entire difference in gaining the trademark protection.