Six Tips for Avoiding a USPTO Trademark Office Action

CMRS Law Trademark

Previously, I wrote about two important considerations to keep in mind when selecting a trademark: (1) avoid creating a likelihood of confusion with a pre-existing trademark and (2) select a legally strong mark. In addition to those two considerations, there are several other issues to keep in mind if you want to register your mark with the United States Patent …

Should I Sign a Separation Agreement?

CMRS Law Employment Law

For Employees Like the answer to most legal questions, it depends.  The legal reason your employer is offering you a separation (or severance) agreement is to secure a legal release of almost every legal claim you may have against it.  In exchange for a certain amount of severance pay, your employer achieves a sense of finality surrounding the termination in …

Do I Need an Attorney to Register a Trademark?

CMRS Law Trademark

As a trademark attorney that has filed multiple trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), I can tell you that this article should really be entitled “Do I Want to Maximize My Chances of Actually Getting My Trademark Registered While Reducing My Chances of Losing my Nonrefundable Filing Fee or Incurring Additional Costs?” Unfortunately, that title …

If An Online Photo Does Not Have a © or a Watermark, Can I Use It?

CMRS Law Common Questions, Copyright

Probably not.  There is a common misconception that if a photograph does not have the little ©, or some sort of watermark designating the picture as belonging to someone else, it is not protected by copyright law and is free for the taking.  That is simply not true.  Copyright protection attaches the moment an author fixes a form of creative expression …

Stopping Cyber-Squatters with the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP)

CMRS Law Internet Law, Trademark

Imagine a website pops up with your business’s name in the domain (or a common misspelling of your name).  The page starts to show up on the front page of Google when customers search for your business and upon first glance looks like your website, easily confusing your customers.  Maybe the purported owner of this new domain contacts you offering …

Is Your Business Running an Illegal Lottery?

CMRS Law Government Compliance

Many businesses run contests or sweepstakes as a way to promote the business and engage customers.  If done properly, these promotions can be a great way to generate sales.  However, if a contest or sweepstakes is not run correctly, it could be considered a lottery.  Lotteries, unless state-run, are illegal in every state and could subject your business to civil …

The Business Name I Want to Use Doesn’t Show Up in a Trademark Search. Am I Free to Use It?

CMRS Law Trademark

No.  Unlike patent rights, trademark protection does not only arise from registration.  Most trademark protection begins when the trademark is used in commerce.  When your business starts selling a product under a particular name, you are afforded some trademark protection. Who Has Priority in a Name? Priority in a trademark attaches on a first use basis.  If your business starts …

Five Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Franchise in Ohio

Elliott Stapleton Contracts

  Starting a franchise can be both exciting and overwhelming. In the evaluation stage, you will receive a lot of information, interviewed by the franchisor (the company that sells the franchise to you) and presented with a very large packet of legal documents. This article covers the five questions to ask during your initial discussions with the franchisor. The answers to …

What Exactly is Copyright Infringement?

CMRS Law Copyright

Many people throw around the term “copyright infringement” without fully understanding the legal elements of a copyright infringement claim.  Given the ease at which modern day media can be copied, especially over the internet, every person and business should have a clear understanding of copyright infringement so that they can protect themselves and their intellectual property. When Infringement Occurs When …

Who is Liable for Infringing Media on My Website: Me or My Web Designer?

CMRS Law Copyright, Internet Law

Both of you can be held liable.  As the end user that financially benefits from your website and because you have the ability to direct and supervise your web designer, you are liable for any copyright infringement committed by your web designer.  This is true whether or not you or your web designer actually knew that he or she infringed …