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What Good is a Trademark Registration on the Supplemental Register?

By Chuck Knull There are two "registers" for federal trademarks, the Principal Register and the Supplemental Register.  The Principal Register is what most everyone shoots for when they apply for a trademark registration.  A registration on the Principal Register has more substance--It carries an immediate presumption that the trademark is distinctive as used on the goods or services covered by the registration.   Presumptions are good things when you go to enforce your trademark. Some trademarks, however, are too descriptive to be allowed registration on the Principal Register.  In other words, the marks describe elements of the goods or services covered, without being the only way to describe such goods or services.  For example, "Cooperstown Wine and Cheese Shop" could be a descriptive trademark for a wine and cheese store in Cooperstown, New York (if New York law permitted wine and cheese to be sold in the same store, which, [...]

By | 2018-01-18T09:49:33+00:00 October 6th, 2017|Categories: |Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on What Good is a Trademark Registration on the Supplemental Register?

Protecting Beer Brands: A Trademark Strategy for Brewers

By Chuck Knull I have spent a great deal of time as a lawyer helping brewers keep their brands from encroachers.  There are numerous ways that the brand names and trade dress of one beer can cross over into the territory of another beer brand.  As a result, a bartender in a dimly lit bar may pick the wrong bottle out of the cooler for a patron, or a soused patron might slur out an order one brand when intending another. Things like this have plagued the larger brewers for ages. Hence, specially colored and shaped bottles, and distinctive cans are often used by them. Add to this the confusion of restaurants and pubs, which may have names close to the names of beers,  serving their own mini-brews and the problem gets bigger.  Now, with a multitude of local breweries growing and expanding in the U.S., the possibility is growing [...]

By | 2018-01-18T09:49:34+00:00 December 17th, 2013|Categories: |Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Protecting Beer Brands: A Trademark Strategy for Brewers

Should I Register a Bunch of Trademarks for My Products or Adopt a House Mark?

By Chuck Knull A “House Mark” is a trademark that is used to identify the source of a line of products rather than a single product. A company can have trademarks on each of its products and also have a trademark that appears on all its products. The latter is the House Mark. Trademarks began as signs on stores and identifying marks on products. One went to the Red Lion Tavern because one knew about and relied on its quality of bangers and mash and the strength of the tavern’s ales. If another Red Lion Tavern appeared in the village, the first tavern could sue to have the second tavern change its name. As consumer products came about, purchasers of cough syrup, for example, would look for product names they recognized and trusted. The names and labels on these products became trademarks. If someone else came along and tried to [...]

By | 2018-01-18T09:49:34+00:00 November 13th, 2013|Categories: |Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Should I Register a Bunch of Trademarks for My Products or Adopt a House Mark?

Why Should I Apply for a Copyright Sooner Rather Than Later?

By Chuck Knull Making your company's products or services appear special and different from the competition involves branding. Branding involves the use of trademarks to identify the source of products. Protecting your brand also requires careful attention to the protection available under copyright laws, as copyright protection can enhance trademark protection. The Federal Copyright Act protects the “original expression” of an idea or ideas when such expression is “fixed”, that is, when it is printed, painted, recorded or filmed. The ideas themselves are not protected by copyright. Anybody making or marketing consumer products must seriously consider registering copyrighted material such as the text and illustrations of a web site, posters, print advertising, website videos, infomercial recordings, the labels on the goods and its packaging, and any instructional or informational material packed with products or offered as handouts. The owner of a copyright has the right to prevent (by injunction) others [...]

By | 2018-01-18T09:49:34+00:00 November 13th, 2013|Categories: |Tags: , |Comments Off on Why Should I Apply for a Copyright Sooner Rather Than Later?