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Is a Webpage “Use in Commerce” for Trademark Purposes?

In order to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, you need to show that the trademark has been used in interstate commerce*. (Interstate commerce means between states.) So what counts as “use in commerce” is a big question in trademark law. Of course, many businesses are primarily or entirely online these days. So often the best way to show the USPTO that you’re using your mark in commerce is simply to take a screenshot of your website. But does that always work? A recent case reminds us to be careful about the webpage or your…

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$150 Million Peloton Lawsuit Shows How Companies May Have Unexpected IP Liability

Peloton is the manufacturer of a wildly popular home exercise bike that includes the ability to stream exercise classes. The company is heading towards an IPO at a roughly $8 billion valuation, so it’s safe to say this product – and the streaming service – is a hit. So is Peloton primarily a company that manufactures and sells fitness products, or are they an entertainment/media company? Businesses that are entering the market with products that include a streaming media component need to think of themselves as being in both worlds. In March 2019, several major music publishers filed a lawsuit…

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U.S. Supreme Court Says You Need a Copyright Registration to Sue for Copyright Infringement

While the rest of the country engages in endless battles over the Supreme Court, the Justices themselves recently got together and rendered a unanimous verdict: in order to sue someone for copyright infringement, you need a copyright registration which has been officially issued by the United States Copyright Office. The relevant part of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §411(a), states that “no civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until . . . registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title.” That sounds pretty straightforward, right? It…

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Can a Trademark Application Be Expedited?

There are many benefits to owning a trademark that’s been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, trademark applicants are often frustrated with how long it takes to enjoy those benefits. This is because the USPTO takes a long time to process and register trademarks. However, there are some circumstances in which the trademark registration process can be expedited. When people ask me “How long will it take for me to obtain a trademark registration?“, I usually give an estimate of 9 months. Sometimes it goes a bit faster, sometimes the process takes much longer. This…

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