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5 Things to Consider When Creating a Trademark

When you’re coming up with a trademark, such as a brand name for your products or services, there are a few key points to consider. In other blog posts, I go into some of these points in a lot more detail, but for this post I wanted to pull the basic concepts together so you know on a high level what you should be thinking about. That said, here are 5 things to consider when creating a trademark: 1. Is it generic? A generic term is the common name for a type of good or service. Examples include “Pizza Shop”…

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on Registration of Immoral and Scandalous Trademarks

Note: try not to be scandalized, but this post contains bad language. You can determine for yourself whether or not it’s immoral. OK, read on… Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a ban on the registration of disparaging terms as trademarks. That decision, in the case Matal v. Tam, held that part of §1052(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO, or just PTO) from registering terms that are disparaging as trademarks, is unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. The Lanham Act is the U.S. Federal law that covers trademarks. On June…

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What Do RPG Streamers Need to Know About the Law?

Streaming role-playing games (like Dungeons & Dragons) has become a big business in recent years. What legal considerations do RPG streamers have to keep in mind as they launch and monetize their shows? What is RPG streaming? RPG streaming occurs when a group of people plays a role-playing game online for public consumption. Sometimes the streamers are all playing together in the same room; sometimes they’re remote from each other and playing together using video chat software (like Google Hangout). Streaming can be live or time-delayed (VOD) and can include both video and audio or just audio (the latter, essentially,…

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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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