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What Does It Mean to “Trademark” A Brand?


What does it mean when someone asks me to “trademark” a brand for them? First, of course, you need to know what a “trademark” is (for a review, check out my page What Is A Trademark?). Basically, it’s anything that identifies you or your company as the source of goods and services. Common trademarks include brand names, business names, logos, and taglines. Typically, when someone reaches out to me to assist with trademark protection, what they’re thinking about is filing an application to register their mark as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. From my perspective…

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Trademark Office Delays Explained (and why China is involved)


Why is the United States Patent and Trademark Office taking so long to respond to trademark filings? The USPTO’s goal is for new trademark applications to be reviewed within 2.5-4.5 months after the date of filing. I’ve practiced trademark law for 17 years, and for most of that time they have been reasonably good at hitting that target. However, per their Trademarks Dashboard, the currently wait time for initial review of trademarks is 6 months, and I’ve seen some applications wait for review for longer than that. What’s the delay all about? As of June 2021, according to the USPTO,…

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Website Terms of Use and Privacy Policy: When Is It Time to Update?


If you have a website or an app, you (hopefully) know that you need to have Terms of Use and a Privacy Policy. The Terms of Use (also referred to as TOU, Terms and Conditions, or Terms of Service) is a contract that users enter into when they use your website/app or any of the features or services found therein. The TOU can limit your liability, set out who owns what, and make it clear what happens if there’s a breach, among other things. A Privacy Policy details what type of information you collect from your users and how you…

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DeFi & Crypto Trademarks


What do people in the DeFi and cryptocurrency space need to know about trademarks? I’ve written about cryptocurrency and related topics before: see Trademarks and the Blockchain (2018) and NFTs and Copyright Law (2021). Even people who have been skeptical about cryptocurrency are beginning to identify use cases. For example, George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen recently wrote in Bloomberg: “After many years of doubt and uncertainty, a killer app has finally been found.” Cowen goes on: The core use case for crypto is called DeFi, a recently coined abbreviation for “decentralized finance.” DeFi doesn’t have a formal definition, but it…

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