Amazon recently launched what they call the Amazon Brand Registry which allows sellers selling products under their own unique brand to register that brand and claim ownership of it. There are several advantages to registering which isn’t the focus of this article, but basically if someone sells product under your brand, you can tell Amazon to remove it since you own that brand. The key though, is in order to register your brand in the Amazon Brand Registry, you must have a trademark registered with the US Patent & Trademark Office and more importantly, the trademark must be a standard character mark. Many sellers trying to register their mark have been rejected by Amazon because their trademark is not a standard character mark. Continue Reading
When you apply for a patent application, your invention is compared to prior art. If the patent office examiner assigned to your patent application considers your invention too similar to prior art, the patent examiner may decide to reject your patent application. So what is prior art? Prior art is anything in the public that is already known. This could be existing patents that were filed before you, but it does not have to be. Prior art could be patent applications that were rejected or pending, or it could even be a publication, journal, or website.
A patent search should be performed prior to filing a patent application. First, it tells you how likely a patent application will be approved for your invention. You don’t want to spend time and money on a patent application if the chances of approval are low. Second, it gives you an opportunity to work around existing inventions and increase your patentability. By seeing inventions that are similar to yours, you have the opportunity to improve upon those other inventions and increase your invention uniqueness. You are then able to file a patent application for the most unique and improved version of your invention, increasing your chances of patent approval.
A trademark class is a category in which a trademark is put into. Each class covers certain similar goods or services which the trademark covers. For example, class 25 covers clothing. If you apply for a trademark and tell the trademark office that your trademark will be used to represent shirts, for example, your trademark will be put into class 25. You can potentially get a trademark for a name that someone already has a trademark for, if you apply for a different class.
There are 45 trademark classes which help the US Trademark Office group trademarks into what goods or services they cover. Here we list them all.
A patent filing date is the date the Patent Office acknowledges as the date you applied for a patent on your invention. It is important because it establishes who should get the patent first, or what we call priority. Who has the first priority to get a patent for an invention if two people apply for a patent application on the same or similar invention? That is determined by who has the earlier filing date. However, the patent filing date of your patent application could be different from the date you actually filed your patent application, resulting in the difference between the actual filing date versus the effective filing date.
A trademark is a word, phrase, slogan, logo, or symbol that represents your product or company. It is an identifier of source, where if someone sees your trademark they will know that the product or service labeled with your trademark is coming from your company and not from somebody else. Let’s study Coca-Cola’s trademarked logo to learn more about what is a trademark.
It is a fact that there is no such thing as an “international patent” where one patent gives patent rights for all countries. This is because each country has their own patent office, laws, and jurisdiction. As such, to get patent rights in each country, you need apply for a patent in each country. An exception to this is that some countries have a consolidated application such as the European Union, for example. The main point is you still need to apply for a patent in each country you want patent rights is, there is no one patent that covers all countries. The closest thing, however, is the PCT Patent Application, properly termed the PCT Application. Importantly, the PCT Application is not a patent yet. It is better understood as a place holder, or time extender, to hold your place in line with international patent offices. Before the PCT application expires, you convert it into a full non-provisional patent application in each country you want to apply for patent rights in. So how does it work?
After filing a full non-provisional patent application to request 20 years of patent rights, it must be examined by the US Patent Office (USPTO) who will determine whether you are eligible for a patent. It is very possible to receive a preliminary rejection, what we call an office action. So what are the reasons why patents get rejected? Continue Reading
Why do startups need business plans? Every good entrepreneur knows that running business almost never goes as planned. Being able to adapt to changes a fundamental trait of being a successful entrepreneur. If a business startup hardly ever follows its plan, why is having a business plan still a fundamental necessity for any startup?