Trademark. Trademark Registration.


Trademark. Trademark Registration.

Trademark. Trademark Registration.

Trademark. Trademark Registration.

Have you recently filed a trademark registration on your own? Or have you filed a trademark through a non-lawyer website like Legal Zoom? If so, you should know that there are important trademark deadlines you must adhere to, or you risk losing that valuable asset called a federally registered trademark. Trademark registration is more than just filing.

If you are working with an experienced trademark attorney, who remains the attorney of record on file, they will make you aware of those critical deadlines. If not, you are on your own. And make no mistake about it, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) will not tell you when it’s time to file a document—it’s not their job. It’s yours. And if you miss a deadline, you will lose your application, and if you have registered your trademark and miss a deadline, you will lose that trademark. Period.
When I am working with a client throughout the entire application process, I make sure the client knows what is going on. Once the trademark is registered, I educate my clients as to everything they must do to protect their valuable asset. If it is a client I enjoyed working with, even after I am no longer the attorney of record, I keep them aware of filing deadlines.

Here are a few of the important dates and deadlines you must know about:

  1. A Section 1(a) filing basis applies when you are currently using your trademark in commerce with all the goods/services in your application. You must provide the date you began using your trademark and a specimen (real-use sample) showing how the mark is actually being used with the goods/services.
  2. A Section 1(b) filing basis applies when you have not yet started using your trademark. You must use the trademark and pay an additional fee prior to registration.
  3. A Section 44(d) filing basis applies when you have filed for the mark in a foreign country.
  4. And so many more. Check out the US Patent & Trademark Office website for all of the important deadlines you MUST be aware of.

It is better to do it right the first time. But, if you find you have made a mistake and need help cleaning up the mess, feel free to contact me for a complimentary consult to determine if there is a fit. Don’t worry, there is no attorney/client relationship established during the complimentary consult. You are free to take advantage of the information I give you and choose someone else to work with.
Bottom line, you want to protect your asset. It is better to file and meet necessary deadlines correctly the FIRST TIME, instead of filing your application incorrectly and having to respond to a USPTO Office Action. But if you didn’t do it right and need assistance, feel free to give me a call.
I’m Attorney Francine Ward, helping creative entrepreneurs and business owners protect their valuable content, products, brand, and their business. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, LinkedIn, and on my website. Until next time, think protection!











Podcasting. Patent Infringement. Podcasts.


Podcasting. Patent Infringement. Podcasts.

Patent Infringement.

Patent Infringement.

Once there was only radio. Then came television. Now there is podcasting. For years, these two outlets were the only technology available to the public from which people could tune into audio and video feeds, e.g. music radio, talk radio, TV news and talk shows, etc. Of course, the digital age of technology has broadened the options for information and entertainment. One such technology is podcasting.

Podcasts are defined as digital audio or video files that are produced in a series. People can subscribe to these files, and through podcatcher software, receive them to their computer, Smartphone or iPod. Today millions of podcasts are downloaded just in the Unites States alone. So, who invented Podcasting, and is the technology protected by a patent? A new argument on the horizon is a claim for patent infringement.

Adam Carolla. Podcaster.

These questions may soon be answered in a court of law after a Texas based company, Personal Audio, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against comedian and television personality, Adam Carolla. Carolla, who claims to be the world’s largest podcaster, was just the latest to be sued for infringing on the “podcasting patent” by Personal Audio.

Shortly after the company filed the suit, they turned around and dropped it. Carolla claims they dropped the suit when they realized he didn’t make much money as they thought from the podcasts. He claims they (Personal Audio) troll the Internet for large podcasters who they believe make large sums of money, then they file the infringement suit.

Carolla has decided that he won’t let Personal Audio drop the suit, instead, he plans on defending the suit and countersuing for damages. He states that he is taking up the fight for all podcasters and believes that the patent they hold should be rescinded.

Personal Audio. Podcasting.

Personal Audio, a company that once transcribed magazine articles to cassette tapes, filed for the podcasting patent by claiming they invented a “system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence.” They were granted the patent in 2012. The company claims they invented podcasting back in 1996. Opponents dismiss the claim by asserting that the first podcasts began three years earlier in 1993.

Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet freedom advocacy group, has petitioned the U.S. Patent Office to review the patent and have it invalidated. They assert that podcasting was already in existence in 1993, three years before Personal Audio claimed to have invented it. Earlier this year the Patent Trial and Appeal Board stated that the advocacy group’s petition had a “reasonable likelihood of success.”
The trial is scheduled to begin this September in a Texas court. This case likely to have a large impact on how and what people will be able to access from the Internet, so stay tuned.

I’m Attorney Francine Ward, and what do you think? Join the conversation on my Facebook Law Fan Page, my Twitter Law Page, my Google+ Page, or in one of my LinkedIn Groups.

Will. Trust. Whitney Houston. Asset Protection.


Will. Trust. Asset Protection.

Will. Trust. Whitney Houston.

Will. Trust. Whitney Houston.

Just because you’re famous and have money does not mean you make smart decisions. That is especially the case, when it comes to the protection of your business affairs. Making sure your will, trust, and other estate documents are in order should be uppermost on your to-do list.

Whitney Houston. Will.

In 1993, Whitney Houston had her will drafted. That was the last time she looked at it. At the time, her intent was to ensure the protection and long term financial security of her daughter, Bobbi Kristina. She never amended her will, even though her situation changed dramatically over the subsequent 20 years. Perhaps drugs got in the way of her thinking, perhaps she couldn’t make the time, or perhaps Bobby Brown distracted her. Whatever the reason, she did not tend to the business of her multimillion dollar estate. Among other things, Whitney Houston left the bulk of her vast estate to Bobbi Kristina—a minor.

Now, Whitney Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, has filed a petition with probate court to modify the terms of Whitney’s will. This move is to protect Bobbi Kristina from vultures and other scammers waiting to collect a big payday from a naive and vulnerable 19-year old. By changing the terms of the will, Cissy believes Whitney’s true intent will be realized.

Takeaways. Significant Life Events.

What’s the takeaway here? DON’T make the same mistake that Whitney and countless others have made—PROTECT YOUR ESTATE NOW! Contact your attorney whenever a major event takes place in your life or 5 years have lapsed, whichever comes first. Here are a few of the significant life events that could trigger your need to change your estate documents, will, trust, power of attorney, living will, assignment of assets:

  1. Get married
  2. Get divorced
  3. Legal separation
  4. Purchase a new home or any big ticket asset
  5. Go into business with someone
  6. Have a child or adopt a child
  7. Relocate to a new state/country
  8. You desire to change your beneficiary
  9. Come into a large sum of money
  10. and, the list goes on

I’m Attorney Francine Ward and I say, PROTECT YOUR ASSETS before it is too late. If you need a lawyer to review existing documents or prepare estate documents, feel free to contact through my website, my Legal Facebook Fan Page, my Legal Twitter Page, or through LinkedIn.

Trademark. Registered Trademark. Trademarks.


Trademark. Registered Trademark.  

Trademark. Registered Trademark.

Trademark. Registered Trademark.

Today, I looked at 10 different websites, paying special attention to how they handled their trademark. I was surprised to see that all but two did not correctly show their trademark. And, I was even more surprised, when I did a quick search to discover that 5 of the 10 trademarks were cancelled.

Are you one of the tens of thousands of people who have a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office? A distinctive word, name, phrase, design, or logo, which distinguishes your product or service from those of someone else? If so, you probably invested a lot of time and/or money making sure it was done correctly—right? At least I hope so. If not, regardless of what I say here, you may have a different set of problems to deal with later.

Oftentimes people go to trademark mills (e.g., LegalZoom), where they can “arguably” get a correctly filed registration for little to no money. Unfortunately, many folks don’t discover the inaccuracy of that, until it is too late. They go along thinking they have a valid trademark. Then one day, when trying to stop an alleged infringer, they discover things are not as they appear—there is no protection to be had.

Trademark Post Formalities.

Did you know that in order for you to keep and protect your valuable trademark, there are certain things you absolutely must do? In the world of trademarks, we call them post-registration formalities. Among the actions you must take after you receive your trademark registration are:

  1. Use it. Use your trademark the way you said you were using it, when you filed Statement of Use
  2. Use it correctly. Make sure your trademark stands out.
  3. Use the appropriate trademark symbol correctly.
  4. Monitor your trademark. Make sure no one else is using your trademark without your permission.
  5. File Declaration Continued of Use. Between years 5-6, make sure you file this document. If you miss this deadline, your registration will automatically cancel, and no one will tell you.
  6. Renew your trademark. A trademark lasts forever, so long as you File Declaration Continued of Use. Between years 5-6, make sure you file this document. If you miss this deadline, your registration will automatically cancel, and no one will tell you.

“I didn’t know that! No one ever told me,” some of you may be saying. Well maybe that’s true, and maybe not. Sometimes clients don’t pay attention, and sometimes they don’t understand the importance of these steps. I know for myself, every time I register a trademark for a client I discuss how they should use the mark. Not only do I discuss the steps they should take, but give them a cheat sheet with explicit instructions.

Protect your registered trademark today. Use! Monitor it! Renew!

Trademark Attorney. Francine Ward.

I’m Attorney Francine Ward. If you need help, give me a call. Join my conversation on my Law Facebook Fan Page, my Law Twitter Page, in one of my Google+ Circles, or in one of my LinkedIn Group discussions.

Copyright. Trademark.


 Copyright or Copywrite? Copyright? Trademark?

Copyright. Trademark.

Copyright. Trademark.

I recently received a question that relates to copyright and trademark law.  I thought would make the basis of a good blog post.  So I could make a point, I am inserting the exact words provided by the person  who presented the question.


“I would like to get info about copywriting my logo. Not sure if it should be copywritten or trademarked. Would you explain the difference. It is not a symbol, but an acronym.”

First, as with everything I post, this is NOT legal advice. It is meant to provide useful general copyright information, only.


Second, when speaking about intellectual property and the topic of copyright, the correct spelling is “copyright”, not “copywrite”. Copywrite refers to the writing of copy or text. A copywriter is a person who writes copy for a website, an advertisement, etc. When you register your content, such as a book, article, photograph, website content, or image, you copyright it.

Trademark? Copyright?

Next, there is a distinction between a copyright and a trademark. And although both are forms of intellectual property, they each are distinctly different types of protection.

Copyright – is a legal form of protection afforded to any original work of art or authorship that has been reduced to a tangible form. Examples again are books, articles, eBooks, photos, videos, poems, jewelry, and choreographed works. For more information on copyright, take a look at this page and check out the U.S. Copyright Office website.

Trademark – a name, word, phrase, logo, or a combination of those things that identifies the source of a product or a service. Examples are Nike, Microsoft, Apple, the golden arches, the Nike swoosh symbol. For more information on trademark, take a look at this page and check out the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website.

If your logo is important to you, and if it is at the core of your business, you should speak with a lawyer on a one to one basis and get some specific legal advice regarding your situation. Any information provided here is purely general informational and not legal advice.

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward providing you with useful information to help you protect what’s yours. If you have a question you want me to answer in general terms, feel free to post the question. If you want specific legal advice, feel free to contact me for a scheduled appointment. You can also reach me through my Legal Facebook Page, my Legal Twitter Page, one of my Google+ Circles, or through one of my LinkedIn Group discussion.