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Trademarks may need to be assigned during a business acquisition or reorganization. Today’s post discusses how to transfer ownership of trademarks.

There are a variety of reasons why you may want to transfer ownership of your federally registered trademark (or acquire ownership of a trademark). For example, trademarks may need to be assigned during a business acquisition or as part of a reorganization. Today’s post discusses how to transfer ownership of trademarks and why you should ensure you transfer your trademarks correctly.

Documenting the Trademark Transfer with a Transfer (Assignment) Agreement

Transferring your trademark includes two major steps: documenting the transfer between the parties and then documenting the transfer with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Before you can document your transfer with the USPTO, you’ll need to put together a trademark transfer (or assignment) agreement. This document will lay out the terms…

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USPTO seal


Today's post includes the basic Washington state beer labeling requirements you should have in mind as you begin brainstorming labels for your brew.

You’ve perfected your recipe, bottled your beer, and now it’s time to slap labels on the bottles. Before creating your labels, you’ll need to know the Washington State beer labeling requirements . Below are the basic guidelines you should have in mind as you begin brainstorming labels for your brew.

Washington’s Rules Versus the Federal Labeling Requirements

If you comply with the federal labeling requirements under the TTB regulations, you will comply with most of Washington’s labeling requirements. However, Washington’s Liquor Control Board (LCB) has put in place a few extra regulations to be aware of.

You must obtain a federally-approved label, or a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA), before you are allowed to sell your beer in Washington. You must submit a copy of…

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Washington Beer Labels


In this post, we will be discussing the importance of protecting your beer trademarks.

Today we continue our Brewery Law 101 series and discuss the importance of protecting your brewery or distillery trademarks.

You’ve probably been told countless times that you need to “register your trademark.” Perhaps you haven’t been told why you should federally register your beer trademarks, brewery trademarks, and distillery’s trademarks. Today’s post highlights the major benefits attached to federally registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).

Common Law Trademark Rights

Trademark rights exist the minute you use a trademark “in commerce”—basically the first time you put your brewery’s name, logo, slogan, etc. in front of the public. These automatic trademark rights are considered common law rights, which means that the trademark rights are developed through use and are not governed…

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Brewery Trademarks


This article discusses a trademark dispute between Seattle's Von Trapp's beer hall and the von Trapp Family.

What do beer, bocce and Bavarian singers have in common? Apparently a trademark dispute as of last month.

The famous Capitol Hill bar and restaurant Von Trapp’s was recently persuaded to change its name at the request of a member of the Trapp family of “Sound of Music” fame. The new name for the 10,000-square-foot space in Capitol Hill is Rhein Haus, as homage to the longest river running through Bavaria. Everything else about the vast beer and bocce hall will stay the same.

The owners, Deming Maclise and James Weimann, said in a press release they had “vetted the original name and got the federal trademark before opening in early 2013.” There appeared to be no issues with the name at first….

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Trademark Dispute


When registering your trademark, you are required to assign a filing basis. Today’s post highlights the how to choose the right trademark filing basis.

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, if you intend to build value behind any company trademark—for example, a name, slogan, or logo—then it is important to protect those trademarks. Filing for federal registration with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an important step to protect those trademarks. And when you file your trademark application with the USPTO, you are required to assign a filing basis to your trademark. In today’s post, we’ve highlighted the 1(a) and 1(b) trademark filing bases and how the two differ.

1(a) Basis: Actual Use in Commerce

As the name suggests, trademark applicants can file under the 1(a) basis only if their trademark is currently being used in commerce—this is trademark lingo for “you are actively using…

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Registered Trademark


This article discusses trademarking a hashtag and Dez Bryan'ts "ThrowUpTheX".

We’ve discussed the intersection of sports and law a number of times on this blog, particularly in the context of trademarks and other intellectual property, and today our topic is Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Dez Bryant, his “ThrowUpTheX” brand, and his attempt at trademarking a hashtag, #throwupthex.

For context, Dez Bryant is famous for “throwing up the X” after scoring touchdowns, which is when he puts his arms up in the air in the shape of an “X.” Dez has been seeking to capitalize on his famous move by creating a brand called “ThrowUpTheX,” which brand’s website can be seen here. While the “lifestyle brand” is relatively new, Dez has been using the hashtag #throwupthex for quite some time. In an effort to…

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Registering an international trademark in your business' potential countries of expansion is important, and this post explains the basics.

If your business plans to expand overseas (and perhaps even if it doesn’t), it would be wise to register your trademarks in potential countries of expansion in order to protect your brand. Today, we will be explaining how international trademarks work and the process to obtain them for your business.

The Madrid Protocol

The Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Protocol) is an international treaty that allows a trademark owner to seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filing a single application, called an “international application.” The International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization, in Geneva, Switzerland administers the international registration system.

The resulting “international registration” serves as…

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International Trademark


Understanding the reason why investors require founders to execute IP assignments is important when negotiating your rights as a founder of the company.

One of the first requests that investors make before investing in a company is that the founders (and all key employees) execute written intellectual property assignment agreements. These agreements make it so any intellectual property that is created by the founder for the company will be owned by the company, not the founder individually. Generally, this request does not lead to much tension or pushback from the founders. Still, understanding the reason for IP assignments is important when negotiating your rights as a founder of the company.

Why Investors are Concerned About IP Assignments

The following hypothetical illustrates why investors are concerned with the company (as opposed to the founder) owning the IP associated with the company’s products or services.

Two founders, John…

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Protecting IP


The USPTO cancelled six federal trademark registrations for the name of the Washington Redskins, ruling that the name is “disparaging to Native Americans”

Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six federal trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins name, ruling that the name is “disparaging to Native Americans” and thus cannot receive trademark protection under federal law, which prohibits the protection of offensive or disparaging language. “We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” the Trademark Trial and Appeal board wrote in its opinion.

For years now, pressure from various Native American groups has been placed on Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, to change the name of the team due to its connotation as a racial slur. After last week’s ruling by…

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Trademark Registration


Posting hyperlinks to copyrighted content is not direct copyright infringement of that content; some similar acts may create liability for your business.

Many types of businesses, namely those who operate blogs or otherwise deal in information, send links and post to copyrighted material. Many of these businesses are aware that merely posting a link to copyrighted material is not direct infringement of the copyright in that content; indeed, many of these businesses make a living off the advertising on their pages, which pages essentially offer as their only value a link to copyrighted material. This article is an attempt to identify the limits of the rule that posting a link to copyrighted material is not direct infringement, and to help indicate where pitfalls may lay. 

The General Rule

A federal court in New York  recently held that sending an email with…

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Copyright Infringement