Intellectual Property

The Trademark “Spectrum of Distinctiveness”

Trademarks are words, names, symbols and other branding that distinguish and identify the sources of goods or services. Not every trademark is created equal, however, and the trademark “spectrum of distinctiveness” affects the level of protection the trademark receives. Distinctive trademarks are rewarded because they help consumers understand which goods and services come from where, thereby ensuring that consumers know who they are dealing with and (at least in theory) receive consistent quality. Generic terms are not protected because, in essence, they would interfere with the public’s ability to effectively identify the source of different types of goods and services.

So what makes a trademark distinctive?

Distinctive trademarks share three qualities. First, they are different from other marks used to describe similar goods...

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Intellectual Property

USPTO Reduces Trademark Application Fees

Today, we bring good news to any of our readers who are planning on filing for a federal trademark. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently announced that it will be reducing trademark application fees and also will be adding a new type of trademark application.

Why were trademark application fees reduced and when will the new fees take effect?

As authorized by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, the USPTO amended its regulations to reduce certain trademark application fees in order to: (1) continue with an appropriate and sustainable funding model; (2) support strategic objectives relating to online filing, electronic file management, and workflow; and (3) improve efficiency for USPTO operations and customers. The new fees will take effect on...

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 4 2014: Seattle Startups Acquired; Candy Crush and Pinterest’s Trademark Battles Continue; Supreme Court, Congress, and Patents

Seattle Startups Sparq and Scout Acquired; Scout’s Board Sued

The Seattle Times announced Wednesday that “San Franciscans came to Seattle for a football game and left with a couple of startups.”

First, the online marketing startup Sparq was acquired by Yahoo and Sparq said it will discontinue its services. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but given that Sparq had raised only $1.7 million so far in several small financing rounds, the deal was relatively inexpensive for Yahoo.

Then, the same day, it was announced that San Francisco based revenue management company ServiceSource acquired Seattle area cloud-based analytics company Scout for $32 million in cash. Scout’s celebration of the deal is likely subdued as last week a group of Series A...

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