Intellectual Property

USPTO Cancels Washington Redskins’ Trademark Registrations

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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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 6 2014: Secret Apps and Insider Trading; Microsoft’s Path Forward; Paper and the Importance of Registering Trademarks

Rising “Secret” Apps Could Affect Securities Laws Regarding Insider Trading

Apps that allow users to send anonymous and semi-anonymous messages may cause trouble for securities regulators looking to avoid the type of insider trading that has recently been in the news with the SAC saga. The app “Secret” was launched recently, and Silicon Valley startup rumors and more than occasional passive-aggressiveness seem to be among the most shared “secrets”. While some of the rumors were debunked, including the rumor that Evernote was going to be acquired, others, including that Google is planning to buy Squarespace, have yet to be debunked.

These anonymous sharing apps, including Snapchat, Whisper, Secret, among others, have varying degrees of anonymity, especially given recent data breaches, but the potential...

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Intellectual Property

Trademarks: Should You Register at the State or Federal Level?

Businesses often are faced with the choice of whether to register a trademark or service mark with a state or the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It is well known that state registrations tend to be less expensive and often take less time to apply for and receive confirmation that the mark has been registered. However, there are key benefits to registering your trademark with the USPTO. Today’s post highlights those key benefits of federally registered trademarks and service marks, and provides helpful resources for registering your trademark at the state and federal level.

The Lanham Act First, let’s start with the basics. Under the Lanham Act, a person who obtains a federal registration that predates another person’s use of...

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Intellectual Property

Trademark Protection: Background and Basics of the Lanham Act

The Lanham Act is the primary federal trademark statute of law in the U.S. The Act prohibits trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false advertising (among other things). It’s name is derived from its creator, Representative Fritz G. Lanham of Texas, and the Act was passed into law by President Truman on July 5, 1946. The purpose of the Lanham Act is to protect trademarks so as to avoid consumer confusion and help consumers identify the source of particular goods or services.

How to Prevail on a Lanham Act Trademark Claim To prevail, the plaintiff must prove: (1) that it has a protectable ownership interest in the mark; and (2) that the defendant’s use of the mark is likely to cause consumer confusion....

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Intellectual Property

Crash Course on Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property law is broken down into four main areas: trademark, copyright, trade secret, and patent.

This post provides a basic explanation of each area of intellectual property, and simple steps you can take to protect your intellectual property:


Trademarks and service marks are protected under state and federal law. Logos, company names, product names, and slogans are some of the common marks that are protected under the Lanham Act (the federal statute governing trademarks). There are two primary categories of trademarks: plain-text marks (or word marks) and design marks. An example of a plain-text mark is “Nike”, and an example of a design mark is the Nike Swoosh.


What rights do trademark holders have?

A trademark holder has the right to exclude others from...

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