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商標專利

Talk But Protect Your Non-patented Invention

The idea is the heart of the invention. You, the inventor, then must be extremely careful about sharing your novel idea with other people, even with people who can provide assistance to take it from an abstract idea to a real product (i.e., prototype). You should be particularly careful when you haven’t submit your patent application for it yet.

 

Fortunately, there are ways to talk about your non-patented invention and protect it from being stolen by others.

 

Learn the Law

You have to learn the law that applies to patents even before you think about discussing your ideas with every Tom, Dick and Harry who cares to listen. You don’t have to go to law school to understand the patent laws but you should strive to learn the basics, such as the types of disclosures that you can and cannot make while still protecting your idea.

 

You may want to present your idea to a group of angel investors. You may also put it to beta testing so as to test it marketability and profitability. You may want to write a white paper about it. Regardless of what you want to do about your idea, you have to learn the law.

 

Have a Confidentiality Agreement

Also known as a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), a confidentiality makes it clear – and in writing, too, for good measure – between both parties that your invention should be treated as confidential information. As such, the third parties with the privilege to know about it must not disclose or release any information about it to others without your express permission. This is a good idea if you’re talking about it to potential investors, partners, and/or vendors.

 

But remember that an NDA isn’t acceptable to everybody, especially where large investment firms and corporations are concerned. Indeed, you may even be asked to sign an agreement wherein you agree that your idea isn’t a secret at all so the organization has legal protection from liability!

 

Avoid Online Sharing

If you’re the type who likes to share nearly everything about your life online, then you should start cutting back if you have a brilliant idea that can qualify for a patent. When you post your ideas online, whether it’s on your website or on a social media site, you’re exposing yourself to two threats.

 

First, your idea may be stolen by your connections – or by the friends of your friends up to the sixth degree – and then run with it. You may have come up with the novel idea and somebody else profited from or was recognized for it.

 

Second, you’re essentially giving the social media sites where your ideas were posted the right to use it anyway they want. Read Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, particularly on the topic of intellectual property, and you will understand.

 

The best thing to do: File a provisional patent for your invention!

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

The Possible Grounds For Trademark Refusal

Keep in mind that not every initial application for a trademark will be granted approval. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), specifically the examining attorney assigned to your trademark application, can issue an Office Action outlining the substantive reasons for trademark refusal of your application. This brings us to the question: What are the possible substantive reasons that your trademark application can be refused?

 

Likelihood of Confusion

Keep in mind that the USPTO will conduct a search of its database for conflicting marks only after an initial application has been filed. The examining attorney will determine whether your trademark being applied for has a similar one either still pending or already registered in the USPTO database. The process can take several months so patience is necessary.

 

The marks and the related products and/or services between your mark and the marks of other entities don’t have to be exactly the same for conflict or confusion to be considered. Instead, it’s considered sufficient if both the marks and their related products and/or services are similar in nature. The similarity should be such that consumers will likely mistakenly believe that both of them come from the same source.

 

The similarity can be on anything from sound and appearance to meaning. These can include phonetic equivalents, T.J. Chicken and Tee-Jay Chicken; similar appearance even when one uses another stylized; and meaning like “Lupo” and “Wolf” with both having similar images.

 

Merely Descriptive

The USPTO’s examining attorney will also refuse trademark registration if it merely describes a quality, ingredient, function, characteristic, purpose, or feature of the product and/or service. For example, the mark “Creamy Yogurt” or “World’s Best Bagels” are unacceptable because these merely describe the products instead of being a distinctive brand.

 

Deceptively Misdescriptive

The mark registration application will also be refused if the mark itself misdescribes a quality, ingredient, function, characteristic, purpose, or feature of the product and/or service; and the misrepresentation being conveyed is possible. Examples include “THC Tea” for tea-based beverages without THC.

 

Both the merely descriptive and deceptively misdescriptive grounds for refusal also applies to primarily geographical circumstances. There are several instances when it happens including:

 

  • The mark’s primary significance is a generally known geographic location; the consumers/buyers will likely think that the products and/or services come from the place stated on the mark; and the mark identifies the specific place of origin of said products and/or services. This applies to merely descriptive marks.

 

  • In case of a deceptively misdescriptive mark, its primary significance is a generally known geographic location; the consumers/buyers will likely think that the products and/or services come from the place stated on the mark; the products and/or services don’t actually come from the stated place; and the misrepresentation will be a significant factor in the decision-making of consumers.

 

With these strict requirements, you are well-advised to hire an experienced trademark attorney and consultant so that your initial application will have a higher chance of being approved.

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

申請註冊美國商標有何優勢?

商標註冊是有地域性之分的,也就是說商標權是有著嚴格的地域性的,在中國註冊的商標是能夠享有中國商標的專用權,在美國註冊申請的商標與在中國註冊申請商標是有區別的,在美國註冊商標採用的是商標使用優先的原則。那麼申請註冊美國商標有何優勢或好處?

註冊美國商標對企業的好處是很多,主要有以下幾點:

  • 有助於企業打造國際品牌以及打造中美品牌

企業註冊了美國商標之後,就可以與國內商標聯合進行宣傳,那麼進一步就可以打造屬於企業的國際品牌。

  • 保護產品外貿也能獲得美國商標法的保護

美國註冊商標採用的是優先使用的原則,但其使用的時候是有限制的,比如說有需要兩個州以上銷售你的產品的要求等,那麼之後註冊後才能更好地保護自己的商標。

  • 避免商標侵權

上文中提到美國採用的是使用在先的原則,先在美國使用商標一般都是視為優先擁有商標權的,並且大多數在美國的專利商標局是沒有登記的。那麼企業在出口的時候很有可能侵犯到他人的商標權,進一步就是導致商品被扣押且還要支付罰金。而註冊美國商標的話就不會出現這樣的問題,註冊的時候就可以知道有沒有相似或者一樣的商標在使用,那麼通過之後就可以放心地出口商標。

  • 進入亞馬遜平台必備

若是你的企業打算入駐亞馬遜平台的話,肯定是要註冊美國商標的,這也是入駐其平台的一個大前提。並且由於美國是亞馬遜的發源地,那麼美國消費者在購物的時候也都是習慣選擇亞馬遜平台,也就是說企業的客戶是很廣闊的。

最後就是美國人是比較注重知識產權的,若是企業沒有註冊美國商標的話,很可能會流失很多的消費者和供應商,反之則可以帶來不錯的效益。

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

Crucial Things To Remember About Your Trademark Application

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) conducts an intensive examination of every trademark application submitted by individuals, groups and organizations. Keep in mind that registering your trademark, which can be an image, words or sound, can be a challenging task because of the strict requirements and process, especially if you’re taking it on your own.

We suggest that you hire an experienced trademark agent or attorney to handle the dirty work, so to speak. But it also pays to know the basics of the initial application process since it’s your trademark and the rights and responsibilities that come with it rests squarely on your shoulders.

 

Select Your Mark Properly

If you want to start the trademark registration process on the right foot, you have to select your mark properly. You have to choose it with extreme care since not every mark can be registered with the USPTO and not every mark can also be legally protected. In case of the latter, a mark may be unacceptable as a basis for a legal claim by its owner who wants to prevent others from using a similar mark on related products and/or services.

 

You don’t want to make the rookie mistake of submitting an initial application for your trademark only to find out that it cannot be registered. Aside from checking that, indeed, it can be registered, you have to determine the ease and effectiveness of protecting it based on its strength.

 

You have to take note, too, that USPTO isn’t responsible for the enforcement of your trademark – its primary function is to register trademarks and patents. You, the trademark owner, have the primary and exclusive responsibility for its enforcement including when others are using it to their commercial advantage.

 

You should also take note of the acceptable format of marks before submission to the USPTO. You must also precisely identify your products and/or services that the mark will be applied on.

 

Search the Database

Before you file a trademark application, you should also search the USPTO database for similar marks. Your main goal: To determine whether another individual or organization has already claimed trademark rights similar to your mark and used them on related products and/or services through a federal registration.

 

A clearance search will save costs on trademark registration, too, since the USPTO generally doesn’t grant refunds. Thus, even if your initial application isn’t approved for one reason or another, a refund check won’t be in your mail.

 

You must also know that any and all personal information submitted to the USPTO at any point in the application and registration process becomes public record. Your full name, phone number and e-mail address, and street address will be part of the public database, which may or may not be a cause for concern on your part.

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

申請中國商標要注意什麼?

商標是商品的生產者和經營者為了讓自己生產或者經營的商品,與其他的商品區分開來而使用的一種標記。這種標記可以是中文、英文、數位或者是圖形,當然也可以是其中多種以上的組合。其實就是企業的品牌和牌子,那麼接下來我們就來看看申請中國商標要注意什麼?

申請前
若是個人來申請中國商標的話,需要個體戶營業執照以及個人的身份證。若是公司申請中國商標的話,則需要公司的營業執照。之後需要確定一個需要註冊的品牌名字或者是圖形標誌,建議大家最好是多備幾個以免他人已經搶先註冊了。

 

然後可以將確定好的商標名稱進行查詢檢索,看看該商標註冊成功的幾率大不大,要知道商標不是100%就可以註冊成功的,那麼在這之前也要做好心理準備。商標檢索完成若是風險不高的話,之後就可以進行申請了。

 

申請中
需要將用到的註冊資料整理好,交給代理機構他們就可以幫你在網上進行申報,網上申報的速度是比較快的,並且也能保證申請商標的權利,現如今基本上所有的代理機構都是通過網上進行商標註冊申請申報的。

 

要注意的是只有經過國家商標局備案的代理機構,才擁有在網上進行商標申報的資質,因此大家在選擇商標註冊代理機構的時候,一定要注意這個代理機構是否經過了國家商標局的備案。

 

申請後
一般來說中國商標的有效期都是10年,在期滿前的一年若是你需要繼續使用的話,那麼就要對商標進行續展了,續展的時間仍舊是10年。若是在期限內沒有完成續展的話,那麼你的商標就失效了。

 

同時註冊成功的商標若是不使用的話,可以進行轉讓賣給他人也能得到一些經濟收益。

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

Mistakes Derailing Your Trademark Application

Yes, you may have a unique trademark – or at least, you think you have it. But before making brash decisions, you should take a step back and remember that the Patent and Trademark Office doesn’t mess around when it comes to the registration process. You may think that it’s easy enough, especially after reading countless articles on the subject matter, but it isn’t because of the strict filing requirements and the bureaucratic procedures.

Arguably, the worst mistakes that you can do before filing a trademark application are these two things.

 

Not Hiring An Experienced Trademark Agent or Attorney

Keep in mind that the trademark application process is a legal proceeding protected by the trademark laws. As such, individuals, groups and organizations can be subjected to penalties including fines, surcharges and suspensions in case of violations of trademark laws.

 

As such, it’s of crucial importance to hire an experienced agent or attorney with a valid license to practice trademark law. Better yet, hire an experienced trademark agent or attorney with a proven track record of success in the field, if you want to increase your chance of success in getting your trademark registered.

 

Of course, you can file the application on your own but there are many pitfalls to such a do-it-yourself approach. You may well find that the documentary requirements can be voluminous and stringent while the process can be bureaucratic. You won’t likely have the right knowledge and skills to deal with the legal process and, thus, make a mess of it.  Your trademark application can be delayed and its registration jeopardized.

 

Not Checking That Your Mark Can Be Registered

Your trademark application must be in compliance with many legal requirements before it can be approved for registration. You don’t just fill in the forms, whether you’re filing online or in paper, even if you’re in a hurry to claim the mark (i.e., competitors are using a similar one), lest you find yourself in a bind.

 

In this regard, you have to ask yourself several questions including:

  • Can your mark actually be registered under the rules and regulations?
  • Can you identify the good and/or services covered by your mark?
  • Can you determine the filing basis for your initial application?

 

Your trademark agent or attorney can answer these questions and provide guidance on several related matters.  With your trademark registered, you have the assurance that your brand names including the slogans and logos used on your products and/or services will be protected from unauthorized use by other entities.

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

如何註冊香港商標?

香港法律對商標申請人主體的資格是沒有特殊要求的,只要是自然人或者是法人團體都可以申請註冊香港商標。並且法律也沒有規定商標申請人必須要使用自己申請的商標,只要申請人在註冊的時候指出使用或者是擬使用就可以了。那麼接下來我們就來看看如何註冊香港商標。

第一步:香港商標查詢

主要就是查詢香港商標是否重複,從香港知識產權署那裡就可以得到商標註冊記錄的報告,以及是否可以進行註冊的初步意見。之後再到政府申請查詢服務,這樣整個申請註冊過程的風險都被降低了。

第二步:確定香港商標名稱及設計

商標的名稱一定要避免和商品的功能聯繫在一起,而商標的設計更要突出商品的主題並且要合理佈局。

第三步:提交申請

申請人需要提交的資料一定要全面,包括申請人資格證明資料、清晰的商標圖樣以及委託辦理合同等,同時也需要繳納相關的費用。

第四步:受理通知

香港知識產權署在收到商標註冊申請資料之後,就會給予你一個申請的編號,之後就會發放受理通知書,前後時間不會超過一個星期。

第五步:進行審查

在審查的過程中,香港商標註冊處會查詢有關商標,是否符合《商標條例》所制定的註冊規定。

第六步:註冊成功

商標在註冊申請被核准之後,就會將該商標的詳細記錄在冊,並且也會向申請人發出商標註冊證明書。

 

註冊香港商標的詳細流程就是這六步,註冊香港商標可以通過自行辦理或者是委託商標代理機構進行辦理,若是缺乏這方面的專業知識及辦理經驗的話,找專業的商標代理機構來辦理會更加順利,保障更全面。

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

The Types Of United States Patents Explained Briefly

According to the United States patent law, inventors can secure and protect their rights to their works by applying for a patent. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) classifies patents into four different types and an inventor can apply for one or two patents, such as a utility patent and provisional patent.

Utility Patent

When people think of a patent, it’s most likely that they are referring to or thinking of a utility patent. Keep in mind that a utility patent is a lengthy technical document with details about the use of a new machine, system, or process. The document can contain descriptions, drawings and images of the invention, a must for its registration.

 

Congress defines the kinds of inventions covered by utility patents. But with Internet-delivered software, the Internet of Things, and genetic engineering, among other emerging technologies, the definition is being challenged.

 

Provisional Patent

Under the patent law, an inventor can file a less formal document as proof that he was in possession of the invention and he had sufficient knowledge of how to make it work (i.e., the utility requirement). This is known as a provisional patent, which goes hand in hand with a utility patent.

 

Let’s say that you filed a provisional patent for your invention. When it’s on file, your patent is considered as pending and you have the applicable property rights to your invention. You should file a formal utility patent within one year from filing the provisional patent.

 

Design Patent

The design patent doesn’t need to meet the utility requirement since it protects decorative design on a utilitarian item. The typical design patent document consists almost entirely of drawings or pictures with a few words and, thus, these are notoriously difficult to search on the USPTO database.

 

This can be applied for a wide range of ideas and items. These include the design for shoes, the shape of a designer bottle, and even user interfaces.

 

Plant Patent

A plant patent is obviously designed to protect new types of plants that have been produced through non-sexual methods, such as cuttings. Emphasis must be made that it generally covers conventional horticulture and not genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

 

You don’t have to be limited to filing a single patent on an invention. You can actually file two patents for a single item!

 

You may file a provisional patent on your invention so you have one year to decide when and how to file its related utility patent.  In doing so, you’re expanding patent protection and mitigating your risk of another person claiming the same or similar invention.

 

Regardless of the type of patent you chose, your main goal is to protect your invention from infringement by others. You will then have a higher chance of getting a good return on your investment once you start profiting from your invention.

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

Mistakes Derailing Your Trademark Application

Yes, you may have a unique trademark – or at least, you think you have it. But before making brash decisions, you should take a step back and remember that the Patent and Trademark Office doesn’t mess around when it comes to the registration process. You may think that it’s easy enough, especially after reading countless articles on the subject matter, but it isn’t because of the strict filing requirements and the bureaucratic procedures.

Arguably, the worst mistakes that you can do before filing a trademark application are these two things.

 

Not Hiring An Experienced Trademark Agent or Attorney

Keep in mind that the trademark application process is a legal proceeding protected by the trademark laws. As such, individuals, groups and organizations can be subjected to penalties including fines, surcharges and suspensions in case of violations of trademark laws.

 

As such, it’s of crucial importance to hire an experienced agent or attorney with a valid license to practice trademark law. Better yet, hire an experienced trademark agent or attorney with a proven track record of success in the field, if you want to increase your chance of success in getting your trademark registered.

 

Of course, you can file the application on your own but there are many pitfalls to such a do-it-yourself approach. You may well find that the documentary requirements can be voluminous and stringent while the process can be bureaucratic. You won’t likely have the right knowledge and skills to deal with the legal process and, thus, make a mess of it.  Your trademark application can be delayed and its registration jeopardized.

 

Not Checking That Your Mark Can Be Registered

Your trademark application must be in compliance with many legal requirements before it can be approved for registration. You don’t just fill in the forms, whether you’re filing online or in paper, even if you’re in a hurry to claim the mark (i.e., competitors are using a similar one), lest you find yourself in a bind.

 

In this regard, you have to ask yourself several questions including:

  • Can your mark actually be registered under the rules and regulations?
  • Can you identify the good and/or services covered by your mark?
  • Can you determine the filing basis for your initial application?

 

Your trademark agent or attorney can answer these questions and provide guidance on several related matters.  With your trademark registered, you have the assurance that your brand names including the slogans and logos used on your products and/or services will be protected from unauthorized use by other entities.

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

Registering Your Trademark Is A Must

In a world obsessed with brands, both on the part of the producers and the consumers, even small businesses have to register trademark! The cost of not doing so can jeopardize the business, as illustrated by the case of Drop Anchor Brewing and Anchor Brewing Co.

 

A Good Example

Anchor Brewing Co., a large California-based brewery, sent Drop Anchor Brewing, a small Washington State-based craft brewery, a cease and desist letter asking it to stop using the word “Anchor” in its name. The former’s allegation was that it has federal trademark registration over the word and, thus, it has exclusive use of it in the beer industry. The result: Drop Anchor Brewing changed its name as well as everything else on its logo, signs, labels, taps, and even shirts to avoid a costly lawsuit – but the cost of these changes still cost it an arm and a leg.

This case illustrates the benefits of getting your trademark registered on one hand and the hazards of not doing so on the other hand.

 

A Host of Reasons to Register ASAP  

Don’t think that Drop Anchor Brewing’s case won’t happen to you for whatever reason, such as you’re just a small company with a novel idea. You will be surprised at the intense competition for ideas, goods and services in the market so vigilance is the key.

Why register your brand or mark ASAP, if you haven’t done so yet? Here are four reasons to think about.

 

  • Setting your brand for success

When you register your brand and its associated images as a trademark, you’re setting it up for success because a brand equals an identity. Your brand identity distinguishes your business and its products and/or services from the rest of the competition – and with a brand-obsessed society, such distinction is crucial to your success.

 

  • Expanding your business

While you can have exclusive right to use your business name, you can only do so within the state where it’s registered, not on the federal level. Furthermore, your business may have common law trademark protection but it only applies to the geographic area where it’s been used.

 

When you decide to expand your business operations, particularly opening out-of-state branches, you may run into issues with competitors, consumers and government regulatory agencies. Your target customers, for example, may confuse your brand and business with other businesses with similar names or images. Your competitor with a federal trademark may also file a lawsuit, limit your operations, and/or force a name change, all of which will be costlier than if you registered your trademark at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the first place.

The bottom line: A trademark registration at the USPTO provides you and your business national exclusive rights over your brand and its related images. This alone comes with a wide range of benefits so act as soon as you can.

 

資料來源: CtR智群知識產權事務所

 

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