Trademark Law for Entrepreneurs
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This course is an overview of trademark law that focuses on the questions asked by most entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The course is structured as an interview with Dana Robinson, professor, attorney and entrepreneur. Dana draws from his business and law experience to deliver practical answers to the most common questions.
By the end of this course, the user should be better equipped to understand what trademark law covers. A user will be in a position to save money on attorneys or online filing services. In addition, for users who eventually hire an attorney, this course helps the user to become conversant enough to understand what the attorney is doing, and manage the attorney interaction with far less confusion.
The course is about 45 minutes total, and is set in the casual environment of a local San Diego gastropub.
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|Section 1: Introduction|
This is an introduction to the course on trademark law for entrepreneurs. Learn what a trademark is, and get ready to understand the ins and outs of this type of intellectual property.
|Section 2: Part 1|
Meet attorney and entrepreneur Dana Robinson, and get started with the first question everyone asks: How do I protect my name using trademark law?
Have you come up with a really great name brand that you want to use? Most people start by asking how to protect it under intellectual property law. The first question is actually whether you can use it without infringing someone else's intellectual property first! Once we answer that question, we can move to ways that your mark can be protected.
Before you choose a mark, it is best to do your due diligence. Start with a search of the search engines like Google and Yahoo! but then try the USPTO database as well. This screencast will show you a simple search using the USPTO data.
Now that you feel your mark is clear of infringement risk, protect it by filing a trademark application. This video talks through the trademark application process.
Trademarks can be weak or strong...or anywhere in between. Learn the importance of understanding the strength of your mark. This plays into how strong your mark is, and how well you will be able to protect it.
Would you like to use a trademark that seems like a common word? It may surprise you to learn that you can build trademark rights in a word that is quite common.
Have you heard of the term "service mark"? What about a mark versus a trademark? We discuss the difference here, as well as other technical questions about trademarks.
|Section 3: Screencast Tutorials|
Don't just go filing a trademark until you have done your due diligence! Learn how to search the USPTO records and understand what might present a problem. This screencast walks the student through two sample searches and discusses why some prior trademarks may or may not be obstacles for the proposed mark. Not only will the student become conversant in trademarks, but conducting a search can cost $2-4,000 when attorneys are used. Save thousands of dollars while also making yourself a smarter entrepreneur.
Learn how to file your own federal trademark application. Most online services charge $150 or more to file in your name, and they still require that you give them all of the proper information. Attorneys charge $400-800 to file your application. In many cases, you can file on your own and save hundreds of dollars on legal fees. If you watch the entire course, then you will have learned what you need to understand trademark law, and even conducted your own due diligence and searched the USPTO records and Google for possible risks and issues before you file. The course can save you thousands of dollars on search and filing costs.
The course will address how to choose the right goods or services, as well as whether to file based on use or intent-to-use. The screencast walks through an entire sample filing, showing the student what each piece of the application requires. Once the student completes the course and screencast, add to the discussion with any open questions and the instructor will do his best to answer questions that may help other students.
Dana Robinson is a founding partner of TechLaw, LLP, where his practice focuses on trademark prosecution, trademark licensing, copyrights, and business transactions. Previously, Dana managed the trademark practice at the Las Vegas intellectual property firm Quirk & Tratos (now Greenberg Traurig). Dana has served as general counsel to three companies, including, most recently, L1 Technologies, Inc. which operates the iGolf.com website and golf GPS data service.
Dana is adjunct professor of law at the University of San Diego School of law, where he is involved in the law school’s new IP Law Clinic. Dana has taught a variety of seminars and moderated panels on intellectual property and technology law since 1999. He is conducting research on issues related to the protection of fashion designs; and is also working on research on early service mark origins. His most recent article is Digital Rights Management Lite: Freeing ebooks from Reader Devices and Software (forthcoming Summer 2012, Virginia Journal of Law & Technology). Dana is on the ICANN Implementation Advisory Group for the Trademark Clearinghouse.
Dana’s expertise is in trademark law, and legal issues related to the Internet, software, and technology. He also has extensive experience with resort and casino trademarks, but he has prosecuted hundreds of trademarks in the United States Patent and Trademark Office over the course of his law practice career. Dana has represented clients in numerous trademark infringement actions, as well as cancellations, oppositions and appeals before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Dana has been the co-founder of several start-ups, including Esquivel Designs, a shoe company that has become famous for beautiful made-in-California shoes, and eChristian, which operates Christianaudio.com, now the largest religious audiobook publisher on the web.
Beyond his core trademark practice, Dana handles an extensive practice in corporate formation, mergers and acquisition, business transactions and copyrights.
Dana received his bachelor’s degree from Life Pacific College and went to earn an M.A. at Azusa Pacific University and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the law school’s faculty journal, the Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues. He is admitted to practice in Nevada and California, and before the Federal District Courts for the Central District of California, the Southern District of California, and the District of Nevada.
Dana was the Co-chair of the first Nevada State Bar Committee on Intellectual Property (2002-2003). He is a member of the IP law section of the State Bar of California, and is a member of the San Diego Intellectual Property Law Association.
Dana has spent 20 years as an active entrepreneur and investor and continues to advise his portfolio investments. Dana sits on non-profit and for-profit boards. He speaks on a variety of topics, including trademark law; brand trends; entrepreneurialism; and subjects related to small business.