What do Mickey Mouse and copyrights have in common? Well Walt’s Mickey Mouse is one of the longest running Copyrighted Characters in U.S. history! Most people have grown up with Mickey Mouse – he’s been around for a long time. Now, he is in danger of falling into the public domain, where anyone can use him or alter him. Copyright law, however, might be able to protect him forever. This is news that has some people excited, but others don’t see the point.
While copyrights may seem to last forever, this was not always the case. In the early 1900s, copyright protection lasted for 28 years, which was later doubled. Then, in 1976, Congress changed the law again; protection then lasted for the life of the author plus 50 years. Today, copyrights last for the life of the author plus 70 years. After protection ends, the work falls into the public domain, where anyone can use it.
So, what does this mean for Mickey Mouse? The 1976 change originally made him available to the public domain in 2003, but President Clinton signed an extension of copyright, so he is still protected. This is a source of constant debate of copyright attorneys, authors, singers, musicians and film makers. On one hand, if copyright is weakened, then others can use works in the public domain and creativity may actually flourish from the increase in derivative works. However, it makes sense to protect the hard work of authors like Walt Disney and others that provided so much contribution and enriched our experience and the experience of our kids.
Some believe that copyrights should never expire. This may make sense for certain types of Works that have been ground breaking and the source of creative inspiration for others. Perhaps, there should be a pioneering copyright like pioneering patents? What do you think should there be stronger and extended protection for some copyrighted works over others?
When we browse the internet, we know how to get to the websites we want to go to. We know to type in, for example, “amazon.com,” and know that by doing so we will be able to shop on Amazon. This has already started to change, however, as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has decided to make over 1,400 new top level domain names available for purchase.
Now, we will likely have to go to “movies.amazon” or “books.kindle” in order to get to the site we want. In essence , we will have to relearn how to find products and services on the web., Moreover, consumers will have to understand the new top level domain and which TLD and URL will enable them to find the products or services they want. On line retailers will have to understand how the new TLDs may impact their SEO process. consequently, the new TLDs may or may not lead to a better online distribution means.
These new domain names have been met with mixed reviews. On one hand, companies are excited; these new names allow them to advertise their brands even more, encourage competition and innovation, and assist consumers in getting to the correct site. On the other hand, however, people worry about the cost of registration and upkeep, not to mention the potential for trademark violations and cybersquatting. Registration for one name costs $185,000.00, and in most cases, it makes sense for companies to register multiple names. This is a defensive maneuver, as it will keep others from registering names that will cause consumer confusion or infringe on trademarks.
While ICANN has developed a database to protect trademarks, called “Trademark Clearinghouse,” it has its drawbacks. For one, it costs $150.00 a year, per trademark. Further, it may not be the most effective; it only protects against identical matches of trademarks. This does not include misspellings or names that are very similar to trademarks. So, companies will have their work cut out for them when purchasing the top level domain names and protecting them from competitors.
The first seven new top level domain names went live on the Internet on January 29th, 2014. So far, we have seen the addition of .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles, and .ventures. More are expected to come out on February 5th, 2014. For more go to http://www.vrplaw.com
The Naked License Doctrine is often overlooked by many business owners, corporations, franchisers, advertising, marketing and licensing professionals. For example, there are often times when there is no oversight over how your brand, design, logo, business name or trademark is used by different departments, suppliers, vendors, and other third parties.
Many times, it is an employee using your brand, design, logo, business name or trademark to assist non for profits or promote events for others; however, there is no license of your mark or how the mark is used by the non for profit. Other times, the advertising and marketing department rolls out a new version of your mark, but does not acquire approval to make the modifications or recognize how it might affect the commercial impression of your original mark. Sometimes, there is a negative response from consumers and it may actually lead to a dilution or tarnishment of the original mark.
In other cases, the advertising and marketing professionals are too eager to acquire other distribution channels by encouraging use of the mark on a third party’s website, store fronts, advertising and/or marketing brochures without having the third party sign any agreement or license to use your mark. The worst cases are when franchisers do not take the time to see how their franchisees are using the brand or mark. This is a significant problem even if, the franchise agreement has some provisions relating to licensing and use of your brand or mark.
The key is are there any actual methods or means for a brand or trademarks owner to prevent a third party or licensee from changing the colors, design, layout, location, font or quality of the products or services sold under its brand or mark. Is there some process to have a third party or licensee submit its modification to the original brand or mark owner? Is this process actually utilized? Is there any means of monitoring or overseeing the third party or licensee’s activities to determine if, your brand or mark is being misused?
If there is no practical means to ensure that your brand or mark is not used, in any way that dilutes, tarnishes or changes the commercial impression of your original brand or mark, then you may be subject to losing your trademark rights. Even if, you have a license, this situation is ripe with others being able to assert that the license is in essence a naked licensee, thus, you should not be allowed to retain trademark protection of your brand or original mark. It is always a good idea to consult a trademark attorney prior to licensing and instituting trademark policing policies.
Of course, if you have any concerns or questions, then please contact us at: http://www.vplawgroup.com
There are many forms intangible rights that protect individuals from those that may be looking to trade of your identity. In Illinois, your identity, such as your name, likeness, image, voice, alias and other features that serve to identify who you are protected from rip-off artists and scammers. A nice feature for artists, entertainers, actors, musicians, authors, designers, film producers, videographers, photographers, speakers, professors, doctors, attorneys, judges and politicians.
The statute provides for 1000 in statutory damages per violation, plus allows for the recovery of legal fees and costs for the prevailing party. It is a codification of one of the oldest forms of intellectual property rights, your Likeness. This was recognized at common law long before the existence of copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Other than trade secrets, it may be the oldest form of intangible right or asset a person can own.
The Act requires strict compliance and a written authorization from the person before any aspects of his or her identity can be used by another. Working with an attorney that understands how your Identity is related to your business and personal affairs is vital to making sure you protect against all rip off artists. If someone is misusing your photographs, image, voice, alias or other intangible features of your identity, then please contact us at http://www.vrplawgroup.com
It is surprising how often clients will not realize that the TTAB Opposition and Cancellation Proceedings are litigation proceedings. They are administrative in nature, but the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence still apply. Thus, filing a summary judgment can often be an effective method of resolving cancellation and opposition proceedings with the TTAB. The TTAB’s rules do have some nuisances, such as the requirement that the parties exchange 26 (a) (1) disclosures before filing a summary judgment motion.
However, even in most Court proceedings the parties will not file a summary judgment motion, until after both sides have had an opportunity to complete discovery. Unfortunately, the TTAB and its attorneys are not necessarily used to making rulings on evidentiary issues, motions in limine, and a variety of other areas of trial practice. Thus, often times the TTAB does make mistakes on key evidentiary issues, standards of law and application of trial standards to TTAB cancellation and opposition practice.
Moreover, over often times, many TTAB Attorneys do not realize the need for a summary judgment to be decided based on admissible evidence. The same standard applies to summary judgment motions in front of TTAB. Thus, it is not unusual for the TTAB to make an error of law and require a party to file a motion for reconsideration. In fact, many times this can be good opportunity to create your record for an appeal to a federal court that may be more comfortable with ruling upon evidentiary issues and deciding summary judgment motions based on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.
Parties are allowed to appeal final decisions from the TTAB to their local Federal Courts, D.C. Circuits or the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court. Moreover, the parties may even be allowed to offer new or evidence that was excluded from the TTAB proceedings. However, the TTAB does offer an Accelerated Case Resolution Process that can be used to have summary judgment motions be used for trial purposes. This can often be a cost saving and effective strategy for dispositions of the TTAB proceeding for both parties.
Thus, working with a Trademark Attorney that has Federal Court Litigation and Trial experience is vital to the success of a TTAB cancellation or opposition proceeding. If you have any concerns or questions, then please feel free to contact us at http://www.vrplawgroup.,com
It is common place for there to be disputes between Franchisees and Franchisors. Often times, the dispute involves continued use of trademark licenses without paying royalties, claims of fraud involving financial information, and breach of contract or the franchise agreement. However, there is some measure of protection from the unhappy or disappointed with their purchase of a franchise or a franchise store. The franchisee often claims that the financial ;projections of the past performances of the franchise stores or operators.
There is often disagreement about what financial information was provided by the Franchisor and how much of it is mere puffery, opinion or an accurate reflection of the historical performance of different franchise stores. However, in a recent Ruling the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District provided a finding that allowed Ace Hardware to defeat the claims asserted by Avon Hardware. Avon Hardware asserted that Ace Hardware was liable for providing fraudulent or misleading sales and financial information to Avon Hardware.
Ace Hardware was found to have provided a variety of opinions and financial information to Avon Hardware, but was found to be not liable to Avon Hardware. The primary reason for the First District Court’s dismissal of the common law or statutory fraud was the inability to overcome the language in the parties’ Franchise Agreement cautioning about the financial and sales data and the opinions contained therein. The First District Court dismissal of the fraud claims were based on the Franchisees failure to plead and prove materiality and reasonable reliance on the Financial Sales and Data.
Thus, it is crucial for Franchisees to make sure that they verify sales projections and ensure that the Franchisor is required to provide audited financial and sales data. This will help curtail the risk of being provided unnecessarily inflated financial information and sales data. Moreover, it will help ensure that you do not have Buyer’s remorse. Of course, if you have any concerns or questions, then please contact us at http://www.vrplaw.com
The America Invents Act or the AIA changed our patent filing system from a First to Invent to a First to File system. However, it also introduced derivation proceedings into the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or Patent Office process. This may still allow many First to Invent Applicants to establish superior patent rights by demostrating that that First to File Applicant derived his, her or its invention from the Second Applicant.
This concept is similar and analogous to a copyright holder’s right to derivative works. However, it is unclear what the scope of these patent derivation proceedings will be. In addition, will an applicant be able to create a presumption of derivation by showing reasonable access to his or her invention and substantial similarity? How will this impact the policy of permitting improvement patents that are not anticipated and nonobvious?
Can all improvements to a patented invention be challenged in derivation proceedings? What impact will this have on granting pioneering inventions greater protection? Will Courts still allow a broader or greater scope of protection in interpreting the claims of a pioneering patent? Will the Patent Office also in effect give broader or greater rights to a pioneering inventor in derivation proceedings?
We will just have to wait and see how the Patent Office and Courts interpret the changes brought about by the AIA. If you have any concerns or questions, then please contact us at http://www.vrplaw.com
Negotiating commercial agreements requires a certain combination of preparation, skill, art, anticipation, guess work and sometimes just dumb luck to ensure that you are able to come to terms that are satisfactory to both sides. If you push too hard and you ask for too much, then you are likely to meet stiff resistance and encounter more obstacles to working out a deal or reaching an agreement. Preparation is key in this respect, know the industry, know what is standard, know what you do not know, know the other side’s hot buttons and concerns, know your bottom line and know your risk tolerance, and lastly be creative–not everything has to be the same as it was before.
There are many ways to negotiate around and draft around concerns that both parties have. Foster an atmosphere of frank and open discussion about the issues that both sides are trying to manage. Understand when the other side is making a reasonable request. Make sure you are not being unreasonable, but do not be afraid to ask for what you want. A good negotiator and a contract draft can usually find a way to appease both sides. However, if the parties are not willing to discussing business points and openly air their concerns, then it is hard to identify the business driver for the negotiations. In this case, it is really hard for both sides to come to terms and agreement, because neither, sides are discussing the real obstacle to the deal.
While it is true that sometimes you may be able to get what you want, because the other party is lacking in sophistication, the reality is that anyone can play hide the ball or withhold information. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize when the other side is not being forthcoming or is being less than candid with you. Thus, it inherently leads to a scenario where the other side reacts and conducts him, her or itself in the same manner. Often times, the sophisticated party doesn’t realize that they have fell for the oldest trick in the book. No matter what concerns or risks you are trying to manage the more frank and candid you are the more likely that you are to bridge the gap and come to an agreement.
Often times, concerns surround legal ease or boiler plate that is outdated and unenforceable. In fact, sometimes the more you overreach the less protection the law and contract interpretation principles will award you. Many times, I have advised clients to just not worry about something that is unenforceable, but being a litigator it makes it easier for me to know what will work and withstand scrutiny by a Court. It is often better to just leave overreaching language in a contract, because you know it will give you grounds to invalidate the contract. However, there is a bit of art involved in this, because the language has to be interpreted by a court in the manner that you would like it to render it unenforceable.
I always suggest that if somebody is playing hardball take on hardball posture and allow them to feel like they have the upper hand and are getting some very tough language to protect their interests, but then pick certain issues that truly are risks that need to be managed and you can discuss frankly. In fact, you may get more than you should in certain areas, because the other party believe it has gotten everything it wants in areas that are truly not a concern for you. However, this requires careful preparation and a nuanced understanding of the law, the industry, and the clients risk tolerance.
If you have any concerns or questions about negotiating a commercial agreement, acquisition, divestiture, sale of your business or the purchase of your business, then please do not hesitate to contact us at http://www.chicagoacquisitionsattorneycom
So, you have been sued for copyright infringement, because you downloaded content from a website, blog, google scholar, or another source for your creative Work Product. Whether, you are talking about written articles, e-books, blog posts, videos, photographs, website architecture and content (Collectively “Works”), many of the issues from a copyright infringement perspective are the same. Many individuals make the mistake of thinking that because something is published on the internet that it is part of the Public Domain, and can be used by anyone. Quite simply, this is incorrect. Just because a Work is available or publicly accessible does not mean that it is not subject to a valid Copyright. You must still review it to determine if, the Work is copyrighted and if, you are using it in violation of the owner or author’s Copyrights.
First, you should look for a Copyright notice. Second, you should check the U.S. Copyright Office’s records. Third, you should determine how much of the Copyrighted Work you are actually using in creating your own Work. If the amount that you have appropriated is covered by the Copyright Registration, then you may very well still be liable for Copyright Infringement. If the material is covered by a Copyright you should review your own Work to see if, it is substantially similar to the original Work covered by the Copyright Registration. If your Work is substantially similar or uses the heart of the original Work, then you should check to see if, your Work qualifies for a defense or exception from infringement.
To determine if, your Work qualifies for an exception or defenses from infringement you need to compare your Work to the Original Work and see if, there is an applicable Fair Use, Parody, Innocent Infringer, or DMCA Safe Harbor defense. If not, then you may be liable for Copyright Infringement, which can be substantial and ongoing source of liability. Damages in a Copyright Infringement case can include statutory fees, attorneys’ fees, lost profits and/or reasonable royalties for the life of the Copyright or the author’s life plus seventy years. So, before you go to a website and copy a Work and expose yourself to a Copyright Infringement, Inducing Infringement, Contributory Infringement, Vicarious Infringement, or a Digital Millennium Copyright Infringement claim, consider investigating whether the Work is Copyrighted.
If you have any concerns or questions about enforcing your copyrights or defending against copyright infringement claims, then please feel free to contact our Copyright Attorneys or see our website at: http://www.vrplawgroup.com
Litigating patent infringement claims on behalf of Plaintiffs and Defendants requires a unique set of skills, and only some litigators understand what it takes. You have to understand the client’s technology, the background of the industry, how to read and interpret patent claims, how to read and understand prosecution history, litigation strategy, discovery and evidentiary rules, ability to use experts and patent monetization strategies.
In addition, often times, you are dealing with a variety of other attorneys, inventors, professionals and personalities. However, to be effective as a Lead Counsel, you must be able to understand the details and how they fit into your overall strategy for establishing infringement, non-infringement, invalidity, anticipation, obviousness, lack of enablement, undue experimentation, walker process counterclaims, antitrust counterclaims, indirect, contributory and/or vicarious patent infringement.
Many times, people have a difficult time dealing with experts, other attorneys or individuals that may believe that they know the technology, patent monetization strategy, prosecution history, or industry better than you do. You have to be willing to accept input where needed, but be willing to stand your ground where needed to make sure that you are able to develop a cohesive litigation strategy that helps your clients win.
It is a challenging process that requires you to learn new technology quickly, use inventors, prosecution attorneys and experts’ input where needed, but at the same time push back to ensure that the overall strategy is not disrupted by focusing on irrelevant subject matter. Patent litigation is a fun, but business driven necessity in our modern economy, and having the right patent litigation attorney represent you can be the difference between a winning and losing patent infringement suit.
Patents can be for several different inventions including, but not limited to machines, apparatus, and compositions of matter, computer software, designs, and much more. An invention can be patented, if, several conditions are met. Under 5 U.S.C. 101. Patentable Inventions are “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title. The conditions of novelty and non-obvious subject matter are discussed in 35 U.S.C. 102-103.
Your invention must be novel. This means that you are the first to create the invention. Under 35 U.S.C. 102-103 novelty and other hurdles to acquiring patents are described in more detail The claimed invention must not have been patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention. The invention must not have been known or used by the public in the United States. A person is not entitled to obtain a patent for something derived from or invented by another person.
The invention must have non-obvious subject matter. 35 U.S.C. 103 describes what non-obvious subject matter is. If the differences between the claimed invention and the prior art are such that the claimed invention as a whole would have been obvious before the effective filing date of the claimed invention to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which the claimed invention pertains. Patentability shall not be negated by the manner, in which, the invention was made. In determining whether, an invention is obvious, the Supreme Court set forth the following considerations: (1) the scope and content of the prior art; (2) the level of ordinary skill in the art; and (3) the number of differences between the prior art and the claimed invention. Graham v. John Deere Company of Kansas City, 383 U.S. 1(1966).
Of course there are exceptions to every rule. There are more guidelines to take into account, as well. However, as long as you are the first inventor of the invention you can patent it. Should you choose to patent your invention or are considering patenting your invention a Patent Attorney should be your first step.
Many employers, plaintiffs, and their attorneys will be interested in a recent Ruling in the Crittenden v. Cook County Commission on Human Rights Ruling relating to punitive damages. A former employee sued for discrimination and sexual harassment under the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance and the Illinois Human Rights Act.
The Cook County Human Rights Commission (CCHRC) ruled in favor of the former employee and awarded lost wages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees. However, the Employer appealed the award of punitive damages. The Employer asserted that the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance (CCHRO) and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) do not explicitly authorize the CCHRC to award punitive damages.
Although it has long been understood that Title VII allows punitive damages, but with caps or limits based on the number of employees; there is no such analogous provision under the CCHRO or the IHRA. Thus, the Plaintiff or employee had to make a common law based claim for punitive damages. However, the CCHRC does not have such common law powers. The CCHRC’s administrative authority does not include the inherent common law powers of circuit or district court judges.
Consequently, the Employer was able to have the award of punitive damages stricken. If you have any concerns or questions, then please contact a Chicago business, corporate, or employment law attorney.
To find out more go to: Crittenden Opinion
In a recent, Seventh Circuit Case, the Eastland Music Group v. Lionsgate Entertainment, Summit Entertainment and Mandate Pictures, the Plaintiff’s alleged the use of the terms “50/50″ violated their registered and common law trademark rights to the use of the PHIFTY-50 mark for songs, rap music, movies and entertainment. However, there was no actual indication or allegations that the use of the terms “50/50″ was actually causing confusion as to the source of the origin for the movie. The Seventh Circuit stated the PHIFTY-50 mark is not the same in appearance as the “50/50″ mark. Although the marks sound the same, the Court, performed a cursory examination of the similarities of the marks and stopped with the lack of similarity in the appearance of the mark. The Court, found that the PHIFTY-50 mark is too weak and a descriptive mark, so that “50/50” mark could be used in a descriptive sense to describe that the main character had a “50/50” percent chance of surviving a surgery involving spinal cyst that had degenerated into cancer of the spine.
Moreover, the Court considered the fact that Wikipedia defined “50/50” as essentially, a fifty to fifty probability of some event occurs or eventuality actually happening. The Court went on to state that there were many third party users that used the terms “50/50” in a descriptive sense and there may be prior users of the mark. However, the Court did not perform an actual “prior user” or “failure to police” analysis. The prevalent of the use of the mark by third parties indicated that the mark was entitled to weaker protection. The Seventh Circuit ignored Second Circuit Case Law considering the constitutional concerns involving the Freedom of Speech, under the First Amendment, in analyzing infringement of descriptive marks. Instead, the Seventh Circuit found that Constitutional issues should not be the first issues to consider in a case. Thus, if a case or final judgment can be entered without considering of a constitutional issue at the pleadings stage, then the constitutional should not be considered as moot.
In this particular case, it appeared that although the Plaintiff alleged prior trademark rights, it would have been a junior user with respect to the other third party users. Moreover, the Supreme Court, precedent indicated that the use of a mark in the title of the intellectual property work can only, infringe the original author’s trademark rights, if, it indicates that the latter author is the origin for the work. This seems to crossover slightly, into the right of attribution in the original author’s copyrights. However, since the Right of Attribution must always be complied with and the title of the original copyrighted work must be cited and referenced; it is hard to imagine how there can be a potential likelihood of confusion? The mark must be placed far away from the actual reference or citation to the original author to engender some likelihood of confusion that may or may not be alleviated based on how close the citation is to the mark or the point of sale or purchase.
Moreover, the Seventh Circuit, seemed to focus on the cost and expense of trademark litigation in holding in light, of the small likelihood of actual confusion the Plaintiff’s had not asserted a trademark infringement claim and dismissed the case on a 12 (b) (6) motion to dismiss. It appeared that the Seventh Circuit seemed to be moving towards a Tomboy and/or Irbal or plausibility analysis for trademark infringement claims. We will see if, this trend continues and if, defense attorneys have a new tool in their arsenal to combat marginal trademark infringement claims.
If you have any concerns or questions on how to prosecute or defend a trademark infringement matter, then please feel free to contact us at http://www.vrplawgroup.com
One of the most practical ways that a business owner can grow his or her business and make it more attractive to investors is by creating an operations and/or process manual. This provides a method of creating knowledge transfer between the owner, employees, and anyone else that may be working for you. It is also a ready source of trade secrets and training materials for new employees. If you can write down what you know, then you have to spend less time revising it to improve on your processes, training replacement employees, identify potential areas of further research and development to develop additional products or services.
After you have taken the time to create an operations plan you can use it to tweak your business plan and corporate strategy. For example, are there processes that are prone to increase risk of liability, if so, then you can think about creating a subsidiary or another company to use to shield the less risky aspects of your business. Maybe, a general commercial liability or products liability insurance policy will effectively help you manage the risk of liability. The operations manual can be used to train new employees and protect against the risk of losing your employees to your competitors. Maybe, you are growing at a rate that exposes you to federal and state employment statutes, and it makes sense in investing in a good employment manual and human resource training program.
Moreover, once you have written down your operations manual not only can you identify areas of innovation, but also potential areas for developing your intellectual property portfolio. The Operations Manual can be the start of an IP development strategy to help create barriers to entry and increase the value of your business. You can develop not only trade secrets, but patents, trademarks, trade dress, and copyrights. In addition, you can identify customers that are generating a large portion of your revenues and try to cater to their need for your products or services. You can identify the traits of these customers that will allow you to find other similar customers to whom you can pitch your product or services.
These customers may also be good sources for strategic alliances and partnerships or some form long term supply or services agreements. Once, you identify who they are you can also develop product or service bundles and/or add on products or services. However, if you have not created a method of tracking who your customers are, then you cannot scale your business. If you have any concerns or questions about your business or corporate planning, then feel free to contact us.
Many trademark owners thinks that their job is done once, they have registered their trademarks. However, trademark law rewards individuals that decrease the costs for consumers to find and identify products and services that they are looking to acquire. In order to facilitate this policy and designation of a source of the quality and nature of the origin of the goods or services, the Lanham Act, the USPTO and Trademark Law protects the owners’ goodwill and marks. But, the failure to properly monitor the mark and ensure that the marks are still able to serve these purposes may lead to a forfeiture or abandonment of the mark.
One of the ways, a trademark owner can lose or abandon his mark, is by engaging in naked licensing. If you have very lax or non-existent methods for ensuring that licensees that are using the mark are not required to meet your level of quality of the goods or services, then you may not be fulfilling the purposes of having your mark serve as an indicator of source, origin and/or quality. If you have oral or implied licenses that do not require payment of royalties, then you may have difficulty enforcing your trademarks in the future.
You may be unable to count on your licensees use to establish continue commercial use of the mark to sell a product or service and may have gaps in your claimed years of use. This may impact your priority rights, your rights to renew, your ability to make a mark incontestable, to sue counterfeiters and cyber squatters and maintain your low customer acquisition costs. Unfortunately, the old adage that if you do not own it you lose it is accurate with respect to trademark law. Moreover, trademarks that are not controlled by their owners and licensees that are not monitored for how they use your trademarks can become more of a liability than an asset.
If you have any concerns or questions about your trademark rights, protecting your barriers to entry and low acquisition costs for consumers, then please feel free to contact a trademark attorney at VRP Law Group.