Speaking at the June Knowledge Session sponsored by the Baltimore/Washington chapter of Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI), Craig K. Morris, managing attorney for trademark outreach at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, suggested that insights from an attorney could save a lot of time and expense in the long run.
“We need to remember that yes, this is a creative process, but it is also a legal process,” said Morris, who recently embarked on an awareness campaign on behalf of the USPTO to help companies understand the process and where to turn for help and information.
“You need to make sure that not only is your mark legally protectable, but that it’s also register-able and not infringing on someone else’s mark,” he said.
Begin with a search – is the mark (a word, phrase, symbol or design) already registered? Is the mark similar? Is there a likelihood of confusion? Are the goods and services related?
The USPTO website, www.uspto.gov, has instructional videos, fact sheets, FAQs and more, including the search system TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System) to view what has been registered in a company or client’s category.
Morris joined brand strategy and design expert Wendy Baird, principal and president, Insight180, Ellicott City, Md., who kicked off the session with a review of the name development and creative process undertaken by others at the table.
Founded in 1935, Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI) is the worldwide organization dedicated to ethical standards, continuing professional development, knowledge sharing, mentoring students and advancing free enterprise. For more information about the Baltimore/Washington chapter, visit www.smeibaltimore.org
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