United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Educational Outreach Program

by Brian Fletcher on March 15, 2012

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is looking to partner with colleges and universities, entrepreneurship clubs, and similar groups to present informational lectures on trademarks.  The lectures will be conducted by a USPTO attorney in a location designated by the sponsoring organization.  The target audiences are non-trademark attorneys, the small business community, the entrepreneurial community, and students.

The program starts by discussing the difference between trademarks, copyrights, and patents, as well as domain names and business name registrations.   It then explains, once it is established that trademark protection is appropriate, the importance of selecting a strong mark, that is, one that is both federally registrable and legally protectable.   It highlights factors important when choosing a mark, such as the possibility of a likelihood of confusion, and explains the importance of doing a complete search and whether an attorney should be used.   It identifies other potential grounds for the USPTO to refuse registration.  Finally, it establishes what may happen if another trademark owner believes it has stronger rights in a mark and issues a “cease-and-desist” letter.  It concludes with information on how to find an attorney and the distinction between what the USPTO does in the federal registration process and what a private attorney could do, and how to avoid “scams” perpetrated by companies that request fees for services not required by the USPTO.

If you would like the USPTO to speak to your group on trademarks or for more information about the program, please contact Mr. Craig Morris, Managing Attorney for Trademark Outreach, at craig.morris@uspto.gov or 571-272-9692.

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