Businesses in Connecticut often look to protect themselves by registering a trademark for their brand of goods or services. In the past, federal law banned people from registering trademarks deemed "immoral" or "scandalous." This provision has been used over the years to prevent the registration of trademarks generally considered to contain foul language. However, the nation's highest court ruled on June 24 that the prohibition violates the First Amendment's free speech protections. The decision paves the way for a clothing company to trademark a name that bears resemblance to a common slang term.
Heavy equipment manufactured by Caterpillar Inc. is a familiar sight on farms and construction sites in Connecticut and around the country, but the Illinois-based company sells sweatshirts, mugs and hats as well as earth movers and diggers. To protect this part of its business, Caterpillar has asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel a Class 25 trademark it granted to a chain of California coffee shops named Cat & Cloud in 2016.
Business owners in Connecticut may wonder if they should pay much attention to intellectual property matters. The answer is a resounding yes, and the reason is because IP is one of the most important assets a business owns. Trademarks, copyrights and patents, the three main types of IP, have some similarities, but there are also important legal differences worth noting.
An increase in commercial opportunities in recent years has contributed to more Connecticut businesses looking to protect unique designs. The World Intellectual Property Organization reports that there has been a sharp rise in the number of trademark application filings: 30 percent in 2017 alone over the previous year. For this reason, businesses are encouraged to be mindful of their trademarks and diligent about their research.
In order to thrive and build good relationships with their customers, businesses in Connecticut have to build a strong brand that evokes the right emotions in their customers' minds. One way of achieving this is through the use of a unique and recognizable company name and logo. However, a business may fall into trouble, be it from a legal or marketing perspective, if these designs or names are already in use by other businesses, which is why it is always advisable for a company to protect its trademark.
Businesses in Connecticut with great intellectual property may be wondering how they can most effectively protect themselves outside the borders of the United States. Many know the benefits of having a federal trademark within the country to protect their brand and image. In addition, trademark holders need to constantly be on guard against infringement in order to preserve their exclusive rights. When companies do not register their trademarks, they could face serious risks to their intellectual property. However, all of these provisions only apply within the borders of the United States.
Connecticut fans of the popular Netflix thriller "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" may not have given much thought to references made to the "Choose Your Own Adventure" book series. However, the publisher of those books has certainly taken notice of the reference, which is why they have filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the online streaming and DVD distribution company. In the film, the thriller's protagonist is attempting to adapt a fictional "Choose Your Own Adventure" book into a video game.
Scouting veterans in Connecticut may be troubled to learn that two classic organizations beloved by many are embroiled in an intellectual property dispute. The Girl Scouts of the USA filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America, after the Boy Scouts began using the trademarks "Scouts" and "Scouting" for activities for girls. The case was filed in November in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In their complaint, the Girl Scouts allege that the Boy Scouts' use of these terms for girls' programming has caused confusion among families looking to participate in Girl Scouting.
Connecticut residents who have trademarks might want to watch their inboxes for emails from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO sent an email out on Oct. 19 to warn about a fraud scheme in which thieves have been trying to hijack trademark files.
Brand identity is an essential part of growing many types of businesses, and trademarks are one of the legal tools used to help protect those identities. These protections, which used to be actual physical imprints, date back to early societies for use on high-quality artisan goods. Today, the trademark, indicated with a TM symbol, represents the legal protection of both physical and digital products. They are most commonly used on company logos for big corporations in Connecticut and throughout the U.S.