Vic Lin

Why founders should search trademarks before incorporation

Why a trademark search before incorporation makes sense One common pitfall of incorporating is selecting a company name without first conducting a trademark search. Typically, founders consult with a corporate attorney to see if their desired corporate name is available for incorporation without any regard to the possibility that others may have registered a similar […]

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Patenting for startups: Where to begin

Keep your concepts confidential One of the most common pitfalls of startups is the failure to keep otherwise patentable concepts confidential until after applying for a patent. Many entrepreneurs do not realize that US patent laws provide inventors with a 1-year grace period – namely, you have only one year from the earliest date of […]

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When should a startup file a trademark application?

When the name of your company is also the name of your product It’s best to conduct a trademark search for your company name even before incorporating if possible. A search will provide not only peace of mind, but also a helpful assurance that you ought to be able to sell product under the company […]

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When is a trademark primarily merely a surname?

What is a surname trademark? If you are attempting to register a mark that constitutes a surname, there is a good chance your trademark application may be refused for being primarily merely a surname [see TMEP Section 1211]. In such cases, it might be possible to register the mark depending upon a number of factors. […]

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How to Defend a Trademark Cancellation

What is a trademark cancellation proceeding? A trademark cancellation proceeding is basically a mini-lawsuit to kill a trademark registration. Cancellations deal with only registered trademarks, and not pending applications. In what court or government agency are trademark cancellations held? Trademark cancellations are held before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), which is a part […]

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What is an Advisory Action (AA)?

What is an Advisory Action? An Advisory Action may be issued only in the context of responding to a Final Office Action. It usually comes up when an applicant files an after-final response (i.e., without a Request for Continued Examination). Why do examiners issue Advisory Actions? If such an after-final response does not place the […]

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What is a nonprovisional patent application?

What is a nonprovisional patent application? A nonprovisional patent application is what you file to get a utility patent.¬†You would think that a simpler name could’ve been created, but the “nonprovisional” adjective distinguishes this utility application from another utility filing called a provisional patent application. If you think of a granted utility patent as the […]

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What is a provisional patent application (PPA)?

What is a provisional patent application? A utility patent, and not a design patent, is the end goal of a provisional patent application. As implied by its name, filing a “provisional” application alone will not get you a utility patent. It is a temporary placeholder that requires you to follow up with a timely non-provisional […]

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What is an independent claim?

Why do independent claims matter? If you are applying for a utility patent, it is absolutely critical that you understand how independent claims work. In order for a product or service to be covered by a utility patent, at least one independent claim must be infringed. And infringement means that each element of the independent […]

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Flat Rate Patent Applications: Who, What, How?

What is a flat rate patent application? Flat rate initial filing A flat rate patent application generally refers to a patent application that is initially drafted and filed for a fixed fee. While I don’t have statistics, it seems that flat rates are more common for design patent applications where the initial preparation of the […]

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