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iSummit October 1, 2013 Branding Selecting and Protecting Your Brand Orlando, Florida www.lowndes-law.com Courtney M...

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iSummit October 1, 2013

Branding Selecting and Protecting Your Brand

Orlando, Florida www.lowndes-law.com

Courtney M. Dunn Registered Patent Attorney, Senior Associate

© 2011 Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. All Rights Reserved

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Why should I care about branding?

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

$113.7 B $185 B

$45.7 B

$75.5 B

$69.8 B

$112.5 B BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2013, Millward Brown iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

How your brand can work for you

• Distinguish your business from competitors • Be a revenue producing asset (sale or license) • Be a working asset (security for loan)

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

How others’ brands can work for you Piggyback on the advertising and goodwill of well known brands.

Just be careful… It can also work against you. iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Common Branding Mistakes

• Picking a brand without researching others’ uses first • Picking a brand that can’t be protected (or that is not worth attempting to protect) • Improperly using a trademark

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Dangers of Picking and Using the Wrong Mark • Willful infringement - treble damages • Rebranding after substantial investment • Actual confusion of brand • Expensive to fight infringement suit from either side

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

MCSLEEP™

METRO™

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Advantages of Picking and Using the ‘Right’ Mark • Easier to prevent and stop others from using same/similar mark • Makes your brand stand out among your competitors (you don't want consumers confusing your products/services for products/services of inferior quality) • Easier to build goodwill / consumer confidence with the mark when consumers can clearly differentiate your brand from another's • Avoids the cost of rebranding or litigating questionable trademarks

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Brands are protectable under trademark law Any indicator (name, symbol or slogan) that distinguishes the source of a particular product or service.

TM

® iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Trademark Examples

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Common Misconceptions • Difference between company name and company’s brand º º

e.g The Coca-Cola Company Corporation vs. COCA-COLA® Available corporate name (Sunbiz search) ≠ available or protectable brand

• Difference between company’s domain name and company’s brand º º

e.g. books.com vs. BARNES & NOBLE® Available domain names ≠ available or protectable brand

• Difference between describing goods/services and branding º

e.g. “automobiles” for automobiles vs. LEXUS® for automobiles

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Words

“Apple”, “Yahoo”, “Motorola”

Phrases

“Life’s Good”, “Write Once, Run Anywhere”

Colors

Home Depot Orange

Sounds

(NBC chimes)

Smells

Plumeria scent for sewing thread

Shapes iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Symbols

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Descriptive*

Pet Land

Suggestive

Arbitrary

Dairy Queen

Apple

* Allowable if distinctiveness has been acquired, e.g. McDonald’s

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Fanciful

Google

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Picking the Right Mark: Weak Marks Pet City

Pet World Pet Land

Pet Town

Pet Village

Descriptive marks provide almost NO scope of protection iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Picking the Right Mark: Strong Marks

Banana

Avocado

Apple Cherry

Granny Smith

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Picking the Right Mark: What Cannot be Trademarked? •

Plain Numbers º º

• • • • • • • • •

e.g 586 (Intel) 7-Up is okay

Scandalous Matter Disparaging Matter False Connection Government insignia/Flags Names of the living Surnames* Geographically descriptive* Merely descriptive/mis-descriptive* Corporate name º

GOOGLE® is okay; Google, Inc. is not

• Any mark that would create a likelihood of confusion with a prior trademark • generic *allowable if distinctiveness has been acquired iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Picking the Right Mark – Due Diligence • Internet Search • USPTO search – only applied-for marks • Clearance Search and opinion by an attorney

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

Orlando, Florida | www.lowndes-law.com

Legal Protections Available •



Common Law º Use in Commerce º Free º Use of the ™ symbol State Registration º º º



Available for marks used strictly inside a state Attorney’s fees Use of the ™ symbol

Federal Registration º º º

Use of the ® symbol Provides public notice of ownership claim Creates a legal presumption of a party’s • •

º

Treble damages for willful infringement

iSummit, October 2013 Intellectual Property

ownership of the mark Exclusive right to use the mark

CONTACT INFO

Courtney M. Dunn [email protected] 407-418-6465

Orlando, Florida www.lowndes-law.com

Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, PA 215 North Eola Drive Orlando, FL 32801 www.lowndes-law.com

© 2011 Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. All Rights Reserved