There are a number of intellectual property myths that attorneys
hear over and over again. Periodically, we'll feature
some of these myths and examine the reality.
Myth: Because my company sells only in the
United States, we don't need to worry about protecting our
Reality: Although trademark rights are
territorial in nature, in some countries use is not required to
obtain rights. In these countries, notably including China,
trademark priority goes to the first person to file an application
(often called "first-to-file" jurisdictions), regardless
of whether or not the applicant is using or even plans to use the
trademark in that country.
Consider, for example, a company located in the United States that
sells its products exclusively in the United States, but
manufactures goods or has suppliers in China. It would be
possible for a third party to register the U.S. company's
trademarks in China and then bring or threaten a lawsuit. It
might be that a Chinese court would dismiss these claims, but many
trademark owners decide that obtaining foreign trademark
registrations in first-to-file jurisdictions is a worthwhile
investment to reduce the risks of facing a foreign trademark threat
For another example, consider a company that sells a popular
consumer product in the United States. Even if the company
has no activity in China and never intends to -- it may want to
obtain a Chinese trademark registration as a way to try to deter
A trademark attorney can provide advice on whether it is possible
to obtain trademark protection in a foreign country without use in
that country and the benefits it may provide based on individual
Here is a technique for rapidly drafting claims, for a patent application. This is a brainstorming mechanism that works for one person, or two, or more, and uses a free-form drawing or diagram to both gather words and prompt writing.
The PTO launched the Post Prosecution Pilot Program, which affords patent applicants an attractive alternative to the procedures currently available for responding to "finally" rejected patent applications.
The second prong of the Alice test is commonly abbreviated as requiring an "inventive concept." Of course, that same nomenclature is used by many international patent laws as a synonym for nonobviousness.
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