Michael Ratoza

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In this age of web-based product marketing and sales, the Federal Circuit provides a reminder that a web page may not suffice as an acceptable specimen to establish use of a trademark with a product. In order to constitute a valid trademark, and to register the trademark, the mark must be used on or with a product. U.S. trademark law provides for three primary ways in which a trademark can be used with a product…
The shut down, or slow down, of various U.S. government offices caused by the budget impasse is doing more than merely inconveniencing visitors to the national parks. The lack of a budget is hampering business and consumers as to their branding, knowledge and creative endeavors. Here are some examples: Federal law requires that all labels for alcoholic beverages must be approved by the Treasury’s Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (the…
Copyrights last a long time, but they do eventually expire. This is now the case with works first published in the U.S. in 1923, and previous. The term of copyright can be confounding since there have been so many modifications to the term over the years. For this purpose, it is useful to consult a term chart. But while different works published or created at different dates may have different terms, the drop dead…
Ordinarily, an employment case does not contain aspects of IP law. But in a very broad sense, some employers view their employees as a form of IP. That is, the employer expends resources to train the employee and the employee acquires valuable business knowledge through on-the-job experience. The employee develops connections with customers and gains insight into business operations. In some sense, the employer views the employee as containing intellectual value for the business. And in…
The U.S. trademark office recently posted a notice concerning the potential for trademark hijacking of pending trademark applications. It is very easy for an unauthorized third party to pose as a trademark applicant or an authorized correspondent and enter non-approved filings in a pending application. As the PTO explains: Unauthorized changes have been made to a number of active trademark applications and registrations. These changes may be part of a scheme to register the marks…