The Terrifying New York Definition of a Franchise

It is all too easy for an intellectual property practitioner in the US to fall into the bad habit of assuming that everything about IP is the same in every state of the US.  The other day a discussion in the E-Trademarks listserv offered a reminder of a particularly nasty trap for the unwary — the terrifying New York definition of a franchise.

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Fresh air from the Trademark Office

It’s easy to gripe when the USPTO does something, or proposes to do something, that makes it harder to get a patent or harder to register a trademark.  But it’s only fair to recognize those times when USPTO gets things right by making something easier or better.  As a recent example, the USPTO got it right when it relaxed certain requirements for getting a patent application onto Track I.  And the USPTO got it right when it relaxed rules for CPAs in design patent applications.  Now USPTO has proposed rules which would make it easier (and cheaper) to get and renew a trademark registration.

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What USPTO should do — make patent assignments viewable

USPTO, in response to pressure from the White House and from big companies that are recipients of cease-and-desist letters, recently published proposed rules with a stated goal of promoting transparency in ownership of patents.  There are many things wrong (blog) with the proposed rules.  But there is a simple thing that the USPTO could do to promote transparency in ownership of patents that would not require rulemaking at all — make patent assignments viewable.

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A blog with a name – “Ant-like Persistence”

About two months ago I launched this blog.  It took me a while, but now I have picked a name for the blog.  The alert reader will recall Learned Hand’s (perhaps backhanded) compliment to patent practitioners, citing their “ant-like persistence” (Lyon v. Boh, 1 F.2d 48, 50 (S.D.N.Y.1924).  With a nod to those patent practitioners who at the start of the twentieth century exhibited the ant-like persistence that inspired Learned Hand to write this colorful phrase, I hereby dub this the “Ant-like Persistence” blog.

Best Practice: using USPTO’s Financial Profile system

USPTO has many e-commerce systems that are well known to practitioners and applicants — EFS-Web for e-filing patent documents, TEAS for e-filing trademark documents, ESTTA for e-filing TTAB documents to name three examples.  But I find it remarkable how few practitioners and applicants know anything about USPTO’s Financial Profile system.  The Financial Profile system is (or should be) a central part of the bookkeeping workflow for any patent firm or trademark firm and for any corporate patent department or corporate trademark department.

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