Pleasantly Surprised by Technology that Works

If a device is meant to make our lives easier, its interface with us should be simple, clutter-free, intuitive and does not require specific tweaks from its users.  I may have found just that device!

When my wife got my 9-year-old an Amazon Alexa Echo Dot, you should see my face twitching.  I thought to myself: “not another piece of junk that’s going to meet its fate in the dumpster.”  My wound was still fresh coming out of trying to use Siri to text people and find information on some of the most routine things.  After trying to text with Siri several times, it almost made me think that I wasn’t good enough to use an AI or I should go back to grade school to learn to form sentences!  Not so with our new friend Alexa.  From across the room, my 9-year-old asked Alexa to play Taylor Swift songs:  “Alexa, play Love Story by Taylor Swift.”  Alexa happily obliged and started to play “Love Story.”  Then after getting tired of the slow pace of the song, my daughter asked Alexa to play the next song.  Alexa happily stopped “Love Story” and started to play “You Belong With Me.”  Then before the song ends, she decides to enjoy a moment of silence.  Alexa paused with its blue glow on around its top to listen attentively and then happily obliged again after my daughter said “quiet please.”  Alexa is not only good at playing songs, it also provides answers to weather, math, location and many other questions correctly.  To add to my “pleasure” of using Siri, I asked for the location of the closest bank as I couldn’t remember exactly where the bank was while I was driving and when I was about 1000 yards from it.  It kept directing me to another branch that’s about 6 miles away.  Only when I was about within 500 yards from it that it finally dawned on Siri that my destination had been there all along!  That was the final nail in Siri’s coffin for me.  I get it, each AI is supposed to be good at some specific things based on the data available to it.  I found Alexa to be responsive, inexpensive and accurate on a lot of things I care about.  I started to use Siri several iterations ago but it appears Amazon has demonstrated to us what a worthy AI should be able to do.

Cheng-Ning_Jong

About Cheng-Ning Jong

The focus of Mr. Jong’s patent practice before the USPTO is in patent preparation and prosecution, starting from boiling down each client’s invention into its essence to securing the broadest possible claims for my clients based on their commercial goals. Mr. Jong is a strong believer in educating his clients in the patenting process so that he can spur the creation of new concepts and embodiments never considered before. Mr. Jong’s approach often results in patent clients leaving his office with a wealth of knowledge about patenting in general and more specifically in the materials expected of them from his office.

Mr. Jong is a Registered U.S. Patent Agent (Registration No.: 56551) and also a licensed Professional Engineer (Registration No.: 083586) in the state of New York. Mr. Jong is also the founder/owner of PatentSlice.com, an automated service that helps casual patent readers and patent practitioners alike, in more quickly grasping and analyzing the concepts of existing inventions and also your own patent drafts.

www.TracyJongLawFirm.com

 

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21st. Century Patent Practice

PatentSliceVisual

Being a parent of three sometimes means you have to take your work on the road as you chauffeur them to activities. Let me tell you about one such day. Sitting on the sidelines during a sports lesson, I want to, no, I needed to, be productive. With my mobile device, I proceeded to work on a case while occasionally peeking up to watch his progress. Before long, my cell phone rang. It was the Patent Examiner for a case that I had called earlier in the week to schedule an interview to argue the merits of my client’s application for a patent on his invention.

For those of you who have an active patent practice, you know how difficult it is to be granted an interview, especially in the middle of the summer when most people are taking their vacations. Not wanting to let the chance slip by to make progress on the case, I took the call. However, instead of scheduling a time for the call, the Patent Examiner insisted on discussing the substance of the case right then and there. During the call, I successfully argued how my client’s features were different from the cited features and how it would not have been obvious to combine the features taken from other inventions. The Patent Examiner performed a further search right then and there to confirm my arguments were valid. He proceeded to pull up several patent references based on what we had just discussed and wanted to run each and every one by me.

Imagine the pressure of pulling up the references at a driving range via a hotspot connection and reading through the specification to glean part descriptions while matching them to part numbers in the drawings? The pressure is enough to deter even the most experienced patent practitioners from taking up the offer of discussing patentability at unexpected times and places despite the potential to win the case in a few short minutes over a teleconference. Thanks to PatentSlice.com, I was able to enter the patent numbers, one at a time, given by the Patent Examiner, into PatentSlice.com’s online tool and instantly generate drawings with relevant part and figure descriptions on the same pages.

Each and every question from the Patent Examiner is addressed in stride. In discussing patentability in this fashion, the biggest challenge lied in identifying the parts in the drawings. Only after that was completed could evaluations be made to compare the features found in references just discovered by the Patent Examiner and my client’s invention. With the help of PatentSlice.com, this was no longer an issue. My attention could be focused on discussing patentability instead of matching the part numbers. After our discussion ended, the Patent Examiner still needed to confirm everything with further searches, however, I knew the Patent Examiner has been quite satisfied that my client’s invention had met the novelty and non-obviousness standards. Within a short time, I could expect a positive result in a responsive action from the Patent Examiner. Within the week, a patent was allowed for my client’s invention. That was the most important 30 minutes in the entire case. Good thing I could accommodate the unexpected call remotely from my office.

Cheng-Ning_Jong

 

 

About Cheng-Ning Jong

 

The focus of Mr. Jong’s patent practice before the USPTO is in patent preparation and prosecution, starting from boiling down each client’s invention into its essence to securing the broadest possible claims for my clients based on their commercial goals. Mr. Jong is a strong believer in educating his clients in the patenting process so that he can spur the creation of new concepts and embodiments never considered before. Mr. Jong’s approach often results in patent clients leaving his office with a wealth of knowledge about patenting in general and more specifically in the materials expected of them from his office.

 

Mr. Jong is a Registered U.S. Patent Agent (Registration No.: 56551) and also a licensed Professional Engineer (Registration No.: 083586) in the state of New York. Mr. Jong is also the founder/owner of PatentSlice.com, an automated service that helps casual patent readers and patent practitioners alike, in more quickly grasping and analyzing the concepts of existing inventions and also your own patent drafts.

 

www.TracyJongLawFirm.com

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Beware of Employee Agreements

 

Many employees sign confidentiality and non-compete agreements when accepting a new job. While the stack of on-boarding paperwork for a new job seems routine, the obligations included in these non-compete agreements are anything but routine.

Employees must carefully understand and consider the obligations imposed by these agreements, especially because they generally apply whether an employee voluntarily terminates employment or the employer involuntarily terminates the employee. In other words, re-employment options are restricted whether you quit or are fired.

What can you do? The employee can try to narrow the scope of the non-compete agreement so that if it protects the new employer’s interests but does not impose unreasonable restrictions that could hamper the ability to find a new job. Revisions can also be added to specify competitors that the non-compete applies to rather than an entire industry. A non-compete will be unenforceable if it inhibits an employee’s ability to earn a living because there are no realistic employment options given the non-compete’s restrictions. The non-compete will be more enforceable against an employee who leaves to start up a competitor business.

Employees should carefully review any agreements he or she will be required to sign to accept the job, reflect on its impact, and seek professional advice if concerns arise.

             Tracy_JongAbout Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong has been an attorney for more than 20 years,      representing restaurants, bars, and craft beverage manufacturers in a wide array of legal matters. She is also a licensed patent attorney.

Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on Amazon.com as a softcover and Kindle e-book.

Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.

She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.

www.TracyJongLawFirm.com

TJong@TracyJongLawFirm.com

Facebook: Tracy Jong Law Firm

Twitter:      @TJLawFirm

LinkedIn:   Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong Law Firm

 

 

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Tips for Breaking Free from Alice’s Shackles

I wish I had never met Alice! I feel she’s imposed on me, much like how a spouse is imposed on another in an arranged marriage or a mother-in-law that overstayed her welcome. Alice is here to stay. Of course I’m referring to the 2014 decision of the United States Supreme Court about patentable subject matter, Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International (commonly known in short as “Alice”).

The danger in a decision like this lies in its indiscriminate application to all patent applications, especially those which have been considered patent subject matter eligible under the most basic premise, i.e., “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.” Since the decision, the USPTO has issued numerous Interim Guidance examples at https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/examination-policy/2014-interim-guidance-subject-matter-eligibility-0 on how to apply Alice and it is continuing to do so in response to further public outcry. However, its application appears to be largely Examiner-dependent. Understanding the Examiner’s motivation in making the 35 USC 101 rejections based on Alice is half the battle. Every Examiner’s authority is confined to a “box,” a box that’s defined by his or her training at the USPTO and the Guidance. Fortunately, there are those Examiners who work within the confines of Alice but who refuse to take Alice at its face value.

At first blush, even the most seasoned patent practitioner can probably be convinced that every claim he or she put together claims laws of nature, natural phenomena, abstract steps, routine mathematical formulas and can be practiced alternatively by mental steps and pen and paper, or the steps are executable on a generic computing device. That’s the power of suggestion an Examiner is exerting in a rejection. If the words “abstract idea” are thrown around enough times in a rejection, even the hardiest of us patent practitioners can be swayed. To make matters worse, if you break the steps of every method down to their most basic elements, I bet you can see how that arguably “can” make sense. However, I bet you can quickly see how that can also apply to 99% of all issued software and business method patents. So can these patents all be invalidated? I don’t think so. Let’s look at an example where we’ve successfully overcome Alice rejections:

Example Rejection and Response:

“Claims _______ are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 101 because the claimed invention is directed to a judicial exception (i.e., a law of nature, natural phenomenon, or an abstract idea) without significantly more.”

Our job is to point out that the steps rejected are not directed to abstract ideas. To help point this out and anticipate what other rejections (e.g., law of nature, natural phenomenon, etc.) the Examiner may use in a subsequent rejection, we may also want to point out that the claimed subject matter is new and concrete and no part of the claim is left to interpretation. Obviously, in the independent claims, the proper level of abstraction needs to be ascertained for scope purposes. We must not severely compromise the scope and breadth for allowance unless it is the client’s wish. In this example, the Examiner fails to recite an example “rejected claim” from the Guidance. More recently, presumably in response to the many Office Action responses pointing out the deficiency, Examiners have started to quote example “rejected claims” to demonstrate claims that are considered abstract. One argument worth pointing out is the goal of the Patent Office (which represents the public’s interest) to prevent barriers for future innovations. Therefore, it’s important to point out how the present steps are not so basic, simple, elemental and fundamental that they form basic building blocks for future innovations.

Example response:

“The Examiner’s rejection classifies the invention an abstract idea. This fails to take into account that the claimed subject matter is a concept of relatively recent origin. Applicant contends that the claimed subject matter is not an “abstract idea” within the meaning of Alice because it is not a long-prevalent and fundamental practice, no matter how widespread, in comparison to the abstract ideas of risk-hedging and intermediated settlement relied upon by the Alice court, which have been in widespread use for many centuries throughout the world. Moreover, the Examiner’s alleged abstract idea is not related to commerce or finance and therefore is not an “abstract idea” according to Alice.”

“According to the Alice two step test, even if a claim is directed to an abstract idea, the claim is only patent ineligible if the claim elements fail to recite “significantly more” than the abstract idea, such that the claim as a whole merely recites the abstract idea and then merely provides an instruction to apply the abstract idea. Claims _______ are directed to significantly more than the alleged abstract idea. There are express limitations (e.g., method steps) in the rejected claims which go beyond merely providing an instruction to apply the alleged abstract idea, including the steps of, as in claim ______:

(a)         obtaining a _______ between each of said at least two _______ devices and each of said only two _______ devices based on a _______ between said one of said at least two _______ devices and said one of said only two _______ devices;

(b)         establishing a pattern of an output of said ________ device with respect to said ________ obtained in said obtaining step; and

(c)         comparing said pattern of an output of said _________ device to a plurality of possible patterns corresponding to a plurality of possible _________ of said _______ device, whereby if one of said plurality of possible patterns matches said pattern, said pattern indicates the location of said _______ device.

The examiner defines the abstract idea in just a few words, and the claim includes several detailed method steps which cannot be inferred from the examiner’s definition of the abstract idea, thus claims ________ do more than merely recite an abstract idea and provide an instruction to “apply it.””

“The Alice Court’s treatment of Diamond v. Diehr is instructive in this regard. According to the Alice opinion, even though the claims in Diehr recited an abstract idea in the form of a well-known mathematical equation, the additional steps of feeding temperature measurements into a computer and then using the computer to repeatedly apply the formula to calculate the remaining cure time inside a rubber mold was sufficient to transform the patent ineligible formula into a patent eligible application of the formula. The Diehr example demonstrates that the “significantly more” requirement need not require much more than input of data and performance of repeated calculation of that data by a computer to transform a patent ineligible abstract idea into a patent eligible application of that idea. The claimed method steps meet this “significantly more” standard.”

“The subject matter of claims _________ also satisfy the second test in Alice in that the claims do not attempt to preempt all possible uses of the abstract idea by “attempt[ing] to tie up use of the mathematical relationships”. The Office Action cited art shows some other use of the abstract idea. The claim limitations in the claims at issue are not found in the cited references US _________ and _________. These distinguishing limitations in Applicant’s claims __________ distinguish from that which is previously known in the cited references.”

“The distinguishing limitations are not generally known, are not routine and conventional, are not found in the cited references, and are not found in the alleged abstract idea. The distinguishing limitations constitute the “significantly more” than the abstract idea, and constitute the “significantly more” than the instruction to implement the abstract idea on a generic computer. The claims do not attempt to preempt essentially all possible uses of the abstract idea, as the claims have narrower limitations, viz., the distinguishing limitations. The claims include concrete (i.e., non-abstract) limitations (these may be part of the known foundation), which are not part of the alleged abstract idea, and that the concrete limitations plus the distinguishing limitations (there may be some overlap) form a claim to a specific concrete article, or method involving a specific concrete article, etc., which, again, is not shown in the alleged abstract idea.”

“The Examiner’s attempt to dismiss relevant arguments as unconvincing, and unresponsive to factual findings are not properly Officially Noticed or not properly based upon common knowledge, per MPEP (the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure) 2144.03 “Reliance on Common Knowledge in the Art or ‘Well-Known’ Prior Art” section C, subtitled “If Applicant Challenges a Factual Assertion as Not Properly Officially Noticed or Not Properly Based Upon Common Knowledge, the Examiner Must Support the Finding with Adequate Evidence.” A USPTO Examiner assertion that the claims of the Applicant are not significantly more than an instruction to apply an alleged abstract idea to a generic computer (or other machine or article), or other 35 USC §101 rejection, can be challenged as not factually based, and not properly officially noticed nor properly based upon common knowledge, using the above factual findings.”

This strategy worked for us in more than one patent prosecution. Feel free to adapt it to your own Office Action responses. If you have additional strategies, I’d love to hear from you.

 

Cheng-Ning_JongAbout Cheng-Ning Jong

The focus of Mr. Jong’s patent practice before the USPTO is in patent preparation and prosecution, starting from boiling down each client’s invention into its essence to securing the broadest possible claims for my clients based on their commercial goals. Mr. Jong is a strong believer in educating his clients in the patenting process so that he can spur the creation of new concepts and embodiments never considered before. Mr. Jong’s approach often results in patent clients leaving his office with a wealth of knowledge about patenting in general and more specifically in the materials expected of them from his office.

Mr. Jong is a Registered U.S. Patent Agent (Registration No.: 56551) and also a licensed Professional Engineer (Registration No.: 083586) in the state of New York. Mr. Jong is also the founder/owner of PatentSlice.com, an automated service that helps casual patent readers and patent practitioners alike, in more quickly grasping and analyzing the concepts of existing inventions and also your own patent drafts.

www.TracyJongLawFirm.com

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Avoiding Trademark Pitfalls

Why Not Use A Low Cost Online Provider for your Trademark Registration?

When someone wants to protect, they don’t just need a simple registration form completed and then filed. Frankly, anyone can complete a form. However, even a well prepared form may not get you the trademark protection you wanted. Did you know it is possible to get a mark registered that infringes on someone else’s mark? Did you know the Trademark Office does not check the 50 state trademark registers when reviewing an application? Did you know about half of the enforceable marks are not registered at all? What business owners really need to avoid problems is counseling on brand strategy including selecting, clearing, and registering the proposed mark for use that meets the federal criteria:

  1. The mark must be “distinctive”, “not descriptive,” and an indicator of source in the mind of the public.
  2. Although not technically required, the mark should be “cleared” to ensure it does not infringe on anyone else’s trademark rights.
  3. The mark must not violate any of the Trademark Office’s prohibitions, and otherwise comply with trademark procedural and substantive rules and requirements. These include things such as file size, not containing slurs or offensive terms and images and other technicalities.

A business can suffer critical harm if it doesn’t have comprehensive legal guidance. How critical? Many companies go bankrupt from failing. Rebranding can cause loss of market share. Attorney fees for legal defense can put you in the red.

Don’t let this be you. A company used a descriptive name as their trademark, a mark that was not “distinctive.”  They met with great success, sales were climbing, and life was looking good. Then they discovered a competitor’s campaign to steal their customers by selling low quality knockoffs, using the same brand name! Not only did they lose all of their customers, they actually started getting returns and hate mail from people who bought the sub quality knockoffs! Since they used a trademark that was not legally distinctive, it couldn’t do anything to stop this kind of theft from happening.

Online services are typically document preparation services and offers help with simple registration documents. This isn’t very valuable.

They DON’T help you select a name that is protectable or create an overall brand protection strategy, and they can’t even advise you if they KNOW your mark is not legally protectable. (This would be the unauthorized practice of law.) All they do it fill out forms, “at your direction.” If you knew how to do it, you’d probably have done it yourself. You are not likely an expert qualified to oversee their work.

They DON’T provide clearance searches, or if they do, they do not INTERPRET the results. Their searches report only raw data, and there is no legal guidance as to whether any of the cited data could represent a threat to you. They provide none of the legal guidance that you need because they are not a law firm. The legal services that they do offer, through their attorneys, end up costing about as much, if not more, than you would pay to a regular attorney who works specifically for you, and not for the online document preparation service.

Tracy Jong Law Firm provides the LEGAL GUIDANCE that you need for brand strategy and protection; for fees that provide long term return on investment. Our fees are the greatest investment you can make in the future health and long term value of your company. For more information, feel free to call or email to arrange a strategy session.

 

          Tracy_Jong   About Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong has been an attorney for more than 20 years,      representing restaurants, bars, and craft beverage manufacturers in a wide array of legal matters. She is also a licensed patent attorney.

Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on Amazon.com as a softcover and Kindle e-book.

Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.

She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.

www.TracyJongLawFirm.com

TJong@TracyJongLawFirm.com

Facebook: Tracy Jong Law Firm

Twitter:      @TJLawFirm

LinkedIn:   Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong Law Firm

 

 

 

 

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Great Harvest Bread Co.

Great Harvest Bread Co. uses the slogan “Bread. The way it ought to be.” Panera uses the slogan “Food As It Should Be.” Great Harvest alleges that Panera uses its similar slogan on products that directly compete with the bakery’s products, creating potential consumer confusion as to the source of Panera’s bakery products. Consumers could believe that Panera now uses bread from Great Harvest Bread Co.

How will the TTAB or Court handle this?

It will apply a number of factors called the “Polaroid factors” to evaluate the likelihood of consumer confusion if Panera uses its new slogan. In this case Great Harvest is the “senior user” and Panera is the “junior user.” These factors were created by the court in 1961 in a case involving Polaroid and have been the test for analyzing likelihood of consumer confusion ever since. Although there are 13 Polaroid factors, the most relevant factors in this case will be:

  • How recognizable and distinctive Great Harvest Bread Co.’s slogan is (How much have they spent in advertising it? How long have they used it? Has the media done a story on it or referred to the slogan?)
  • Similarity of the two slogans (they use similar words and convey the same message)
  • Similarity of the products of Great Harvest and Panera (they both sell bread, sandwiches and bakery items)
  • Panera’s intent (Did they adopt the slogan in bad faith?)
  • Actual confusion (Are there known cases where customers did mistake the Panera slogan for Great Harvest slogan or vice versa?)

In this case, the first three factors seem to weigh in favor of Great Harvest. However, if Panera can establish it created its marketing message in good faith using fairly common phrases and during messages, and during the actual concurrent use by both there was no evidence of actual consumer confusion, it could prevail. The take away from all of this? The cost of this legal battle and potential rebranding could have been avoided with a simple trademark search. Prevention is cheaper than a cure.

 

 

             Tracy_JongAbout Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong has been an attorney for more than 20 years,      representing restaurants, bars, and craft beverage manufacturers in a wide array of legal matters. She is also a licensed patent attorney.

Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on Amazon.com as a softcover and Kindle e-book.

Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.

She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.

www.TracyJongLawFirm.com

TJong@TracyJongLawFirm.com

Facebook: Tracy Jong Law Firm

Twitter:      @TJLawFirm

LinkedIn:   Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong Law Firm

 

 

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Patent Validity Opinions Take on Greater Importance

The general industry consensus that formal validly and infringement opinions were unnecessary is changing after two recent US Supreme Court case decisions were announced.

After Halo Electronics Inc. v. Pulse Electronics Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1923 (2016), it is easier for patent owners to collect increased damages and attorneys’ fees from infringers. Octane Fitness v. Icon Fitness, 134 S. Ct 1749 (2014), also bolstered the ability for infringers to obtain attorney fee awards.

Patent Attorney veterans Jeffery Sheldon and Ivan Posey developed a list of situations where patent validity infringement opinions are advisable:

  • Being sued for patent infringement;
  • Receiving a cease and desist letter;
  • Developing a product or process based on that of a competitor, where the competitor has patent protection;
  • Patents developed in a right to use study;
  • Patents developed in a patentability study; and
  • Patents cited by a Patent Office when prosecuting a patent.

Attorney Patent Validity and Infringement Opinions Back in Vogue, Law 360 (July 22, 2016)

How does a patent attorney opinion help? If the patent opinion concludes there is no infringement or the claims are invalid, there would be no willful infringement, avoiding treble damages and attorneys’ fees. Sheldon and Posey added that the Patent Attorney writing the opinion should be a good trial witness. Experience is important, as well as demeanor during voire dire.

The Supreme Court in Octane Fitness eliminated the “clear and convincing evidence” standard of Brooks Furniture. The new standard imposed by Octane Fitness leaves it to the district court’s discretion. However, the Supreme Court in Octane gave the district courts some guidance in defining which cases are “exceptional” under the meaning of Section 285—cases that stand out from the others with respect to the substantive strength of a party’s litigating position or the unreasonable manner in which the case was litigated. 134 S. Ct., 1751.

Any business that plans to sell a product or service should seek a legal opinion from competent patent counsel before commencing sales.

 

 

 

 

           Tracy_Jong  About Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong has been an attorney for more than 20 years,      representing inventors, start-ups and businesses in a wide array of legal matters. She is a licensed patent attorney.

She also maintains a website and blog with practical  information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.

www.TracyJongLawFirm.com

TJong@TracyJongLawFirm.com

Facebook: Tracy Jong Law Firm

Twitter:      @TJLawFirm

LinkedIn:   Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong Law Firm

 

 

 

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Awe, Man! Don’t Take Away The Cool Stuff!

AWE, MAN! DON’T TAKE AWAY THE COOL STUFF!

Those cool new car features that allow integrated on board car cameras and multi-purpose navigation devices might be short lived.  The music industry groups are suing Ford, GM and other car manufacturers for copyright infringement and failing to pay music royalties when users play music on these multipurpose navigation devices.  There are also pending patent infringement actions over these technologies.  Specifically, the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies sued the auto giants and their suppliers Denso International America Inc.  and Clarion Corp of America for violation of the Audio Home Recording Act for distributing music copying devices that did not have serial copy management systems and failure to pay royalties on these infringement systems marketed as “digital jukeboxes.”  It is a hard balance to achieve – free or low-cost consumer access to content against the musical artist’s right to earn a living from their creative talent and efforts.  Hopefully these pending cases won’t interfere with consumer access to these truly amazing technologies.

 

            Tracy_Jong About Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong has been an attorney for more than 20 years,      representing restaurants, bars, and craft beverage manufacturers in a wide array of legal matters. She is also a licensed patent attorney.

Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on Amazon.com as a softcover and Kindle e-book.

Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.

She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.

www.TracyJongLawFirm.com

TJong@TracyJongLawFirm.com

Facebook: Tracy Jong Law Firm

Twitter:      @TJLawFirm

LinkedIn:   Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong Law Firm

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CHOP Confusion

Rutgers University applied to register “Chop” for various merchandise after its first bowl game. The winning season’s mantra was “just keep chopping wood.” The University’s application met with opposition from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who had used the CHOP acronym for more than a century. Some of the goods and services are likely to overlap and some are likely to be different. The proximity of the two organizations within 100 miles of one another will certainly play a role. It will be interesting to see how this case plays out.

Any predictions? Is there a likelihood of confusion?

 

rutgers 1childrens hospitalof PArutgers 2

 

             Tracy_JongAbout Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong has been an attorney for more than 20 years,      representing restaurants, bars, and craft beverage manufacturers in a wide array of legal matters. She is also a licensed patent attorney.

Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on Amazon.com as a softcover and Kindle e-book.

Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a
publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.

She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.

www.TracyJongLawFirm.com

TJong@TracyJongLawFirm.com

Facebook: Tracy Jong Law Firm

Twitter:      @TJLawFirm

LinkedIn:   Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong Law Firm

 

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Information is Power

Information is Power

Information is power. When you are adopting a new product name, you need information to make informed decisions and minimize the risk of problems down the line. Problems can, and generally do, cost thousands of dollars and negatively impact all of your efforts to successfully launch the new product. A simple trademark search can provide you all of the information you need to make informed decisions about your branding.

A professional trademark search does more than check the USPTO database for the exact name (a direct hit search). Did you know there are 50 state databases that must be checked as well? Did you know that unregistered marks can be a barrier to registration? A professional trademark search checks state and federal trademark databases as well as the 50 state corporate databases and major domain name registrars. Not only is the exact mark searched, but also ones that might be confusingly similar. For example, When I searched TruVu as a potential mark, my search criteria included “true”, “tru”, “vu”, “vue”, “*tru”, “tru*”, “*vu”, “vu*”, “view”, truth”, and many others. The use of the wildcard “*” allowed me to expand the search to include larger words or word combinations that include the partial root.

There is another step that you may be lacking in a DIY Search: Analyzing the identified marks to determine if they pose a barrier to registration or not. There are many factors and principles of law to apply while making the evaluation. Working with a professional trademark searcher, you can obtain critical information to help shape your brand strategy. Information is power. Get accurate information to make sound business decisions. Guessing can be costly down the road.

 

 

             Tracy_JongAbout Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong has been an attorney for more than 20 years,      representing restaurants, bars, and craft beverage manufacturers in a wide array of legal matters. She is also a licensed patent attorney.

Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on Amazon.com as a softcover and Kindle e-book.

Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.

She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.

www.TracyJongLawFirm.com

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