North Bay Business Journal

Monday, November 26, 2012, 6:45 am

Federal trademark official part of iHub seminar

By Loralee Stevens, Special to the Business Journal

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    ROHNERT PARK — If you’ve ever wondered about trademarks, how to get and protect them, there’s a free seminar tomorrow at the iHub in Rohnert Park.

    Craig Morris, an expert in the field and long-time employee of the U.S.  Patent and Trademark Office, is flying out from Washington, D.C., to lead the panel.

    Registration for the 3 p.m. event is on the iHub website (www.northbayihub.org).

    “The USPTO just recently launched the public outreach program,” said Santa Rosa patent attorney Warren Dranit, who arranged the seminar. “There are lots of complicated issues around trademarks and the registration process, such as picking one that won’t get you sued.”

    U.S. trademarks are different than patents and copyrights, and successfully defending one is largely a matter of choosing the right one to start with, he said.

    In addition to Mr. Morris’s discussion, San Francisco intellectual property attorney Carole Barrett will be on hand to talk about international trademarks, which are obtained and defended differently.

    Registering a trademark in the U.S. usually costs about $325 per category, or class, according to Mr. Dranit.

    “If you choose a trademark for wine, that’s one class. But if your trademark also covers beer the registration fee is doubled to $650, or less if certain patent office guidelines are followed,” he said.

    The seminar will cover how to choose a strong, legally defensible trademark, whether an attorney is needed for the registration process and how to select one, how to avoid trademark scams and what to do if you receive a “cease and desist” letter, among other issues.

    The event begins at 3 p.m. at the iHub/Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster, with networking, wine and appetizers to follow. Participants are urged to register in advance.

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