Welcome to the intellectual property blog for West & Associates. As experts working on the cutting edge of legal matters we will work diligently to provide the most current information available about Patent, Trademark and Copyright Licensing, Procurment (Prosecution) and Litigation. Additional information can always be accessed directly on the United States Patent & Trademark Office website (www.uspto.gov), the U.S. Copyright Office website (www.copyright.gov) or the website for West & Associates (www.westpatentlaw.com).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

International Patents: Do they exist?

Do international patents exist?  The short answer is NO!  However, international Patent Applications do exist.  So, if you can file and international patent application, why can't you get an international patent?

The confusion stems from a vocabulary problem.  A patent application filed under the terms of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is officially called an international patent application.  Practitioners generally don't use the term international patent application--we generally call these applications PCT applications to avoid any confusion.

A PCT application is similar, in some ways, to an international provisional patent application.  Without further action, in the countries in which you want patent protection, it will become abandoned and you will never receive a patent in another country.  If you want patent protection in a foreign country then, during the pendency of the PCT application, a National Stage Application must be filed--this is an application that references (claims priority to) the underlying PCT application.

That national stage application will have an effective filing date based on the PCT application and ONLY the national stage application will become a patent.

So, the general flow for international protection is:

US application ===> PCT Application ===> National Stage Application(s) in foreign country(ies).

There are other paths, but this is one of the most common paths to seek protection overseas.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

LEGO® Loses Trademark Battle in Europe

Lego has lost its trademark in the European Union--Well, sort of.

Today, the Independent, an British newspaper reported as a headline in its business section that Lego lost its trademark in Europe.  While this is accurate, it doesn't really tell the whole story.  The trademark that was recently cancelled by the tribunal was actually related to the shape of the block, not the term LEGO.

What this all means is that competitors to LEGO are now free to make LEGO-type blocks that have the same shape.  However, they can't use the name LEGO.

For the full article online see: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/lego-loses-trademark-battle-2079389.html

Monday, September 13, 2010

In High-Class News: Jersey Shore's "The Situation" has a Trademark Situation

As reported by the Los Angeles Examiner, "the Situation" "star" of the MTV show Jersey Shore has been denied trademark registration for his name based on a clothing retailer who applied for and started selling clothes before he became "the situation."  An interesting lesson about "product" marketing and being first to file.

Read more:  http://www.examiner.com/jersey-shore-in-national/jersey-shore-like-snooki-the-situation-has-a-trademark-situation