Tuesday, January 26, 2010

University Trademarks Versus Small Business Trademark: Dakota Micro's AgCam

Dakota Micro, Inc. is a Geneseo, North Dakota manufacturer of a product called the “AgCam,” a camera that allows farmers to easily monitor farm equipment. By coincidence, students at the University of North Dakota (UND) built a camera to monitor rangeland and crops from space, and also called it the AgCam. As it turns out, UND’s camera didn’t work after it was fired into space with the shuttle Endeavor. Farmers began to doubt the quality of Dakota Micro’s cameras, thinking UND’s “Agcam” was also made by Dakota Micro.

When Dakota Micro confronted UND, and asked them to change the name of their satellite cameras, they responded by having their trademark attorneys file for their own Agcam trademark with the USPTO. But they didn’t stop there. UND is also seeking to cancel Dakota Micro’s trademark. Fortunately for Dakota Micro, they had their trademark lawyer file and obtain their trademark early on. Although Dakota Micro will have to defend itself in court, they had the foresight to register Agcam way back in 2003. Now, seven years later, as Dakota micro is hitting its stride, UND wants to put an end to them over a trademark. Many a successful business has been trounced by a trademark dispute with a bigger fish. This is another story that illustrates why it's so important for small business to regsiter their trademarks as soon as possible.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trademarks for 2010: Clear your Trademark with a Trademark Search First

Why is it so important for you to have your trademark attorney apply for a trademark application? There are many reasons, but before I answer that question, it is even more important to conduct a trademark search first, prior to the adoption of the name you wish to use for your brand or business. Why?

Imagine you did not have your trademark lawyer conduct a search, and you just decided to use a name for your new product. Let’s say you have commenced manufacturing the product and packaging for it, so the name you picked is all over the packaging and on the product itself. Months may go by and sales may be good until one day you receive a cease and desist letter from another company that sells a similar product with the same or similar name. They are threatening you with a trademark infringement lawsuit seeking an injunction and $500,000.00 in damages. Now what? Conducting a simple inexpensive trademark search first can avoid that scenario.

Further, it should be YOU who obtains a federal trademark registrations so if necessary, YOUR attorney can send out similar cease and desist letter to enforce you brand if necessary.

Our firm conducts comprehensive and common law trademark searches all interpreted by Mr. Cohen at the standard of likelihood of confusion. He will provide you with a search report and a follow-up consultation to thoroughly explain the search results and any problematic trademark registrations and applications that already exists.