Business Law Firm Ridgefield CT
A trademark is a word or symbol that identifies a product, company, service, or idea. A logo, brand name, and tagline are the most common examples of trademarks. If you are planning on launching a new product or service, it is recommended that you trademark any eligible branding tool you use to identify your company and your products/services. When you work with a Ridgefield, Connecticut business law firm to register a trademark with The United States Patent and Trademark Office, you become legally permitted to use the ® symbol. An unregistered trademark can only use ‘TM’ or ‘SM’. A registered trademark gives you more protection and the ability to pursue infringement actions in U.S. Federal Court.
The Process of Registering a Trademark
A trademark application can be filed for a mark that is in use, or will be used in the near future. The process can take up to a year or more and will involve an examiner from The United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is partially because the trademark registration process is so complex that your business may benefit from seeking the experienced guidance of a Ridgefield, CT business law firm before starting your USPTO application.
Step 1 – In-Depth Trademark Search
As soon as you are ready to register a trademark with the assistance of the team at Sweeney Legal, LLC, we will gather the necessary information from you and begin a comprehensive federal and state search of common law trademarks. We utilize a special software and database of trademarks that will help us to identify any similar marks that could cause potential issues. This step is very important, and if it is not properly conducted, could cost you time, money, and even disappointment in the future.
Step 2 – Talk with an Intellectual Property Lawyer
Upon commencing work with our Ridgefield, CT business law firm, we’ll be happy to answer any questions or concerns about the trademark registration process and begin the next steps. If we do uncover a problem during the search, we may discuss alternative options such as using a different mark.
Step 3 – File the Trademark Application
Guided by our many years of experience as intellectual property lawyers, our Ridgefield, CT business law firm will prepare you trademark application. Rest assured we have prepared numerous successful applications and understand the many intricacies that are involved in the registration process. It may take up to one year before your mark is approved. As soon as it is, you will be notified.
Additional Trademark Law Services You May Wish to Discuss
- Portfolio management of your trademarks
- Filing for trademark renewals and affidavits
Professional response to any actions by the USPTO
- License and registration of foreign trademarks
- Right of publicity clearance
- Draft and negotiate trademark licenses
- Draft and negotiate distribution agreements
- Draft sponsorship or endorsement agreements
- Mediation, arbitration, or litigation of a trademark
To learn more about our trademark services, or to talk with an intellectual property lawyer, please contact our Ridgefield, Connecticut business law firm today.
Should Your Business Sue for Online Defamation?
Business owners are naturally sensitive to online defamation, that is, false and damaging statements made about their business online, whether published by a major media outlet, a blogger, or on a social media site.
The easiest response is to contact the offender directly and request that they reconsider and delete the offending material. Or simply post a rebuttal in a prominent place. In more serious cases, an attorney from a business law firm in Ridgefield CT can send a cease and desist letter or even file a lawsuit seeking remedial action (e.g., retraction of defamatory material and possibly compensatory damages).
But is filing a lawsuit likely to result in a desirable outcome? It depends on the nature and extent of the statements made against you and your business, as well as the damages you’ve sustained.
Plaintiff Loses Lawsuit Claiming Defamation in Blog Posts
One recent case suggests that defamation lawsuits be approached with caution, as a loss could cost you not only your own attorney fees but also the fees of the defendant which could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In 2018, the United States Court of Appeals issued such a decision. In this case, the defendant (a physician) published a blog post in which he criticized the medical treatment practices of the plaintiff (another physician), stating that certain treatments were “unsupported by medical evidence” and calling the plaintiff’s business a “one-man institute” in Florida which is “a very quack-friendly state.”
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming (1) false advertising under the federal Lanham Act, and (2) unfair competition, trade libel, libel per se, and tortious interference with business relationships under state laws. The court ruled that the blog post did not qualify as “commercial speech” and therefore the Lanham Act would not apply. As to the other claims, the court found that the disputed statements in the blog post did not rise to the level of false and damaging.
Ultimately, the court ruled entirely in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiff’s appeals to higher courts failed. The plaintiff was finally ordered to pay the defendant $260,000 for attorney fees, and the Court of Appeals upheld this award.
Court Supports Plaintiff, Case Moving Forward
In another case, the plaintiff physician filed a lawsuit claiming defamation under the law, arguing that a media company’s broadcast story, online article, and social media posts had greatly exaggerated his cardiac practice’s failures and severely damaged his professional reputation. The complaint stated that the plaintiff suffered loss of income and future opportunities were subjected to unwanted attention and persecution and suffered both physically and emotionally. The suit asked for actual and presumed damages.
The defendant media company sought to dismiss the suit, arguing that they had not acted with malice or with reckless disregard for accuracy.
The judge, however, ruled that headlines in the online article (shown next to a photo of the plaintiff physician) such as “mortality rate over three times the national average,” “babies as sacrificial lambs” and “a total mess with newborn babies” were, in fact, actionable statements. The media company sought to have the case dismissed, however, the court ruled there was sufficient evidence to proceed. As of this writing, the case is still pending.
As can be seen from these two cases, the nature of the defamatory statements plays a significant role in determining whether a case will be successful. Any company or individual who thinks they have been a victim of defamation should contact a business law firm Ridgefield CT.
A Ridgefield CT Business Law Firm Can Fight Your Defamation Case
When false and damaging information is published about you and your business on the internet, you can fight back. You need an experienced and aggressive business law firm Ridgefield CT clients recommend on your side, one who understands the latest laws governing online defamation. To schedule a consultation, call Sweeney Legal, LLC today.
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