Domain Trademarks

November 13th, 2007

A frequent question among Internet entrepreneurs is “Can I trademark a domain name?” The answer is yes – in some cases. Generally, the rule is that you can trademark a domain name if it is original and not just a combination of ordinary dictionary words. Legal authority has the following to say on the matter:

 “For instance, while domain names that use common or descriptive terms, such as or, may work very well to bring users to a website, they usually do not qualify for much trademark protection.”

 These domains, while catchy and memorable, are really just combinations of ordinary words that all people use. Instead, if you want to trademark your domain, it needs to be distinctive. Here are a few examples of distinctive domain names you are probably familiar with:

 These domains are all candidates for trademark status because they are not ordinary and common words. Nothing beats speaking to a lawyer, but one of the best informal tests you can run your domain up against is the question, “If someone were to say my domain to another person, would it be very clear that they meant our website?” If the answer is no, your will most likely have a difficult time trademarking that domain.

 Once you have a good, distinct domain in mind, the next step is to make sure that no one else already owns it. Fortunately, the Internet makes this process easy. The simplest way to check if a domain is available is by visiting a domain registrar. One of the better known domain registrars is, but you can also access this information at the ICANN website. ICANN is a particularly useful site, because they are in charge of approving all other domain name registrars. Simply type in the domain name you are thinking of and in seconds you will know whether or not it is available.

 It may be that the domain you want is taken, but do not give up hope. It is actually common practice for people to buy potentially desirable domain names in hopes that someone with serious aspirations for that domain will pay more money to own it. If your dream domain is taken, visit to find out who the owner is. There is a fair chance that whoever owns this domain can be persuaded to sell it to you.

 Now, a word of caution is in order. It can be tempting to buy a domain that you know another company holds trademark rights to and try to extort money out of them before handing it over. This is a dangerous mistake, and there is significant legal precedent for what happens to people who attempt this.

 The reason lies in something called the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Proceeding, or UDRP. When you buy any domain name from any registrar, you agree to attend these proceedings if someone asserts trademark rights over the domain you bought. Every registrar includes this stipulation in their Terms of Service because ICANN mandates it. So for example, if for some reason Sony did not have a website, you could not buy and set up your own website there. Sony would be fully able to come after you in court and demand that you give them that domain name.

 An eye-opening e-book called “Your Future in Internet Scams” makes this point clear. Not only is a UDRP proceeding much cheaper and faster than actually suing someone, they tend to favor the trademark holder heavily: you as the domain holder will lose 70% of the time if someone asserts trademark rights over your domain. For this reason it is best to avoid the hassle and just come up with a distinct domain of your own to use.

 In closing, the essential thing to know about trademarking a domain name is that it must be distinct. The more readily people associate your domain with you and not other things, the better chances your domain has of gaining and keeping trademark status.


Having Multiple Patents for Sale

October 23rd, 2007

One of the issues in regards to having multiple inventions that you’re working on at the same time is the all too familiar focus factor. When you try to move multiple inventions along at once you are spreading your time, money, and energy in different directions which makes it hard to progress well on either of them. Therefore, it will typically take longer and be harder to sell 3 patents than to sell 1 even if you sell them in sequence.

The best way to approach your multiple patents for sale is to prioritize which ones you think are best positioned in terms of timing, how developed they are, their market potential (# of potential customers and unit price). Once they have been prioritized using those criteria, create a strategic plan and pursue each one individually of the others. You should focus 100% on getting your invention in front of potential buyers.

After coming to terms regarding your first patent being you’ve either sold it outright, locked up a licensing deal, or decided the timing isn’t right, you’ll be ready to regroup and start working on the next one. Given that the market conditions and your experience may have improved you’re patents may now have a different priority scale so you will want to prioritize them against your criteria once again. You’ll then want to decide which patent you’d like to list for sale and get going on that one.

This process can obviously repeat as many times as you would like but your priorities will most likely change after you have a few successful licensing or sale deals. Marketing a patent for sale to companies looking for new technology and product development can be a strenuous job. There are a wide variety of inventor groups that can help you get to market quicker. These groups typically have a few successful inventors involved in them and then the rest being amateurs. Never the less, they are very beneficial groups to get involved with as you can share experiences in processes as well as with various companies.

To list your patent for sale you can visit and get it exposure in front of companies looking for new products or technology to commercialize. There is a fee but it is extremely reasonable given the amount of value you will receive from the listing and the site in general.

Featured Companies of the Month

October 15th, 2007

This month’s featured companies are 3M, GE, and Johnson and Johnson. These companies continually display a commitment to innovation and new product development commercialization. To understand how these companies continually come up with revolutionary product ideas and commercialize technology it’s useful to look at the history of these companies and their respective cultures.

3M was founded in 1902 as a mining and manufacturing company by Mr. Ryan Bauer in New York. The company started off selling minerals and quickly went into selling sandpaper. Their first major innovation, waterproof sandpaper, came out of this line of business in 1920. Later in 1925 the company released masking tape and cellophane tape known to most as scotch tape. The company then launched a multitude of products throughout the following decades and has become a Fortune 500 company renowned for its innovative culture. They now sell over fifty thousand products in a variety of different industries and had revenue of nearly $23 billion last year.

General Electric is also a conglomerate known for its innovative climate. The company was most notably founded by the inventor of the incandescent electric bulb, Thomas Edison, in 1876. Over the years the company has followed Mr. Edison’s competitive and innovative streak building the company into a Fortune 100 company with sales of over $160 billion last year. The company now owns companies in a multitude of industries and is known for both its employee training programs and its employee satisfaction for which it has received numerous awards. GE now employs over 300,000 people.

Johnson and Johnson was founded by Robert Woodson in 1886. The company initially focused on improving the sanitation practices in hospitals and later diversified into consumer products and pharmaceuticals and recently into industries such as orthopedic devices and biopharmaceuticals. It has received numerous accolades for its involvement in product innovation in each of those areas and is continually releasing new useful products for consumers. The company generated over $50 billion in revenue last year with a net profit margin of nearly 20%. The company employs over 120,000 people in a multitude of states but is based in Brunswick, New Jersey.

These companies have shown a commitment to innovation and new product development. By signing up with us, you will have access to the submission links for submitting patented technology for sale to these companies as a sign of our appreciation to you as a customer and our respect for these great companies.

How Intellectual Property Licensing Works and Related terms

October 2nd, 2007

Intellectual property rights are plainly assets. They have value, and they can be bought or sold. There are some differences, however, when comparing IPR to other types of assets. If you are a solicitor that does not regularly deal with IPR, you will usually try to find precedents or earlier files that give you some guidance. Often, these precedents deal with hard assets; a reliance on these can be dangerous for a few reasons.

First, intellectual property rights do not have to be sold. Indeed, a purchase and sale of IPR is somewhat uncommon, because licenses are often used. The hard asset mind set becomes dangerous when you look at the deal only as a sale or potential sale. If your client asks you to transfer rights, you must not lose sight of the fact that a sale/assignment is the only option. It would be like someone coming to you looking for office space. In that case, you would not only discuss the possibility of buying a building, but you would probably also consider leasing.

Licensing IPR can be analogous to leasing, except that more than one person can license the same property.

Secondly, you will never get the same level of comfort when buying IPR as you will when purchasing hard assets. In a hard asset sale, the mere fact that the vendor has possession of the goods gives you some comfort. With abstract property like IPR, it is much easier to pass on (fraudulently or otherwise) a non-existent title. The problem is exacerbated because of the abstract nature of the property; there is no registry you can search to be 100% sure the vendor can properly sell the asset.

Further, think about what happens when there is a sale of know-how. To say that you are buying the asset is based on “old” property law and is not truly accurate. In fact you are buying a copy of the asset. The vendor will informally retain most of the information and there is nothing that can be done about it (short of extricating the brains of all people who have pertinent knowledge). In order to prevent unwanted competition in the future, you have to include special contractual terms and restrictions that are unheard of in hard asset transactions.

Should You Sell Or License Your New Product Or Idea

August 16th, 2007

by Dan Stalfire

Patent Selling
Why Sell:

A patent is your property and as such you have the legal right to do with it as you wish. Generally you would choose to sell your patent if you would;

1. Focus your attention on other ideas.

2. Turn over the entire rights to your patent and be done with the venture.

3. Generate a quick income from the sale.

A patent owner has 4 basic choices they can make with their invention:

License Your Patent:
By far the most profitable. This allows you to maintain ownership of your idea, while allowing another company to build and market the idea. This is what InventorsIPO specialize in. We find a company to build, market, and pay you a fair market value for the use of your idea.

Build and market the product yourself:
You can build, market, and do the legal work yourself. This is a complicated process that requires a large amount of capital, time, and knowledge of the market.

Sell the Patent:
All patent owners have the right to sell their idea. This process requires the ability to find a buyer, a lawyer, and understand what the market value of their idea is.

Do Nothing:
Believe it or not, the vast majority of patents granted by the U.S. Patent Office have never been acted upon. About 90% off all patents are never commercialized!


Why License Your Idea?
Licensing your idea to an established company has many advantages.

Your product will carry the label of a company that has a well known and respected name. Most individuals cannot, and should not approach large companies like Wal-Mart, Target, etc. They usually will not look at people who only sell one product, they prefer vendors with multiple products.

Most larger companies have a complete marketing and Public Relations department. Larger corporations have the capital and resources available to launch a product properly. By allowing another company to build and market your product they generally assume the liability also. Thus if for some reason something happens that has legal ramification they will usually handle it.

You get paid royalties for doing nothing. Of course it is your idea, you did invent it and file the appropriate patent application. But what we mean is that you will get paid, while they build it, market it, promote it, and do all of the ground work.

Dan Stalfire is the president of, SEO ONE, inc. and Internet Marketing Images, Inc. Dan has over 20 years experience in inventing and intellectual property. Mr. Stalfire is actively involved in inventing and marketing. Holding a US. Patent and a Federal Trademark he has assisted numerous inventors with their marketing and product launches.

For more information visit

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Nondisclosure Agreement And Intellectual Property

August 15th, 2007

by Alexander Gordon

Modern age companies, unlike the traditional firms, are spending colossal amount of resources in two key areas i.e. a) undertaking research and b) training manpower. These resources contribute to firm’s hard earned intellectual property pool. Another key distinction among the firms of then and now is the growing decentralization wherein firms are no longer trying to stay in a cocoon and avoid any outsiders. This era is marked by growth through expansion and external investment. However any such growth or transition not only implies external investment but also is indicative of involvement of more players, of which many could not be trustworthy. But to succeed it is imperative to open out. Than what is the way out to prevent miss-use of such information spread among associates, colleagues and employees?

Enables Spread of Information in the Desired Form: A nondisclosure agreement with the information sharers proves to be a handy tool in such situations. This vital instrument helps prevention of flow of key research outputs and other such information to any undesired sources, while at the same time keeping the requisite details available for all concerned. Such an understanding among associates not only substantiates as a legal document in any eventual legal proceedings but the only existence of the same de-motivates all concerned to take any action against the company’s interest.

Keeps a Check on Competition: A nondisclosure agreement therefore acts as a preventive tool and at the same time curbs internal competition by preventing those involved from opening up their own individual initiatives in the same field of work in a specified area for a particular period. This is your information and therefore does not deserve to be used by others for personal use.

Acts As an Employee Retention Tool: A clearly defined nondisclosure agreement between the employer and employees also acts as an important instrument against increasing instances of employee fraud. A limiting factor, which discourages employee to join direct competition for better packages, is like magical wand to the disturbed employees who spend enormous amounts just to recruit, train and retain employees. Nobody wants to be training school, especially for competition, than why not prevent loss of such crucial intellectual property resources.

Various Non- Disclosure Agreements (NDA) are posted online and cane be referred to for making an NDA. However to ascertain if the same fulfills the desired guidelines and covers the loopholes depending upon the company’s functioning within the legal framework it is advised to get the same made form the professional. This would though entail a one time fee, yet this cost could save those enormous losses arising out of miss-management on account of information and resources i.e. company’s valuable intellectual property.

Alexander Gordon is a writer for – The Small Business Consulting Community. Sign-up for the free success steps newsletter and get our booklet valued at $24.95 for free as a special bonus. The newsletter provides daily strategies on starting and significantly growing a business.

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FAQs – Licensing Intellectual Property (IP)

August 14th, 2007

by Jean Sifleet

Licensing is a key business strategy. It’s a way to maximize the earnings from inventions and creative works, which are called intellectual property or "IP.".

What is licensing?

Licensing is when you grant some rights to intellectucal property "IP" that you own. It is really a partnership of mutual cooperation between the licensor, who owns the IP, and the licensee, who is given the right to use it for certain purposes.

Question: What are royalties?

Royalties are a way of calculating compensation for use of intellectual property. The licensee is granted the right to use it for a royalty. Royalties are usually based on a percentage of the revenues that are generated. For instance, if I license my course to a company and say, “For every subsequent use of this course, I get 5% of the revenue,” that’s the royalty — 5% of the revenue would be the royalty/payment that I would receive.

Question: Are there rules of thumb for royalty amounts?

Figuring out what royalty to ask for is always a challenge. As sort of a really rough rule of thumb, the allocation of the revenue generated can be 25% for the licensor and 75% for the licensee. This is because the licensee is usually doing all the sales and marketing related to generating revenue. It varies greatly from industry to industry.

Question: What are some examples of the types of works that can be licensed?

Many types of IP can be licensed. For example, copyright-protected works, trademarks, and patented inventions can be licensed. Materials and know-how may be licensed and generate additional income. Other examples include images, photographs, music, a recording – on any kind of media.

It’s very difficult to license something that has not been reduced to writing or some kind of tangible form. Just trying to license “know-how,” for instance, is very difficult. Someone could have a lot of expertise, but unless they turn it into something concrete or tangible, it’s difficult to license it.

Question: What are the pitfalls of licensing?

A classic pitfall is that the licensee does not pay royalties. The licensor gives rights to a licensee and the licensee doesn’t do anything with them. So the licensor’s IP rights are tied up in the license agreement, but the licensor isn’t getting any money for the IP. I recommend that a licensee be required to pay at least a “minimum” royalty or forfeit the license. That way, the licensor is guaranteed a certain level of revenue. That’s also motivating for licensees because they’re going to have to pay that money in order to keep the license, so they’re going to focus on using your IP.

Another pitfall is granting an exclusive license, or giving away way too many rights. The scope of the license grant is extremely important. For example, one situation that I’m familiar with involved a patent for a chemical process. It was licensed to a very large pharmaceutical company. But in that license, we were very careful to limit it to medical applications. We turned around two years later and licensed that same patent to a paint company. Had we granted all the rights in the first license, we wouldn’t have been able to do the second licensing agreement, which was a very different market and a very different application.

Question: What if I want to use someone else’s work?

Using someone else’s work is sometimes called “licensing in.” That’s a very good business strategy as well. Why recreate the wheel if you can use materials that are out there or content that’s already been created? Usually, what I suggest is that you approach the owner of the IP and say, “I’d like permission to use some of your materials,” and you negotiate an agreement.

It’s OK to use other people’s works (without payment) if the work is in the public domain or if the use is considered to be within the “fair use doctrine.” (See enews archives for further discussion).

Question: What if someone copies my work?

Registering copyrights is an important step. If an infringement occurs after the copyright is registered, you can recover statutory damages per infringement and attorney fees. If an infringement occurs prior to registration, you can only recover actual damages, which are extremely difficult to prove.

Question: What is a territory?

Licensors try to specify territories for authorized use. Say, for instance, you have a way to fix cars and you were going to deliver a training program and it required on-site training to show people how to do this particular type of repair – fix the paint or fix the dents. That’s a service that would probably be delivered in person, so it makes sense to carve that up geographically.

But, if you market on the Internet, it’s really hard to specify a geographic territory. For example, if you’re developing an e-learning kind of program and it is going to be marketed over the Internet, then it’s very difficult to restrict geographies, just because you could have potential customers coming from anywhere in the world.

In conclusion, these are just a few of the frequently asked questions about licensing. Licensing is a great way to generate revenue from IP. Is licensing a strategy that you want to explore for your business?

Jean Sifleet is a practical and experienced business attorney whose career spans many years in large multi-national corporations and includes three successful entrepreneurial ventures. Jean has extensive experience in dealing with intellectual property matters in the large and small companies and as a small business owner. She has authored numerous books and publications on avoiding legal pitfalls in doing business. This article is excerpted from her new book, Advantage IP – Profit from Your Great Ideas (Infinity 2005). For more information, Jean’s website is

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The Average Cost of Getting A Trademark

August 14th, 2007

Trademark Icon

Every trademark is words that are distinct, which may be logos, pictures, motto, that are well used to identify the product. These trademarks are capable of being protected under the Federal sate and also a law. Such federal registration offers maximum protection, says. According to a research from, trademark fees are always broken to number of distinct parts namely filing fees, fees of an attorney, and fees for a trademark. Lets now what advises you about the average cost of attaining a trademark.

Usually it costs roughly around $280-$380 if filed through paper to attain a single trademark sign for a set of products with USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Online submission of papers may reduce the cost little extent.

Average Cost of Getting a Trademark

Average Cost of Getting a Trademark

Trademark applications can also be filed through online forms that are present in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Still extending more, many commercial vendors are available in the market that process and gather the information to place your application in the right place whenever necessary. But this kind of process eventually increases the fee. Those individuals who would like to hire an attorney, normal charges shall be requested.

Filing fee for a single trademark sign in single class may be $325 or $375. Searching of trade mark may take around $400 – $600. If you are round through an attorney, the fees for a trademark opinion shall be around $500-$1000. And further, the fee for Trademark filing application will be from $1000 to $1500.

It is very much important to note that any person can start the trademark application work. It is much important to realize that a single trademark application is filed without making a search. But still a search and opinion is preferred. Further more, a trademark search lets you to gather information if others is using similar trademarks when compared with you. Additional costs are often charged by the government attorney, says, when he reviews the application and decide whether the trademark can be registered or not.

Legal Terms – A Quick Guide

August 13th, 2007

by Richard Chapo

Legal issues and problems are stressful, complex and inevitable. If you get wrapped up in legal issues, it sometimes helps to understand the lingo being bandied about.

Legal Terms

Contract: An agreement between two or more parties in which each party agrees to provide something in exchange for the other party doing the same. Typically, one party provides money while the other provides a service or product. Contracts can be oral or written, but oral contracts are difficult to enforce.

Copyright: The legal right attached to literary, musical, dramatic or artistic works. Copyright automatically attaches to the piece in favor of the creator of it. To sue for copyright infringement, the creator must file for an official copyright from the Library of Congress.

Intellectual Property: A product or idea that has tangible commercial value. Examples of intellectual property include copyrighted works such as books, patented items such as a product design and a trademarked item for a brand. The word “Amazon” is not considered intellectual property. When applied to the Internet, however, the word is intellectual property as it refers to a brand for an online bookstore.

Non-Compete Agreement: An agreement whereby one party, typically an employee, agrees not to use information learned during employment in subsequent business efforts for a set period of time. In some states, non-compete agreements are extremely difficult to enforce. An example of a non-compete agreement dispute is the current litigation between Microsoft and Google over Kai-Fu Lee.

Non-Disclosure Agreement: A contract binding one party to a duty of confidentiality in regard to certain information provided by another. An NDA typically is executed where one party wished to discuss a business venture with another and the discussion necessarily requires the disclosure of sensitive information.

Trademark: A name, label or symbol identifying a product or web site. Trademarks are filed with the Patent and Trademark Office and restricted to a class of products or services. “Amazon” is a trademarked term for Internet services, but not for general references such as ecological discussions.

Obviously, this is a relatively short list of legal terms. If your issue is not mentioned, you can search on the net to find an answer.

Richard A. Chapo is a San Diego business lawyer with – providing legal services and legal advice to businesses in San Diego, California.

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Protect your Idea with an NDA

August 13th, 2007

How To Use A NDA to Protect Your Idea When You Don’t Have A Patent

For most of the companies found over the market today, a most valuable asset is the IP(Intellectual Property). advises you to take proper and necessary steps for protecting your own asset to utilize with full potential. A NDA or a Non-Disclosure Agreement is often called as statement of confidentiality. This statement allows a company for sharing an Intellectual property with others around you without jeopardizing information. For instance, if you are having a new product, say, a proper Non disclosure agreement will ensure that the expert is not handling the details of your new product.

A Non-Disclosure agreement is a kind of legal contract between an individual and another one. Further more, you also agree thereby for disclosing certain important information for a specific purpose. Also, they agree not to expose any information to public. A Non disclosure agreement is the only way for protecting your intellectual property. You use NDA when you are having information which you should convey to someone, but not to pass that to anyone else.

When you don’t have a patent, NDA will be very helpful for making a strong agreement. Many companies may have a NDA like, as posted over the web for some reasons. There are lots of similarities within them; still they show a very huge range of industry. As for any legal document such as a non-disclosure agreement, you may need to consult a trained professional to avoid certain legal problems. But, better don’t rely on the forms which are available on the net unless/until you are well qualified to do that.