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John Brian Hudak

John Hudak’s Answers

136 total


  • Can my business name includes a common phrase that is also in a TV show's name? Can that be considered trademark infringement?

    John’s Answer

    Likelihood of confusion and being merely descriptive are already mentioned as possible hurdles.

    It’s stated in the question that the show popularized the phrase. Therefore, there is the possibility of trademark dilution – where the amount of fame associated with the mark is relevant.

    Consider a consultation with legal counsel to further give advice.

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  • Can I register for a trademark if someone on a social media platform has already taken the name?

    John’s Answer

    Consider getting a consult with a US trademark attorney. As a foreign individual or entity you will need a US attorney to file your application -- if you go through with your idea.

    Trademark infringement is related to similarity of the mark and the similarity of the goods/services -- which will cause confusion as to the source of those goods/services. If that applies then there can be trademark infringement.

    A trademark attorney can give their assessment of that legal question. It's specific to the facts of the situation.

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  • Legal Fees?

    John’s Answer

    The question answered falls into a category of lawyer ethics. (You might want to repost the question under the category of Ethics and Professionalism – I didn’t want to change the category of the question in case you were looking for an answer from an intellectual property lawyer).

    Generally, for a lawyer to receive payment from a third party the lawyer needs to determine the lawyer can adequately represent the client with a conflict of interest which will occur from a third party payer – and if there is informed consent from the client, where the client knows about the third party payment and the possible negative effects.

    The above is what is typically said if someone has a lawyer who is paid for by a family member (such as in a criminal case) or an employee/corporation situation (an employer is paying for the lawyer of an employee).

    Your situation is different where the opposing party is paying for your lawyer. This could maybe happen in some situations – or something similar -- something like an uncontested divorce (the lawyer represents both people getting divorced). It also might be something in your state which is possible to happen. The ethics rules for lawyers are state dependent, but all are mostly the same from guidance from national groups like the ABA. You'll have to investigate if possible in your state.

    You can always call local lawyers, and see if this something he/she knows about and can take on.

    Getting legal counsel if there is a dispute is also generally recommended.

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  • I am planning to start self-publishing books under a pen name. What legal steps do I need to take in order to this?

    John’s Answer

    I agree with what was already said.

    Reading Circular 32 mentioned -- and other information provided from the Copyright Office -- will also give some more insights.

    Additionally, having legal counsel will help you interpret what you have read.

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  • Temporary Restraining Order for IP infringement

    John’s Answer

    Consider hiring a local attorney to review your situation.

    The attorney will be able look at the complete set of facts and give guidance.

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  • I bought an expired domain name and I'd like to keep using the company's name. Can I do so if I didn't find any trademark?

    John’s Answer

    If you are basing your whole business venture tied to the name/mark – consider getting a search performed – or analysis done. This will be considered part of your start up cost. It might not make sense to spend a lot of time and money on business idea which is based around a name/mark – without a search or analysis done. Consider getting a quote from an attorney of your choice.

    This answer includes generalizations. There are many caveats. This answer does not form an attorney client relationship.

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  • I have an idea that I would like to patent. Are there any firms to patent my idea and share the profits (like 50-50)?

    John’s Answer

    Consider looking at all your options for patenting and product development. Examples of paths to explore: (a) Using the option of a provisional patent application, even written by a patent attorney, which is a low enough cost so you can get started. The use of a provisional patent has its own strategy so you should understand what a provisional patent application actually means; (b) Look for “inventor’s groups” in your area or even outside your area. There is an inventor group in CT, which had past presenters who market themselves as consultants for product development. These consultant firms might enter into some arrangement with you; and (c) and other options … .

    Research your options. Try to best understand the business deal you are entering into.

    This answer includes generalizations. There are many caveats. This answer does not form an attorney client relationship.

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  • How can I get a sense of if the slogan I want to trademark is unique enough to be approved?

    John’s Answer

    Consider reading the full information on TESS (the USPTO search database for marks) and TSDR (click on the TSDR link/button when viewing the mark in the search results in TESS for the mark, or within the TESS profile for the mark) for the other mark in question. This may add some information to your understanding of the other mark – and the words involved.

    This answer includes generalizations. There are many caveats. This answer does not form an attorney client relationship.

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  • The legality of selling anime merchandise via drop shipping from a supplier ?

    John’s Answer

    Consider a consult with an intellectual property attorney. As above, the suggested business plan will very likely bring about a cause of action related to infringement of trademarks and/or copyrights. The consult may provide alternatives for a viable business plan.

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  • Is it a trademark violation if I name my company the same as a trademarked company without the space between the 2 words?

    John’s Answer

    Businesses/owners tend to be emotionally invested in the name they pick. It’s easier to be emotionally invested in something like your identity/name – and rightfully so, the name is trying to get something “more” to be important to your consumers. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back, and realize the name picking process that occurred might not have happened under conditions the warrant die-hard conviction to a name. Was there market research? Was there reading of case studies about picking a name? Was there a trademark search for federally registered marks, stated registered marks, or common law marks? Starting a business, picking a name, growing a business are all processes.

    If you’re doing research on your own, consider reading info on the USPTO website and lawyer/law firm blogs about the basic rules of trademark infringement. Then try and either work with the name you’ve picked and know the risks you’re taking on. Or, pick another name that will hopefully cause less problems. That said getting advice from an attorney can be very helpful - and is usually advised.

    This answer includes generalizations and there are many caveats. This answer does not form an attorney client relationship.

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