Surprisingly Good Ways Of Stopping Foreign Imports Using Your US Patent

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
January 9, 2014
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

The number one concern of many companies with new products is how to stop foreign copies from entering the US.  The good news, this is easy for US Patent owners, and there are two ways this can operate.

The most surprising way is using the US Customs Service to block suspected infringers.  To do this, you will need an order from the Customs Service.  Once you have that, Customs does the real work.  The catch here is, the US company will have to prove it makes the goods itself in the US.  So, two foreign companies cannot easily avail themselves of this privilege.

Customs can confiscate infringing goods, and may even turn over those goods to the US patent owner.  If specific infringers can be pointed out to Customs, which is often the case, those infringers  can be targeted by Customs.

The second way is more obvious: using the US Patent rights.  There is an easy way to do this, and a harder way.  The easier way is sending a copy of the US Patent to retailers and other companies selling the infringing product; most will quickly deal with the situation, usually by simply removing the infringing products.  After all, retailers do not want trouble, and can avoid it by fleeing from patent disputes.  The author has seen this several times, and it is surprisingly effective.

The aforementioned harder way is the filing of a patent infringement suit.  This can be cost effective, assuming the infringer offers a quick settlement.  An infringer might do this to avoid the legal expense and legal risk of defending.  However, if the health of an infringing company depends on that infringing product, a quick settlement may still occur but there is also a chance of a big legal fight.


3 Reasons Why We’re #1 For Your AI Patent


Yep, we said it—we think that we’re your #1 choice for an AI Patent. But, here at KISSPatent, we don’t like to brag without providing evidence for our claims. We also don’t like to waste your time—so without further ado, here are the three reasons why KISSPatent can do your AI patent better than any law firm.

> We listen to you

> We understand startups

> We have 21 years of patent experience


We want to create the best patent possible to protect your valuable idea. And we do that by listening – not only about your idea, but also about your overall business and strategy. We care about your dream and want to help you fulfill it.

For machine learning, listening is crucial because the field is quickly shifting. AI is further developing every day. Waves of innovation are coming towards companies and business leaders, whether they’re ready or not. The important details of your innovation will enable you to surf the waves – and not drown. Or, less metaphorically, to not be beaten out by a faster competitor. You need to protect your important innovation details from your competitors – before they copy them.

We need to understand the details of your innovation, so that we can protect them. And the best understanding comes through careful listening. One of our biggest advantages over other firms is that we are small enough to truly listen to you—and not just you, but your ideas, your dreams, and your hopes for the future.


If you go to a big patent law firm, you’ll find some great patent attorneys. They’ll have worked with enormous companies – BigCo names that you’ll recognize. But—hear us out-- they won’t be the best patent firm for you.

Why? Because these big firms don’t understand startups. As we’ve previously written, patents are a business tool. You need a patent firm that understands the business of startups – and how best to help them grow and scale.

We’re a patent firm that understands startups, because we work with so many of them. We understand startup business models, exit strategies and investment requirements. We’ll tailor your patent exactly to your needs.

After all, you wouldn’t want to innovate like a slow-moving, BigCo dinosaur. Why would you want to work with a patent firm that only understands the dinosaurs – and not the fast moving startups that will quickly eat their lunches?


We have a lot of patent experience – 21 years’ worth. We’ve been through all the changes to the high-tech world. We’ve supported our clients through patent litigation all over the world. And we spend a lot of time talking with the patent gatekeepers – the examiners at the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office).

Through our decades of experience, we know what works – and what doesn’t – in the world of high tech patents.

Within the AI field, the patents are changing rapidly. Changes to AI patents are partly because of the nature of the field – every day there’s a new development in deep neural networks. However, changes to AI patents also occur as other patent firms try different strategies to protect their clients’ ideas.

We closely monitor all of these changes. We spend a lot of time reviewing AI patents, in order to understand the best strategies for machine learning patent protection. Furthermore, we carefully keep track of patent protection strategies for deep neural networks and deep learning.

Therefore, we’re always up to date on the most cutting edge ways to protect your AI idea—something you may not find at a big patent firm.

We listen to you, understand startups, and have a ton of experience--what more could you want from a patent firm? Join KISSPatent to gain a truly hands on patent experience—resulting in the best possible AI patent for you!


Right Or Wrong Patent Attorney - Why Your Invention Matters

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
January 3, 2014
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Is there a good way to tell when you have the wrong patent attorney?  There are factors worth considering.

Does your patent attorney not seem to listen?  Or, not seem to care about your objections and concerns?  Does your patent attorney make themselves available to answer questions?  These are red flags, especially if things are not going well otherwise.

Does the patent attorney's first draft make sense for your invention?  Most inventors rightfully expect to see writing that is as good as or better than their own.  Do you have to explain things several times?  Are you uncomfortable with how the claims sound?  These too can be red flags, when other things are not going well either.

Has your patent attorney filed continuation after continuation without making progress?  Or, have they filed RCE (“Request for Continuing Examination”) after RCE without making progress?  Or, have they filed about Appeal after Appeal, without success?  These could be red flags too.

This is not to say “good” or “bad” - rather it is to say “right skills for the right job.”  Even a very good and reputable patent attorney may sometimes find themselves out of their element, and look bad as a result.  That shouldn't matter though – good results should matter.  A different attorney, better suited for a particular effort, may well get different results.

While the above-noted issues can be bad signs, they might not tell the whole story.  Even though the above situations exist, can that patent attorney really still be the “right” one  for that job?  Possibly so – if it is just a case of simple bad luck, pursuit of a weak invention, sure.  Or, it could be part of a strategy to maintain patent pending status for strategic reasons despite a weak invention.


How to Protect Intellectual Property - Strategy for Startups

By: Bhumesh Verma

> Introduction

Intellectual property protection should be one of the foremost concerns of a nascently set up entity, particularly a startup.

Intellectual property refers to innovative creations arising out of one’s or a team’s intellectual exercise. It includes not only innovative products and processes but also logos and images. Some key intellectual property rights are:

a) Patents: Inventions involving both innovative products and processes which contribute to technological development and simplify everyday lives are called patents. A patent-holder has the exclusive right to use or license his patented product or process.

b) Copyright: Ideas cannot be copyrighted, but if these ideas are articulated in a permanent form then the creator may be entitled to a copyright over his/her work. Copyright generally exists over books, films, music etc.

c) Trademark: A trademark is a distinctive sign or symbol used by companies to enable the consumers to identify their goods. Logos of companies are trademarks.

IP rights and their protection is essential for companies. Especially, a startup which is just starting out requires its reputation to be built over years and its ideas to be protected in order to gain competitive advantage over its rivals.

In this article, we discuss and lay down an ideal IP protection strategy that may be adopted by startups.

What needs to be protected??
An entity ideally needs to protect the following components of its IP:

a) Trade secrets/confidential information: Trade secrets are information essential and valuable to the business being run. It may include documents such as sales charts, product specifications or any other information which may give the company a competitive edge over its rivals. The first step towards efficient protection of trade secrets is to have a strong contractual clause built in all the contracts being / to be executed by the entity, including employment contracts which impose strong confidentiality obligations. A separate confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement may also be entered into with business partners, customers and employees.

b) Patent protection: Being new in the industry, startup enterprises need to devise a strategy which gives them an edge over the extant market players.

The following steps may be kept in mind while devising a strategy for the protection of patents:

> Filing an application for patents needs to be done immediately after the product or process is ready.

> The product or process for which the patent is being filed should not be published or disclosed.

> The application may be filed with a provisional specification as well. However, complete specification needs to be filed within 12 months of the filing.

> Patents are territorial in nature. Hence, filing for patents in multiple jurisdictions simultaneously may help the startup in gaining competitive advantage.

c) Trademarks: Trademarks create a company’s brand. For instance, google is known and identified by its logo. It is important for companies to protect their logos and trademarks. The first step towards an efficient trademark protection should be to register the trademarks. A registered trademark enjoys a higher protection than an unregistered trademark. An infringement suit can be filed only for the violation of a registered trademark.

What should an ideal IP Strategy encompass

While strategy of each start-up may differ according to the services rendered or the products marketed by them, certain issues run central to all efficient IP strategies.

While formulating an IP strategy, the following things need to be kept in mind:

> An IP strategy must include a training policy wherein the employees, customers and partners of the company are made aware of the various kinds of IP the company owns and the importance of maintaining confidentiality and protection of these rights.


Tips for Highly Effective Invention Promoting and Marketing for Inventors

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
December 20, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

If you're an inventor, then you have seen ads for invention marketing companies.  Here are a few tips for a highly effective strategy that is also cost-effective.

Tip 1:  Do the patent part separately from the marketing part.  The patent costs can be quite affordable, especially is you shop around.  You are more likely to get the personal service and advice you really need, and that can lead to a better patent product. 

Tip 2:  Focus on companies most likely to need your invention.  Avoid broadcast invention submissions to large companies, because that can be costly in time and effort.  There will be too many corporate forms for the inventor to sign before those companies will even accept the submission, and some of those forms do not protect the inventor's rights.  Large companies like to buy rights to products that are already on the shelves somewhere, to make sure no one looks bad when buying the invention rights. 

Tip 3:   Marketing isn't just to companies – it is also to investors.  Really, isn't that what selling an invention is all about?  A company buying an invention is very much like an investor.  Let investors know about your invention; they have money and often also have expertise and contacts.  Investors may well wish to use their contacts and expertise to help you succeed – they are betting on you.


5 Steps to Successful Pre-Seed Funding


Pre-seed funding is becoming increasingly popular for entrepreneurs as investors’ expectations for emerging companies continue to rise. While all means of raising capital for your business ventures can be viable, this particular one requires a specific type of preparation to set yourself and your business up for success. Adhering to the following standards can make your startup more attractive to pre-seed investors.

1. Have a quantifiable path to profitability

The pre-seed round is set apart for many reasons, one of the most prominent being that most pre-seed stage companies are not yet profitable. This can make some investors, those who don’t specialize in one specific round, nervous. Put investors at ease by clearly outlining your business’ path to profitability.

A thoughtful plan that serves as a long-term roadmap can be more important than a shortcut. Keep your estimates attainable and concise. Don’t force investors to go hunting for the profitability statements, either. Emphasize strategy and transparency in this tactic. To win investors you need to build trust and credibility. Including this information in an executive summary and expanding upon it in financial statements is essential to achieving both trust and credibility.

2. Show proof of concept

Similar to path to profitability, proof of concept is key in winning over investors. Whatever your business has done to test your ideas, assumptions or products needs to be communicated clearly and transparently to your potential investors. Consider bringing in actual test models or results and sharing your expanded takeaways.

If your original tests led you to make changes, communicate these updates with investors. Demonstrating that your business can pivot toward a more successful offering will show investors your ingenuity and flexibility within the grand scheme of your business plan.

A caution here, proof of concept and prototypes are very different. If your business is building a product you don’t need to necessarily bring in that product, but rather find a way to demonstrate to potential investors why this product is needed in the market – what holes does it fill for users? Your proof of concept should demonstrate that your company can achieve its end goal.

3. Tout your intellectual property

In the absence of cash-on-hand or hard assets, patents and other intellectual property protections can go a long way to building credibility with investors. Demonstrating that you take your ideas seriously and work to protect them from infringement by other business entities tells investors that you are committed to your idea and willing to go through legal loopholes to protect it. Even if your patent application is pending and won’t be resolved for years, that’s still solidifies your company’s credibility and make the opportunity more investable.

Mainly, a patent lets investors know they are protected against future competitors. Even with the proper legal preparation, opportunists will still attempt to challenge it. Don’t be alarmed if you must lawyer up during a pre-seed stage. It means your idea is a good one! Plus, if your patent is challenged and you win, that IP becomes much more valuable.

4. Let your track record speak for you

Your previous success can also be an asset. Look back into your professional accomplishments and use them to your advantage. If this isn’t your first startup or first time sourcing funding of any sort, bring a list of your past ventures and their successes.

Even if this is your first foray into the startup world, your professional accomplishments can still be relevant. What projects have you successfully shepherded into reality? Are you a consumer looking to fill a hole that you yourself have been subjected to? Use that real-life experience. Just be sure to explain how you were successful and back it up with quantifiable and provable evidence.


Responding to a Rejection in a Patent Application

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
November 15, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Rejected? Want to know more about what to do? Read on!

When a utility patent application is filed, examination on the merits follows in due course. The examination process involves a search of the prior art, and a decision by the patent examiner on allowability. The first such decision is supplied to the applicant by an official first Office Action on the merits. The great majority of first Office Actions involve a rejection of some or all of the claims.

But, this is not the end of the process, but the beginning! A Response should be filed.

What should go into the Response? The applicant, along with their patent attorney's help, should define what is different over the applied prior art reference(s). Then, suitable claim amendments should be made to clarify and/or emphasize those differences.

And, suitable remarks should be provided in the Response which explain the differences over the applied prior art reference. The remarks ideally will also point out how the amendments to the claims clarify and emphasize those differences.


Simplifying Intellectual Property with Blockchain Technology

By: Mary Hall

Lawyers, legal professionals and inventors have long struggled with the difficulties of processing patent applications and keeping up with the amount of patent filings via the patent database system. As a young lawyer, I spent many long hours doing patent and trademark searches.  If only the intellectual property records were on the digital ledger of blockchain I might have been able to save a considerable amount of time and research effort!

The Problem of Siloed Data and Intellectual Property

In common-law and many countries, the Patent and Trademark systems favor the first to file. This is a problem when the databases inventors file their applications on is backlogged and out of sync. It is estimated that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (UPTO) is currently backlogged by hundreds of thousands of patent applications with only a few thousand examiners reviewing them. Patents and Trademark applications can be filed in the USPTO systems, but not be immediately discoverable by others. Inventors and intellectual property holders may legitimately believe they are the first to file, but in actual fact there may be other applications filed before theirs which they simply can’t find in the government databases because they don’t show up yet in search. This is one of the reasons why many law firms tell clients that it will take them 2 to 3 weeks to do a thorough patent or trademark search.  They know if may take time for intellectual property filings to be discoverable in the traditional database systems. According to the Erikson Law Group, “ The average time it takes to obtain a patent from the patent office at this time is about 32 months or a little under 3 years.”[1]

Intellectual Property: Creating a Digital Ledger for Patents with Blockchain

 According to the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), it takes roughly two years just for the Office Action, resulting from an investigation of the patent application, on an utility patent to be completed. After that, the inventor must then respond to the action which takes about another year. Even though the status of “patent pending” carries some legal weight, and gives notice to other applicants that there is a filing on record, it is still frustrating for entrepreneurs to have to wait so long. While they wait, they are deprived of the full legal protections that registrations provide against infringers, fakers and opportunists.

Blockchain holds the promise of automating the process of patent discovery and approval. With difficulties, inherent in the patent system stored on traditional database, some inventors have become involved in lawsuits and legal conflicts over patents upon the completion of the development of technologies and solutions. Using a blockchain networks, first movers are taking their intellectual property records, patents and trademarks to blockchain. Inventors and attorneys  with access to these digital ledgers have praised the efficiency of patent  and trademark searches using the blockchain digital ledger technology.

For intellectual property lawyers, paralegals and researchers,  blockchain technology holds the promise of being able to share records easily and in real-time. Blockchain's immutable digital ledge can be used as a secure way to protect the intellectual property of authors, inventors and organizations Perhaps even more importantly, laywers and laymen can use data logged onto the ledger to both defend and support intellectual property infringement claims.

 Putting the data of intellectual property filings, on the blockchain also expedites communications between attorneys and clients, patent and trademark examiners and inventors.
Another use case is using blockchain technology to automate the licensing of patents through smart contracts, ensuring that all parties meet the agreed upon terms.  The license would execute when the terms are meet and consensus is reached.

Speed to file: the benefits of blockchain technology

Ultimately, a patent system based on blockchain technology could significantly to reduce the wait time for patent registrations. This would allow inventor, who are often sole proprietors or small businesses, to better protect their intellectual property. A blockchain systems of patent filings and registrations also can facilitate better development or licensing of ideas that are publicly available.  Currently, there is no universal patent or intellectual property registry that cuts across countries or jurisdictions. Blockchain could make a universal intellectual property system available to entrepreneurs, lawyers, legal professionals and inventors. If there was one, this could quite simply revolutionize the traditional trademark and patent system.  As blockchain technology evolves and becomes more mature, this technology could change the practice of intellectual property law by simplifying access to data and enabling greater collaboration.  The Chamber of Digital Commerce has formed a Blockchain Intellectual Property Council to both promote and contribute to blockchain innovations in this space. Intellectual property and blockchain technology could be a great combination to accelerate applications and registrations of unique ideas.

Source  >>

New Lower Official Patent Fees Coming January 1, 2014 - Great News For Inventors

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
October 24, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Finally some very good news for inventors about government patent fees. Some of the new lower fees have been put into place. Other impressive fee reductions are on the way.

The micro entity fee schedule has already been implemented. For example, filing a new Utility patent application costs as low as $400. A Provisional Patent Application, or PPA, costs as little as $65. The previous fees, in effect earlier this year, were much higher.

Other fee reductions are even more impressive, and are scheduled to go into effect beginning on January 1, 2014. These include the Utility patent issue fee, reduced from the small entity fee of $980 currently to just $480 (small entity) or $240 (micro entity). Assignments will be recorded at no charge in that new fee schedule; currently the government fee is $40.


What Start-ups Need to Know About Intellectual Property

By: Michael J. Kasdan

As any entrepreneur is well aware, the early stages of a new business venture are an incredibly busy time. Entrepreneurs must focus on building the core team, structuring the company, attracting investors, developing the product/service, and developing key partnerships, sales channels and marketing plans. These tasks are typically all-consuming for the founders, taxing both their financial and time resources.

During this time, it may be a challenge to simultaneously focus on intellectual property issues.  However, this early time period is also a critical time for ensuring that a business takes steps to protect its core intellectual property and avoids the risk of third party intellectual property issues. Today, more than ever, having a solid understanding of intellectual property and developing an IP strategy that aligns with the business is a crucial part of building a new venture on a solid foundation. 

This article includes an overview of the different types of intellectual property and provides advice to start-up companies on how to secure their own intellectual property as well as protect against intellectual property risks from others.

The three basic types of intellectual property that startups should understand are:

> Patents

> Trademarks

> Copyrights


Not every startup business will be best-served by investing its resources in building a patent portfolio, but the question of whether to pursue patent protection warrants a hard and early look. Knowledge of the role of patents is critical for two reasons:

> To protect your own business and inventions from your competitors

> To avoid the risk of being exposed to assertions of patent infringement by competitors and other third parties

It is important for startups to understand the different kinds of patent protection and how they fit into their business.

Utility patents can be obtained for processes, machines, articles of manufacture, or compositions of matter that are deemed new, useful and non-obvious. The traditional subject matter of such utility patents covers tangible, technical inventions, such as improvements to client-server systems, motors, radios, computer chips and various technical product features. For example, Boeing's US Patent No. 6,227,447 is a patent that covers methods of remotely controlling a vehicle. Patents can also be directed at new product features and functions. As another example, Facebook's US Patent No. 8,171,128, titled "Communicating a newsfeed of media content based on a member's interactions in a social network environment," protects its News Feed feature.

A separate category of patent, the design patent, may be sought to protect ornamental (non-functional) designs. Some examples of notable design patents include Apple's D 604,305 covering the design of its iPhone interface and Lululemon's design patent covering its yoga pants.

The role of patents

Although patents are the most expensive and time-consuming type of intellectual property to obtain, they also provide the best scope of protection. A patent provides its holder with the exclusive right to make, use or sell an invention.  This means that it can exclude a competitor from making or selling the patented invention, irrespective of whether or not the competitor copied the invention or even previously knew of the patent.  For this reason, a patent that covers an important feature that drives consumer demand and/or distinguishes one’s product or service from that of competitors, can be very valuable.


Einfolge Technologies makes patenting research easy for startups and corporates

By: Vishal Krishna

Naveen Kanan is a researcher at Bangalore University studying electrolyte composition in modern-day lithium ion panels and figuring out how to make batteries more efficient. He wished to know if he could patent his research but was confused as to whether he had to approach a lawyer or an industry expert. He was desperately in search of a platform that has all the data of global patent research, and which could help him discover whether his research could be patented or not. This is where a startup like Einfolge Technologies comes in handy. Founded by Ruhan Rajput and Binod Singh in 2014, the firm runs an active platform that allows researchers to use patent analytics and market research fields to help them discover their research patent worthiness.

If you are an astute technology person, you would know the importance of filing a patent and getting it granted. But any technocrat can tell you that filing a patent can be cumbersome, time consuming and requires patience, which means you have to spend money for the best IP lawyers. If you are a new startup or a researcher then chances are you may not have too much funds. So what if a platform can do this for you and take all the pressure off filing?

Einfolge’s platform helps clients to streamline operations, reduce cost and enhance business efficiencies through its expert solutions. Say, a startup wants to patent a communication protocol. Einfolge crunches data and is able to let the startup know whether the protocol has already been patented or has similar technologies that require some technical answers. That’s when Ruhan and Binod also offer personalised and customised services in the form of consulting with strict adherence to deadlines.

“We work with various organisations such as startups, pharma companies, SMEs, scientists, the agricultural sector and PSUs through customised solutions in patent and intellectual property rights (IPR).  Starting from the initial research to the filing of the patent is done by an expert team that understands the hurdles faced by the startups in the initial stage and accordingly tailors solutions to meet their requirements,” says Binod Singh, Co-founder of Einfolge Technologies.

In short, Einfolge plays a crucial role for all those who deal with innovations and wish to protect their IPs across the globe.

Ruhan has a background in Computer Engineering and worked in corporates for a decade. He had worked for JP Morgan besides IT companies like Wipro, and Mastek in Oracle-based database developments projects. He is the technology brain behind Einfolge.

Binod has a M Phil degree in Biotech and also a PGD in Patent Laws from Bangalore University. He worked in the patent sector for 14 years and consulted for independent inventors, CEOs of many large companies and experts from a number of publicly traded companies and research heads of institutes.


New Technologies Worth Investing In

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
October 2, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

You want to find the hot new technologies, and invest in them.  Smart!
When a techology gets “old” there are too many companies in it, driving down profits.  And, people get tired of new product announcements in old technologies.  For example, when was the last time you got excited about an ad for tires?  Yet there was a time when many people would get excited about such an ad.

So, what's hot?  What has an open field ahead of it?  What has room for growth?  It really is possible to answer those questions, if you know how.  Here are a few tips.

First tip: find a field that has not been updated lately.  If it is in the news every day, though, chances are it is very updated.  For example, solar power is updated.  Cell phones too, and cameras, and televisions sets.

So what hasn't been updated?  What has a real future?  Easy!

Tip one: look at change.  For example, natural gas has dropped in price, and vast reserves have been discovered.  This means a sharp downward trend in natural gas prices.  What products will benefit?  We know that natural gas is even safe in the home, so anything goes.  Good fields for investment therefore will be anything that uses natural gas, yet hasn't been widely sold and has few competitors in the field.  If only we could discover what those products are!

It turns out that we CAN find those products.  Specifically, you CAN find what new things use natural gas, which companies are making them, and many other worthwhile details.  Here's how, so keep reading.

You can locate those products and the companies of interest, using patents as your guide.  That's not too hard – you can search on any patent site and limit your search to just the current year and a specific search term.  Easy!  And, issued patents often show the Assignee, i.e. the company that owns it.


UNICEF Funds 6 Blockchain Startups to ‘Solve Global Challenges’

By: Nikhilesh De

The United Nations’ charity arm for children, UNICEF, is funding research into blockchain tech.

Announced Monday, UNICEF is investing $100,000 in six blockchain startups to “solve global challenges using blockchain technology,” ranging from healthcare delivery transparency to managing finances and resources.

The investments are part of a broader program which already funds 20 technology startups, according to a press release.

These are UNICEF’s latest investments in blockchain startups through its innovation fund, which first hinted at the move as far back as February 2016, and put out a call for firms in the space explicitly at the beginning of this year.

Each of these startups is based in a developing economy, with firms based out of Argentina, Mexico, India, Tunisia and Bangladesh.

The six recipients are Atix Labs and Onesmart, which are developing platforms for tracking finances; Prescrypto, which is building a platform to track patient histories; Statwig, which is working to ensure vaccine delivery with a supply chain platform; Utopixar, which is working on a social collaboration tool; and W3 Engineers, which is looking to develop an offline networking system that does not require internet access.

UNICEF Innovation principal advisor Chris Fabian explained in a statement that the fund invests in projects “when our financing, technical support, and focus on vulnerable populations can help a technology grow and mature in the most fair and equitable way possible.”

He added:

“Blockchain technology is still at an early stage – and there is a great deal of experimentation, failure, and learning ahead of us as we see how, and where, we can use this technology to create a better world.”

On top of the funding, UNICEF will provide assistance with the products and technology, as well as share access to its network of partners and experts.

The companies are expected to deliver open-source prototypes of their projects over the next 12 months.

UNICEF has been looking into blockchain for years, investing in an identity-focused startup two years ago and trialing smart contracts for transactions.

UNICEF image via JPstock / Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Source >>

Getting Investors - Ultra Quick Tips

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
Septemper 18, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

So, you need an investor.  Probably to start a new business and launch a new product.  Here's a very short yet useful guide.

Get a distributor.  Yes, they don't sound like investors, but it helps to see them that way.  Why so?  A typical one will bear the costs in some way, and help sell the product.  These things are what a good investor would do.  Typically, with a new product, you can expect to get anywhere from 2 to 9 percent of the selling price, though this can vary.

Sell though a TV marketing company – you know the ones.  You see them on late night television, or on cable channels that sell goods.  And yes, they don't sound like investors, but it will help to look at them that way.  A typical one will help with the costs in come way, and perhaps even with the development and testing of the product.  These are things a good investor might do.  Typically, one might expect anywhere from 2 to 4 percent of the selling price.


Best Practices For Developing, Managing And Protecting Your Company's Intellectual Property

By: Chalmers Brown

Every company has some type of intellectual property (IP). It's that product or service that you have developed that sets you apart from other companies and frames your business, its purpose and its growth potential. Therefore, you want to keep developing, managing and protecting that IP in a way that drives more value and stimulates sustainable growth. It's also important that there is some type of exit strategy in place since most companies are acquired primarily due to their IP assets.

As someone who's created my own startups and is now working with others on theirs to help develop technology, I've gained a greater understanding of how to take care of these assets as an IT executive so that I might provide others with best practices to implement with their own IP. Previously, I did not prioritize IP in the way I should have. Here are some best practices to employ:

Identify And Define Your IP

It may seem obvious, but it's important to define and detail exactly what is included in your IP in order to develop and protect it. This starts with anything that has been created within the company by the IT team or any other employee in terms of some aspect of the products or services you provide. An IP attorney can help inform this process until you understand how and what you should be tracking related to IP.

From there, you can use an IP tracking tool like Traklight (which I am not affiliated with but have used in a recent startup for IP tracking). It even provides recommendations on each item it lists related to IP protection. Part of identification also includes keeping very detailed notes on dates, including the dates you created the IP and specific times related to revisions or changes to those assets.

Weigh Legal Protection

It's important to know what type of IP should have patent protection so you can prioritize what funds you have available while putting legal protection behind it. With changing patent laws, it's important to learn what type of patent you should get and how soon to file because you can lose the rights to your own IP in certain situations by not filing for a patent before someone else does it. This primarily relates to product design IP.

Other types of legal protection you may need to get involve trademarks for IP like a brand logo, phrase or graphic design. You may also need a copyright for content-related IP. Trade secret protection is another possibility for certain types of IP. An example of this would be KFC and its trade secret protection of its fried chicken recipe.

Consult An IP Professional 

I spent considerable time with an IP professional to make sure everything I was doing was correct and covered all the bases. The Intellectual Property Association is a good online resource for finding professionals and further educating yourself on what to do in relation to your own IP. Also, legal directories like features attorneys who specialize in IP and may also be useful for ensuring you are managing your IP in the best way possible.

Don't Forget About IP

With so much going on every day with managing an IT department, managing IP can be overlooked. That means keeping track of renewal dates on legal IP registration or following up on additional documentation. IP does not take care of itself. Create a formal strategy for managing it, including tasks, roles and responsibilities, and timeline to stay on top of key dates, and focus on how changes in the IP landscape may affect your own assets.


Getting Investors – Surprising Types

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
September 16, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

So, you need an investor.  Probably to start a new business and launch a new product.  Here's a very short yet useful guide to some surprising types of investor.

Get a distributor.  Yes, they don't sound like investors, but it helps to see them that way.  Why so?  A typical one will bear the costs in some way, and help sell the product.  These things are what a good investor would do.  Typically, with a new product, you can expect to get anywhere from 2 to 9 percent of the selling price, though this can vary.

Sell though a TV marketing company – you know the ones.  You see them on late night television, or on cable channels that sell goods.  And yes, they don't sound like investors, but it will help to look at them that way.  A typical one will help with the costs in come way, and perhaps even with the development and testing of the product.  These are things a good investor might do.  Typically, one might expect anywhere from 2 to 4 percent of the selling price.

Go to an investment club.  There are surprisingly many if you look.  Try online searches, and word-of-mouth if necessary.  Ask around, especially in local businesses, where the owner might well belong to such an investment club.  A good investor will take about 10 to 50 percent of your business, in exchange for investment money and possibly expertise.  A good investor will know how to help you succeed!

Press releases!  There are companies that do those.  The more press releases, the better.  Put up a web site so investors reading the press releases can find you.


All you ever wanted to know about Intellectual Property Rights

By: Legal Virtue

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property Rights are the rights given to an individual and the company over their creativity. IPR is related to art, articles, ideas or other intangible assets. These rights give the creator who could be an individual or a company an exclusive right over the use of their creation for a certain period-of-time (except for trademarks). The reason this right came into existence is to encourage creativity and protect it from imitating or taken advantage or credit by the non-deserving.

Following are the Intellectual Property Rights.


Copyright is the right creators have over their creations. It legally protects the creators for their work of art, which could be content, a story, a piece of software, a picture you have taken or a piece of music. It provides a legal protection over that creation. Since you become the copyright owner, you have the right to sell copies of your work, perform the work in public, display the work in public, and reproduce the work.

There are a few things, which copyright do not cover such as systems, method of operation, facts and ideas.


A trademark may seem intricate, once you get to know the basics of it; the process of getting one becomes less intimidating. A trademark could be a phrase, design, symbol, or it could also a combination of all of these. It helps companies to stand out of competition by distinguishing the source of product or service. A registered trademark is not restrained to a logo, name or tagline; it can also protect jingles, symbols, patterns, expressions and catchphrases.


A patent is an Intellectual Property Right, which is been granted to an inventor, so that it promotes innovation. Once you get a patent, the inventor can publicly disclose the invention, without the fear of getting copied or made use of, or sell it. This means for the initial few years of the inventions life only the inventor can profit from it however, public can benefit from it. Others can sell or use the invention once they have the consent from the inventor or if they have paid for it. There are varieties of patents such as plant patents, software patents, design patents, composition of matter, utility patent, and articles of manufacture.

Design Protection:

Design protection safeguards the shape and the appearance of the product, which naked eyes can see. A design means the features of configuration, shape, ornament, pattern or composition of lines or colors applied to any article. They could be two-dimensional, three-dimensional or both forms.  In order obtain protection for designs there are some requirements. These requirements are

> It should be non-obvious
> It should be visible on a finished article
> It should be original
> It should be applicable to a functional article
> There should not be any prior publication or disclosure of the design.

Trade secrets:

Trade secret protects any confidential information, which results in providing the competition a competitive edge. Use without the consent of the holder is considered as unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret. Trade secret is protected without any procedural formalities and is covered without any time limit. The protection of the same may appear to be attractive for SMEs.

Do you still have doubts about IPR? Are you looking into filing one?

If so, you can easily connect with the top-rated attorney, Just ask a question or post a job and we will match you with relevant IPR attorney who can help you today.

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Let's Sue That patent Infringer - Or Maybe Not!

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
August 23, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Someone is infringing your patent.  Now you want to rush out and sue them!  Let's stop and talk about that for a minute. 

The best reason to wait: that infringer is promoting your product, which takes time, money and effort before it pays off.  So, let them do it for a while, and then swoop in!  You shouldn't wait too long, perhaps a year or two or three, although some case law suggests that you can wait six years to sue.  Don't rely on that, of course - in a specific case your patent attorney should verify and recommend specific deadlines.  

 Let's just mention that there can be a number of defenses to a patent lawsuit.  Such defenses depend on the answers to the following (and possibly other) questions, such as: Was the infringer actually the first to use it?  Can your patent be challenged?  Were you actually damaged?  Is the alleged infringer's device/product really close enough to your patent to infringe its claims?  

Now let's say there are no defenses to the lawsuit, and victory is absolutely certain.  This is very hypothetical, of course, since there is always some uncertainly.  But, assuming this perfect situation, should you still go ahead and sue?  The answer may be “no” for a number of reasons!

So don't sue?  Why not?  Well, for starters, if the infringement was for a small number of products, you are unlikely to get meaningfully large damages.  It is very easy to spend more money that you can recover.  That's right, you can win the lawsuit and yet get little or no cash. 

If the court finds in your favor, you can ask for actual damages, and/or lost profits, and/or attorneys fee, and/or costs, among other things.  Notice I said you can ask!  However, asking is not the same as getting.  Worse, it can be difficult to prove lost profits or actual damages.

Belgian digital learning startup gets €1M funding: Here’s what’s next!

By:  Editorial team

A Belgian digital learning and workplace training platform, MySkillCamp has recently raised €1 million. The investment comes from new and existing investors including LeanSquare, Seederfund, WapInvest and SIBA.

Kevin Tillier, co-founder and CEO of MySkillCamp, said: “We wanted to decompartmentalise our teams by offering them a better framework, and facilitate internal collaboration, while anticipating future recruitment needs.”

What is MySkillCamp?

MySkillCamp, headquartered in Tournai and founded in 2016, offers a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) solution that is used to track, create, manage and administer professional training in spaces called Camps. The startup’s current list of clients includes D’Ieteren, Thalys, Sodexo, Spadel, and IFAPME Charleroi. They have been using the platform to impart training and initiate professional development of their employees.

How does MySkillCamp work?

In order to facilitate workforce training, the platform employs tools like courses, quizzes, media, projects, discussions, certificates and events. The users of the platform can also participate in learning communities. By doing so, they can receive one-on-one mentoring through the platform.


MySkillCamp’s all-in-one platform allows HR departments of various companies to create a complete digital training environment for employees by connecting all the necessary third-party and proprietary tools. The HR departments can supervise their employees’ progress through analytical data available on the platform’s dashboard.

Funding the future

The funding will enhance the platform by providing a learning experience that is modern, centralised, participatory, scalable and unified. The startup will also focus on recruitment in the first half of 2019. It aims to hire experienced developers, web designers, and AI developers. This will further allow the startup to focus on its marketing department and look for potential new customers in order to grow its business in the French and Belgian markets.

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more updates in the tech startup world.

Did you know you can post your job for free on our job board? If you require extra promotion, reach out to for a discounted offer.

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What Does A Patent Lawsuit Cost ?

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
August 23, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Patent infringement is a highly charged subject, and I have seen how it affects the patent owner.  A lawsuit would seem like a wonderful solution.  But, what should it cost?

Though I have heard many numbers, it is all just hearsay.  Even so, it may be helpful to say it.

A contingency attorney might take the case, but may require an ownership interest in your company of 50 percent or higher.  Is it worth it?  Maybe so, if that's the only way to go forward.  And why the high ownership interest?  Easy – to have control to ensure payment in event of a victory.

A very small law firm or individual attorney will often charge less than a large firm.  I have heard stories wherein a plaintiff might pay somewhere between 20k and 60k, depending on if/when it settles.  Higher numbers are possible when it goes to trial and there are many issues.   Is this a good value?  That depends – if you can only afford that much, then there's simply no choice.

A big company practically must use a large law firm for its reputation and size.  There is great variation, but one should expect to pay for that large size and reputation.  I have heard a number of experienced litigators say to simply add a zero to the numbers used for a small law firm.  Is it worth it?   That depends, but I have seen examples where it was well worth having a large firm do the litigation.

Where's that money go, anyway?  Well, a portion goes to filing or answering the Complaint; attending to discovery and motions related to discovery; depositions and court reporter costs; various court hearings where attendance is required; and finally for the trial itself (if it goes that far).


10 Avoidable Mistakes That Could Doom Your Startup

By: Mark Glucki

90% of startups fail. It’s a new world of business, and only the strongest new companies will survive. So how do you avoid startup doom?

Sometimes failure comes down to sheer bad luck or influences beyond an entrepreneur’s control, but in many cases, it can come down to the same simple mistakes that companies make time and time again.

Here are 10 common errors to avoid if you want your business to last the distance.

1. Inadequate Market Research

It doesn’t matter how remarkable you think your product is if the market doesn’t agree with you. Very few startups offer an innovation that can truly revolutionize a space, so before you spend significant money on development and marketing, be sure your market research is up to scratch. Don’t waste time and resources on a white elephant with no demand.

2. Insufficient Startup Funding

All startups need to have a realistic plan for how they’ll operate until revenue starts to flow reliably. Almost always, this means having sufficient initial funding in place to see you through the first lean months or years, whether that’s through your own investment or via a third party funding partner.

3. Unsuitable Partner Choice

As vital as funding is, it’s a mistake to go into business with a partner just because of the capital they can inject. For long-term success, you also need to have a matching vision, common aims, and complementary skill sets.

4. Poor Customer Care

If gaining and retaining customers isn’t your number one aim, your company will struggle to develop any momentum. Providing great customer care and an excellent experience is a non-negotiable requirement for success.

5. Ignoring Revenue Needs

Especially in tech sectors, it seems fashionable for startups to focus on building a product range and a user base while leaving revenue worries until later. This rarely works out well. If you don’t have a strong, actionable idea about how you’ll generate revenue as you grow, gaining more customers could actually be a fast route to failure as your costs quickly outstrip your income.

6. Poor Budget Control

Never let costs get out of control in your quest for growth. Losing sight of the importance of healthy cash flow is a big mistake — no matter how many other metrics you use to measure success. Unless you have investors with extremely deep pockets (who aren’t focused on ROI), you need to keep a steady eye on the bottom line.

7. Getting Overly Enthusiastic

Hopefully, your startup will be a rapid success, but it’s all too common for entrepreneurs to become too enthusiastic at the first signs of substantial profit. It’s important to keep a level head, press on with your strategy, and continue making sensible business decisions rather than letting that enthusiasm get the better of you.


Patent Application – What to Expect After You File One

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
June 21, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

So you're an inventor with a patent application!  What happens now that it has been filed with the US Patent Office?  Here's what to expect.
First, you'll get your Official Filing Receipt – it is actually pretty important.  Sure, you'll get an electronic filing receipt if you filed it online.  But, that's not what matters.  The Official Filing Receipt is the easiest and fastest way to get your foreign filing license.  And you'll want that, if you ever intend to file in other countries and need your US priority date.

If the US Patent Office has any objections to the drawings, specification, or abstract, they'll (usually) notify you at the same time they send the Official Filing Receipt.  Formal drawings are the main type of objection – you'll need those.

After a period of time, typically anywhere from six months to two years, you'll get your first Office Action.  That's typically where the patent examiner reads the case, searches for the claimed invention, and applies the prior art to the claims.  This is also where the examiner can make objects, for example objections to claim language, to errors in the specification or drawings, or other things.

The first Office Action could, of course, be an allowance.  Those are not that common.  If your application is allowed, there is an Issue Fee due that varies depending on your inventorship status (micro entity, small entity, or non-small entity).  There is also a publication fee due, too (if the application was published).

Assuming you didn't get an allowance, then you'll have the option to respond to the First Office Action.  Typically, your Response would meet any objections by amending the offending parts.  And, your Response typically would provide remarks in support of patentability, such as explaining how the invention as claimed differs from the applied references.  Your Response likely will also include an amendment to the claims to recite a feature not found in the applied reference, and this is one way to overcome an applied reference.


The 5 Biggest Mistakes Every New Entrepreneur Makes When Launching a Startup

By: Bill Green

Becoming an entrepreneur means you've decided to sign yourself up to learn things the hard way.

This is what makes building a company so exciting. It's also the reason building a company is so stressful. Setting out and doing something on your own is both liberating and daunting--and for many entrepreneurs, this means learning important lessons the hard way.

As someone who has been building businesses for over 40 years, I'd like to share five of the big mistakes I see new entrepreneurs make over and over again. My hope is that, after reading this, you'll avoid some of the pitfalls on the journey that can lead to expensive lessons.

1. Don't invest in real estate when you could invest in inventory, assets, and startup capital.

You would be surprised how many entrepreneurs think it's a good idea to buy the brick-and-mortar space they want to use for their business, when they could just as easily rent.

The logic here is, "Hey, if I'm going to be using this space, why not own it and build my real estate portfolio over time?" Trust me, this isn't the time or place to start building your real estate portfolio. Right now, you need to build a profitable business--and you need to do it before you run out of cash.

It's far more valuable to invest your valuable capital into things that can grow your business: inventory, payroll, account receivables, etc.

2. Don't skimp on legal documentation.

Anyone can start an LLC. Do you have an operating agreement? Do you have protection for any inventions, patents, trademarks, or other intellectual property? Do you have stock agreements for any partners or investors? Do you have appropriate employee documentation?

It's fun to come up with the big, grand vision and daydream about how you're going to spend all the money you'll make. By all means, let your mind wander. But always, always make sure you have your ducks in a row. Nothing kills a business faster than people leaving things to "trust" instead of setting appropriate expectations in writing.

If you need help, there's a free service called designed to give entrepreneurs tools to make sure they have the right documents in place to start a business.

3. Don't pay yourself more than you have to.

Choosing short-term rewards over long-term home runs happens all the time. You stumble upon a business idea. You grow the team to a few employees. And then you immediately start paying yourself a higher salary.

You're depriving your company of the resources it needs to grow. Instead of hiring for a role that could help the business grow even further, you decides you need a new watch, faster car, or fancier home. Sure enough, the company stagnates, and then usually either dies or gets acquired by a larger company--whose founder is more concerned with long-term growth.

As someone who has acquired companies far larger than my own, simply because the founders had taken all their growth capital for themselves, let me tell you: This mistake happens far more often than you might think.

4. Be careful when hiring friends and family members.

I write on this at length in my book, All In, because I've found hiring friends and family to be the easy way out. It allows you to get someone into a role quickly. It removes the painful recruiting process. You probably consider friends and family trustworthy.

Before you bring someone from your personal life into your professional life, ask yourself this one question: Will you be able to fire them? And what would that do to your relationship?

The answer to this question is never positive. I've had exceptions in my life, but it usually ends up being a band-aid solution to a longer-term problem.

5. Do your due diligence on your technology--or face the consequences.

The wrong technology provider can crush a business. When I started my most recent company, LendingOne, I never felt the available loan origination systems were even close to providing what we needed for the service we wanted to provide. Instead of trying to fit a round peg inside a square hole, we hired and designed our own--and now have some of the best technology in the industry (and it's all proprietary).

Not every company needs to build its own software. What's more important is that you understand the functions you need within your business, and you do your due diligence to find the right technologies for your product or service.

If you find out you've chosen the wrong technology, take the time to understand why. Slapping another tech platform onto the problem is rarely the solution.

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Why Worry About Infringement – Things To Do First

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
June 3, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

You've seen the topic of patent infringement in the news.  Should you be worried?  If you are, here's some things to do that should minimize your risk.

If your product needs a component that is patented, you have two options.  One is to buy that component from the patent owner or from an official licensee.  Why?  It carries an implied license.  The other option is to contact the patent owner and negotiate a license, in which case fees may be small. 

What if there's nothing out there like your product, how will you know if you should worry?  You can do a right-to-use patent search.  This is different from a normal patentability search, because you're not worried about patentability – you're worried about infringement.  In a right-to-use patent search, you will search for patents that are expired, meaning more than 17 years old.  If you can find the component or feature that is of interest, then you can rely on it and have a right-to-use.  For a quick and easy patent search, try going to any patent site that allows searching, such as the official uspto site or Google® patents.


Patents Protect Inventions

By: Guest Post

An invention with great commercial potential; a catchy business name; artworks and innovative designs. Intellectual property is the most important asset of many start-ups. Failing to protect it legally could result in your business being ruined if someone steals your idea. Here is a summary of the main forms of intellectual property protection in the UK.


Patents protect inventions. To be eligible for a patent, the idea must be genuinely inventive and capable of industrial application. You apply for a patent to the UK Intellectual Property Office or the European Patents Office (which gives protection throughout the EU).  Unfortunately, the application process is very slow and can take two to four years in the UK and longer for an EU patent. Once a patent is granted you have the exclusive right to product and sell the invention for 20 years. You can sell, license or even mortgage your patent.


A registered design relates to the visual appearance of a product. Designs can be registered for objects as well as two-dimensional things like patterns and graphic symbols. To register a design it must be new and have “individual character”. Applications can be made via the UK Intellectual Property Office or the European Trademarks and Design Registry and, once granted give you monopoly rights over the use of the design for 25 years (subject to renewal every five years).


Copyright protects original creative works like writing, songs, photos, graphics and source code.  Owners of copyright can prevent others using their work without permission. You do not need to apply for copyright as it is automatically assigned to the creator of the work (or their employer if created in the course of employment). However, to enforce your copyright you need to prove that you were the first to have the idea. There is no guaranteed effective way to prove copyright but examples include using copies of web pages saved by Google cache or the web archive, or asking a solicitor to keep a record of the date the work was created.

Also, you can register your copyright in the appropriate jurisdiction. In this case, you will get a certificate of registration that proves that your creation is protected by copyright and confirms your ownership.

To prepare and file applications for copyright registration you should consult lawyers that provide copyright services in your local jurisdiction, especially if you are doing business in countries that are not signatories to the Berne Convention.


Trademarks prevent other businesses “piggybacking” on your brand to poach customers or damage your reputation. Representations of a brand including the name, slogans, jingles and logos can be protected under the Trademarks Act 1994. Trademarks can be applied for from the UK Intellectual Property Office. And you can protect your brand at a European Level through the Community Trademark. You can prevent other businesses using something resembling your trademark to sell similar goods and services if this would be likely to confuse the public into thinking they were you. It is important to remember that the trademark and website domain name registration processes are separate; registering a trademark does not give you the right to the domain names containing your brand name.

Intellectual property is one of the most important legal issues for start ups. If your business has significant intellectual assets it is advisable to take advice from a specialist solicitor to ensure these are affectively protected.


Costly Misconceptions About Trademarks

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
June 8, 2013 
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Getting a trademark is a great idea, but things may not be that simple.  There are some misconceptions that can cost time, money, or even loss of rights.

One common misconception is that a registered trademark is necessary to have enforceable trademark rights.  We are all familiar with registered trademarks – the kind with the ® registration symbol.  But, trademark rights normally arise from actual use, even for unregistered trademarks.  State courts can enforce such rights arising from actual use, even in the absence of a federally registered trademark.  No registration, no problem – sometimes.

Getting a registered trademark requires filing a trademark application.  Choices need to be made right at the start: actual use or intent-to-use; type of goods/services; logo or word mark.  These choices can have profound consequences.  Even the U.S. Trademark Office recommends having an experienced trademark attorney help with those choices – you'll see the warning for that in the online trademark  application filing forms and elsewhere.

Actual use sounds better than intent-to-use.  Maybe so - unless there is a conflict with another trademark filed on an intent-to-use basis.  Then, surprisingly, the owner of the intent-to-use to application is permitted to introduce evidence of events that show an intent-to-use that has occurred before the application's filing date.  The actual-use applicant does not have the same rights.  Such evidence of intent-to-use can be scant: a mere mention at a business meeting, or an order for design of the mark, for example.  This is peculiar to federal trademarks; state courts can apply their own standards and might well decide specific cases differently.

Choice of goods/services is important: more is better, right?  Not so fast.  Listing multiple catergories is all good and well, until you have to prove actual sales.  Sure, a Statement of Use might work with the U.S. Trademark Office, but at a cost: forfeiture of rights if untrue.  When it comes time to enforce your trademark rights against an infringer, it may become necessary to have proof of use in specific categories of goods.  Listing a few categories of goods is fine, and once you get your trademark registered your future use in other categories will allow you to file further trademark applications for those additional uses.