A trademark serves to identify and distinguish one party’s goods or services from the goods and services of others. A trademark may be a word, phrase, symbol or design, or any combination of those. Trademark rights arise from either (1) actual use of the mark, or (2) the filing of an application to register a mark in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) stating that the applicant has bona fide intention to use the mark in interstate commerce.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has reduced the governmental filing fees for trademark applications and renewals, effective January 17, 2015. For applicants that agree to utilize electronic correspondence, the new per-classification fee for a standard trademark application has been reduced from $325 to $275 per class. Applicants may also continue to receive non-electronic notifications and correspondence from the USPTO at the same $325 per class filing fee.
Likewise, fees for trademark renewals have been reduced from $400 to $300 per class for electronic filers.
I first posted a version of this blog entry in June 2012, and have received many queries since about music licensing and, in particular, the homestyle exception. A common misconception about the homestyle exception is that it applies to recorded music, such as MP3s and CDs. It does not. The homestyle exception only applies to television and radio broadcasts.
Read on for more information about the homestyle exception, and please feel free to contact me if you have questions about whether the exception applies to your business.
Shiro Kashiba, founder and former executive chef of Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant, filed a declaratory action in King County Superior Court on May 27, 2014, to prevent the restaurant’s current owners from extending a non-compete provision against him. Shiro, twice nominated for a James Beard Award, signed an employment agreement with Taste of Japan, LLC (“Taste of Japan”), when Taste of Japan purchased the restaurant in 2007. In that agreement, Shiro agreed to work for the new owners by helping to train the new executive chef and by occasionally visiting the restaurant to help provide a “sense of presence” during the transition to new ownership. Shiro also agreed that he would not compete against Taste of Japan in the Japanese restaurant business for up to three years after his employment with the company. The employment agreement expired by its own terms in 2008. Accordingly, Shiro has taken the position that the three-year non-compete provision expired in 2011.