[Baypiggies] Trademark of the group name (common law vs. registered)

Karen Dalton kd at karend.net
Tue Jan 19 17:23:09 EST 2016

One of the issues brought up because of the recent Meetup situation was 
that perhaps BayPIGgies should have a registered trademark to prevent 
this kind of situation in the future.

I was discussing the situation over the weekend with a friend who is an 
established Intellectual Property lawyer in the Bay Area.

I was advised that the common law trademark might be sufficient for the 
group's needs.

 From wikipedia: "The United States, Canada and other countries also 
recognize common law trademark rights, which means action can be taken 
to protect an unregistered trademark if it is in use."

The advice was also that the Baypiggies  group may not wish to not go 
through the full process of legally registering the trademark because it 
may take up to 2 years, costs money, and then most importantly the group 
would be legally obligated to continually search out and legally remedy 
trademark infringement in order to retain the registered trademark.

Thus based on that discussion my unofficial-and-not-a-lawyer 
recommendation from talking to an IP lawyer unofficially would be to use 
what we have already, which is a common law trademark (and the "TM" 
symbol can be used for common law trademarks without registering). It 
may not confer quite as many rights but it is still enforceable and may 
not have the same burdens and ongoing obligations as officially 
registering BayPIGgies (or any camel-cased version of the group name 
[e.g. BAyPIGgies, Baypiggies]).

Some reference info:


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