The following is a checklist to help your company in the new year with intellectual property issues to investigate or protect.  For additional information, please visit our website at www.cislo.com and use our IPSEARCH and IPNEWS tabs for links to numerous IP resources.  If we can be of any assistance, please feel free to call us for an appointment to discuss your situation.


___  File for federal and/or state trademark registration for product names, packaging, slogans, and logos.
___  File for service mark registration of company name where possible.
___  Check to see that Affidavits of Use have been filed for any existing registrations.
___  Record existing trademarks with United States Customs to block importation of infringing goods.
___  Use the “®” symbol only with federally registered marks, and use “™” for unregistered marks or state trademark registrations.
___  Arrange for a trademark watch service to see if others are trying to register similar marks.


___  File provisional or utility applications to protect unique product designs, formulations, or technologies, file as early as possible to avoid filing deadlines that will bar the granting of a patent.
___  File design patent applications to protect ornamental designs of products.
___  Pay maintenance fees on existing patents.
___  Use “Pat. Pending” where applicable, and mark all patented products with Patent Number.
___  Have all employees and outside designers sign agreements assigning all patent rights for any inventions to the company.

Trade Name

___  File Fictitious Business Name Statement.
___  Check renewal date for existing Fictitious Business Name Statement.

Trade Secrets

___  Develop written trade secret policy to maintain secrecy, have employees read and sign.
___  Physically secure trade secret information and matters.
___  Have employees and vendors sign non-disclosure agreements.


___  File for copyright registration for any website, written works, graphics, design, or any other work that might need protection from direct copying.
___ Use the “©” symbol, author’s name, and date of the work on all original materials, including catalogs, advertisements, websites, unique product designs, graphics, etc.
___  Have all employees and outside designers assign their rights to any original works to the company, and affirm that that all such works are “works for hire.”

Domain Names

___  Register all company names and popular product names.
___  If feasible, register all variants and common mis-spellings of main domains.
___  Check renewal dates for existing registrations, and sign up for auto-renewal.

Avoiding Infringement

___  Conduct Internet searches to find possible competitors and competing products/services to determine if there are any potential infringement issues.
___  Perform patent searches for new and existing products and services offered for sale.
___  Perform trademark searches for all trade names and product names.
___  Register an agent with the Copyright Office for Online Service Providers to receive immunity for online copyright infringement.
___  Check your Comprehensive General Liability insurance policies to see if they cover infringement, consider obtaining an intellectual property insurance policy.