Students, instructors and local business owners crowded the Craig Auditorium Thursday as Craig Morris, managing attorney for Trademark Educational Outreach at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), delivered an informative lecture, titled Talking Trademark, on trademark processes and laws in the United States.
Drawing on his experiences working at the USPTO, Morris detailed the seemingly complicated process for properly acquiring and maintaining trademarks, as well as pitfalls many trademark seekers encounter.
“[People] definitely struggle only because a lot of people do not realize that it is a legal process,” Morris said. “They just jump into the process and don’t understand, ‘Well, why was I refused?’.”
Sheri Weedman, owner of Annedore’s Fine Chocolates in Westwood Hills, Kan., said she was in attendance for exactly this reason.
“I bought a business that already had trademarks and I didn’t understand [how they worked],” Weedman said.
Weedman said she plans to apply the knowledge she gained at the lecture to trademarking products her company manufactures in the future.
In addition to benefiting the local business owners in attendance, Gwenda Hawk, chair of business law and assistant professor of legal studies in the Paralegal department, said she believes the talk will benefit the marketing and entrepreneurship students who attended.
“I think as they start to look at the big picture of a campaign for a business,” Hawk said. “That they will be able to use this information, getting that balance of the creative and legal side.”
As to that combination, Morris finished his presentation by referring to a quote from Benjamin Franklin and relating it to the content of his lecture.
“‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’” Morris said, quoting Franklin. “Your ounce of prevention is a mark that is in fact registerable and protectable, otherwise you’re going to spend more money and time trying to fix something that may not be fixable.”
More information about the process of acquiring and maintaining trademarks can be found on the USPTO’s site.