Beware of Scam Trademark Solicitations

Posted by:

Trademark applicants and registrants take notice:  There are increasing numbers of domestic and international outfits that issue trademark compliance and renewal notices that look like legitimate invoices or governmental requests.  In actuality, these notices are sent by private individuals or entities trying to make a quick buck.  Some of these notices are solicitations from companies offering to file renewals with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for an exorbitant fee.  Using deceptively official-sounding names such as “United States Trademark Registration Office”, “Trademark and Patent Office” and “Patent & Trademark Agency”, these companies charge excessive fees for routine or unnecessary services or worse, take your money and disappear.  Others, such as IP Data in the Czech Republic, seek to charge a “filing fee” of over $2,400 to publish your trademark in their own private Internet database – an expensive exercise that is not an application for trademark registration and confers no trademark rights.

This problem has become so widespread and severe that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published a list of known international trademark registration scams.   The USPTO keeps a similar scammer database, identifying the following organizations that sent non-USPTO solicitations, prompting consumer complaints to the USPTO:

  • TM-DB Register of Protected Trademarks
  • Trademark and Patent Office
  • Trademark Compliance Center (See an example of a scam solicitation sent by TCC)
  • Trademark Registration and Monitoring Office
  • United States Trademark Registration Office
  • Patent & Trademark Agency
  • United States Trademark Maintenance Service
  • U.S. Trademark Compliance Service
  • WDTP
  • WIPT
  • TM Collection
  • TM Edition
  • Patent Trademark Register
  • Register of International Patents and Trademarks
  • Trademark Renewal Service
  • Trademark Safeguard – Trademark Monitoring Service
  • Intellectual Property Agency Ltd.
  • IOPR – Intellectual Property Register
  • GBO, Inc.
  • Intellectual Property Services USA Incorporated
  • USTM Information Services
  • Brand Registration Office

In October 2014, a New York firm successfully won a lawsuit against “Patent & Trademark Agency LLC” for unfair competition and deceptive marketing practices, putting the company out of business.  A Final Consent Judgment was entered against Patent & Trademark Agency LLC, by which it agreed to permanently discontinue marketing and selling trademark registration or renewal services in the United States.

If you receive any unexpected email or correspondence regarding a trademark registration, you should immediately contact the USPTO or your counsel to verify the veracity of the sender and the correspondence.  Conkle, Kremer & Engel assists individuals and companies in all aspects of intellectual property protection, including the filing and maintenance of trademark registrations – and we know how to discriminate legitimate vendors from scammers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0

California Proposition 65 Warnings for DINP Exposure are Required Soon

Posted by:

Starting December 20, 2014, products sold in California that contain diisononyl phthalate (DINP) will require a Proposition 65 warning.

DINP is found is many soft plastic and vinyl products.  DINP is used as a plasticizer in a wide variety of products including apparel, footwear, sporting goods, gloves, fashion accessories, school supplies, shower curtains, bath mats and other home accessories, garden hoses, toys, vinyl flooring, and electrical wire and cables.

DINP was added to the Proposition 65 list of chemicals on December 20, 2013 as a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.  By law, the warning requirements go into effect one year after the listing.  Accordingly, the Proposition 65 warning requirement for products causing an exposure to DINP will start on December 20, 2014.

Businesses that manufacture, sell, or distribute products in California containing DINP are required to provide a warning to consumers that the product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.  The warning is required unless the exposure is so low as to pose no significant risk to cancer.  The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has not established a safe harbor level for DINP.

The phthalate DINP is presently banned in certain children’s toys and products in concentrations of greater than 0.1 percent under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.  Other phthalates that are already on the Proposition 65 chemical list include di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), di-n-hexyl phthalate (DnHP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP).

Companies that have not reformulated their products to remove DINP, or that fail to provide a Proposition 65 warning on products containing DINP, by December 20, 2014 are at risk of receiving a “Notice of Violation” from private enforcers seeking tens of thousands of dollars in penalties and attorneys’ fees.  A Notice of Violation typically precedes a lawsuit for violation of Proposition 65.

Conkle, Kremer & Engel has extensive experience in the area of Proposition 65.  CK&E provides businesses with legal counseling and guidance on compliance with Proposition 65.  CK&E also regularly assists businesses in responding to Notices of Violation and defending claims for violation of Proposition 65 in litigation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0

Mandatory Reporting of Chemically Formulated Products Underway:  Are You Ready?

Posted by:

Are you ready to comply with the California Air Resources Board’s new reporting requirements?

CARB recently issued the 2013 Consumer & Commercial Products Survey, which requires companies to report sales and formulation data for all chemically formulated consumer and commercial products that are sold or supplied for use in California.

CARB is authorized by law to collect data about chemically formulated products and from time to time gathers information through mandatory surveys.  The last such survey was in 2006.

According to CARB, the purpose of the 2013 Survey is to gather current information on volatile organic compounds (VOC), low vapor pressure VOC (LVP-VOC), and greenhouse gas (GHG) content from consumer and commercial products sold or supplied for use in California.  The Survey will also assist CARB in determining the feasibility of further reducing consumer product emissions, updating the consumer products emissions inventory, and evaluating emissions trends for consumer products.

The Survey requirements are detailed and require reporting of a wide variety of chemically formulated consumer and commercial products, even if those products do not contain any VOCs or contain low VOCs.  CARB has hosted informational webinars regarding the Survey.  The next CARB webinar is on December 15, 2014.

The 2013 Survey officially started on September 1, 2014, and all 2013 data must be reported to CARB by March 2, 2015.  But companies can expect to devote substantial resources well into 2016 to comply with CARB’s mandatory reporting requirements.  That’s because the Survey covers a three-year period and will require further reporting of sales and product ingredient data for 2014 and 2015, in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

In particular, data from the Survey will be used to help CARB prepare for the new State Implementation Plan (SIP) which by 2016 will be required to meet more stringent standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).  CARB is collecting data in preparation for the SIP, and is updating its emission inventories by collecting sales and ingredient data for all consumer product categories.

CARB has developed a list of pre-screening questions to help companies determine if they are required to submit survey data to CARB.  In general, each responsible party listed on the label of a consumer product that was sold or supplied for use in California during the calendar year, and falls into a category listed on that year’s Survey Category List, is required to report data to CARB.

The categories of consumer products that are subject to reporting are comprehensive:  California Air Resources Board 2013 Survey – List of Survey Categories  .Highlights from this list of the 2013 Survey categories include:

  • Personal Care Products: Antiperspirants and deodorants, body, hand and face cleaners, eyeglass and contact lens care products, facial and body treatments, fragrance products, hair care products, health use products, makeup cosmetics, nail care products, oral care products, shaving products, and pet care products
  • Adhesives, Sealants and Related Products: Adhesives, sealants and caulks
  • Household and Institutional Products: Air fresheners, odor removers/eliminators, other air scented products, arts and crafts supplies, cleaners and degreasers, dishwashing products, fabric, carpet and upholstery care products, food-related sprays and aerosol products, fuels and lighter materials, garden and lawn care products, laundry products, miscellaneous household products, office supply products, pool/spa/whirlpool/Jacuzzi/pond products, shoe and leather care products, waxes and polishes
  • Pesticide Products: Anti-microbial agents, fungicides and nematicides, herbicides, insecticides and repellants
  • Solvent and Thinning-Related Products: Electronic-related and miscellaneous solvent and thinning products
  • Vehicle and Marine Vessel Aftermarket Products: Detailing products and maintenance and repair products
  • Aerosol coating products: General coatings and specialty coatings

Conkle, Kremer & Engel monitors the latest developments in legal and regulatory issues to provide the most current legal guidance and counseling to its industry clients.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0

The Conkle Firm Presents at PCPC Emerging Issues Conference

Posted by:

Conkle, Kremer & Engel attorneys John Conkle and Kim Sim made a well-received presentation on emerging legal trends in the cosmetic and personal care products industry at the Emerging Issues Conference in Santa Monica, California.  Their topics included recent developments concerning hazardous waste regulation and trends in advertising and class action litigation affecting the personal care products industry – such as attacks on labeling products as “natural,” the California Organic Products Act.  CK&E’s presentation included an update on California’s regulation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in consumer products, an issue which has particular urgency because the California Air Resources Board is presently requiring survey responses from all responsible persons engaged in the manufacture or sale of a wide array of consumer products that may have VOCs potentially affecting air quality.

The slideshow from CK&E’s presentation is accessible here: Emerging Legal Trends

The Emerging Issues Conference is an annual presentation by the Personal Care Products Council.  The PCPC is the leading national trade association for the cosmetic and personal care products industry.  This Conference featured, among several insightful presentations, remarks by California State Senator Ed Hernandez on the importance of the California market and cooperation between state and business interests.  Kish Rajan, Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, gave a lively lunchtime presentation on the state’s determined interest in promotion of economic development.

Kish Rajan, Director Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0

The Conkle Firm Will Attend Cosmoprof Asia November 12-14, 2014

Posted by:

Conkle, Kremer & Engel attorneys John Conkle and Kim Sim will attend the Cosmoprof event for the Asia Pacific region in Hong Kong on Nov. 12-14, 2014.  Cosmoprof Asia will feature more than 2,350 exhibitors in the beauty industry, and expects more than 64,000 visitors from all over the world.  There will be 22 national and group pavilions.  Given the prominence of California’s personal care product industry, CK&E is proud to attend the Hong Kong event in association with the California Pavilion organized by the California Trade Alliance.  CK&E will meet with clients and correspondent counsel to facilitate business between manufacturers, distributors and vendors in the Asia Pacific region and the United States, with particular emphasis on California businesses.  Brand protection and distributor relations are always a major concern when doing business between the U.S. and Asia, and CK&E attorneys are there to help.  If you will be attending Cosmoprof Asia this year, please let us know and we will try to make arrangements for a meeting at the event.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0

The Conkle Firm Participates in MANA Attorney Forum in Chicago

Posted by:

Conkle, Kremer & Engel attorney Kim Sim participated in the annual Manufacturers’ Agents National Association (MANA) Attorney Forum in Chicago in September 2014.  The MANA Attorney Forum is an annual event for “rep-savvy” attorneys from across the country to meet and discuss legal issues and developments in the law that uniquely affect independent manufacturer’s representatives.

This year’s Attorney Forum covered a wide range of topics including conflicts of interest for sales representatives who represent competing lines, aspects of international law that impact sales representative relationships, successor companies and liability, valuation of rep firms, differences in manufacturers’ representative laws among states, ownership of customer lists and the recent amendment to the Minnesota Commission Protection Act.

CK&E regularly represents manufacturers’ representatives with respect to disputes relating to commissions, including a 2011 victory on behalf of its sales representative client that resulted in the published decision Reilly v. Inquest Technology, in which the Court of Appeal affirmed a $6.2 million judgment in favor of the sales representative under special California laws protecting sales representatives.  CK&E is proud to be a member of MANA and is honored to be recognized by the leading association of manufacturers and agents as specialists in the area of rep law.

Published in MANA’s Agency Sales Magazine:
MANA Attorney Forum 2014

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0

The Conkle Firm Successfully Defends Employee Wage and Hour Claim

Posted by:

If you’re a California employer, how well do you keep track of your employees’ meal and rest periods?  California law requires that employees be provided at least a ten-minute rest period every four hours, and a 30-minute meal period after five hours.  Non-exempt employees who work more than eight hours in a day, and more than 40 hours in a week, must be paid overtime.  Employers are required to maintain accurate records of employees’ timesheets and pay.  It sounds simple, but the devil is in the details.  If you have employees, it is important to put policies in place to ensure that all employees are taking their breaks and being paid for any overtime work.

If an employee believes he or she was deprived of meal and rest periods or not paid for overtime hours worked, the employee can file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner.  The Labor Commissioner’s Office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), is the forum for adjudication of such claims.  Often, this kind of complaint is filed after an employee is terminated.  Employers should realize that, regardless of the reasons for termination, in a wage and hour claim the deck is stacked against them from the start – it is the employer’s burden to show that the employee took breaks and was properly paid.

CK&E attorneys routinely advise clients about navigating California’s complex employer workplace requirements, and advocate for clients in disputes before the California Labor Commissioner and California state and federal courts.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0

The Conkle Firm Will Sponsor and Moderate Panel at Counterfeiting & Brand Protection Summit in New York

Posted by:

John Conkle of the Conkle, Kremer & Engel will moderate a panel presentation at the 13th Anti-Counterfeiting & Brand Protection Summit, on October 1, 2014 in New York City.  The title of the presentation will be Combining Forces:  Coordination of Public and Private Sectors against Pirates and Counterfeiters.  The panel will consist of preeminent experts on effective enforcement of civil and criminal anti-counterfeiting laws:  Marc Misthal (Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman LLP), James T. Hayes Jr. (Special Agent in Charge, ICE Homeland Security Investigations, New York Field Office), and Jodie Kane (Chief of Rackets Bureau of the New York County District Attorney’s Office).

Confronting product counterfeiters can be an expensive, labor intensive and sometimes frustrating task, particularly when undertaken as a solo effort.  The panel sponsored and moderated by CK&E will highlight strategies for combining the strength of private enforcement and available public sector resources to combat counterfeiters using all available tools.  The panel will assess when and how to use civil resources in partnership with criminal enforcement for the most effective and cost-effective assault on product counterfeiters.  The panel will address practical steps to best leverage the strengths and resources of both arms against the scourge of counterfeiters, illustrating points with real world experiences.

Join us and learn how to get the most bang for your brand protection buck in the battle to defeat counterfeiters.  CK&E is proud to again sponsor this important brand protection event.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0

The Conkle Firm Will Attend INTA’s Innovation and Internet Governance Conference

Posted by:

On September 18-19, 2014, Conkle, Kremer & Engel lawyer Zachary Page will attend the International Trademark Association’s “Internet, Innovation and ICAAN: The Evolving Landscape of the Net” conference in San Francisco. This INTA program will cover issues related to the interplay between trademark owners and new developments in the management of the Internet, including new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), changes to the WHOIS domain name directory system, management of intellectual property rights in social media, and other shifts that impact the way owners’ protect their trademarks online.

The conference features speakers from leading companies in the technology industry, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, as well as representatives from federal and global regulatory organizations, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), U.S. Department of Commerce and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Every business is affected by developments regarding the Internet.  CK&E participates in important industry conferences of INTA and others to stay in the forefront of developing issues affecting the firm’s clients.  Check back for blog post updates from the conference to stay abreast of innovations and changes in governance and brand protection on the Internet.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0

Chemical Peel Ingredient Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) Requires a Proposition 65 Warning

Posted by:

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), a chemical that is commonly used in cosmetic treatments such as chemical peels and for the removal of tattoos and treatment of skin tags, warts and moles, is now subject to Proposition 65’s warning requirement.  This means that any exposure to the chemical in California requires a warning that the chemical is “known to the State of California to cause cancer.”  The penalties for failing to provide the warning as required by Proposition 65 can be substantial:  The law authorizes civil penalties of up to $2,500 per day per violation.  In addition, attorney fees are authorized by California’s private attorney general statute – creating incentive for private Proposition 65 “bounty hunters” and their lawyers to target businesses who fail to comply.

Under Proposition 65, no legal action is authorized by the Attorney General, district attorneys or private enforcers until 12 months after the listing of that chemical.  TCA (CAS No. 76-03-9) was added to the list of chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer on September 13, 2013.  As a result, Proposition 65 private enforcers were allowed to start sending out Notices of Violation over alleged exposure to TCA without a warning beginning on September 14, 2014.  The law permits such private enforcers to file a lawsuit 60 days after the Notice of Violation is served.

In addition to TCA, the following chemicals became subject to Prop 65 enforcement action on September 14, 2014:  chloral (CAS No. 75-87-6), chloral hydrate (CAS No. 302-17-0) and 1,1,1,2-tetrachloroethane (CAS No. 630-20-6).

Conkle, Kremer & Engel has significant experience in helping businesses understand and comply with the requirements of Proposition 65 and other regulations to avoid exposure to liability.  In addition to working with businesses to develop an effective compliance strategy, CK&E handles all aspects of Proposition 65 defense, including responding efficiently if a Notice of Violation is received.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0
Page 5 of 9 «...34567...»