Team Members

January 26, 2023

Egerton, McAfee, Armistead, and Davis P.C. Attorneys directly answering frequently asked questions!


Trademark FAQ

How can you find U.S. registered trademarks?

You can search for trademarks that are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by using the trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) by visiting and clicking on the “Search our trademark database (TESS)” box. Note, however, that just because a trademark that you wish to use does not show up in TESS search results does not necessarily mean it is available for use and/or registration.


What information counts as a trade secret?

May vary from state to state and applicable law, but a common definition from the Uniform Trade Secrets Act is…

“Trade secret” means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that: (i) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and (ii) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

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When is an invention novel?

When no single prior art reference describes every element of the claimed invention.

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Novelty 35 U.S.C. §102


What is the difference between TM and ®?

TM is used when the owner of a trademark is claiming trademark rights but does not have a federal registration. ® Circle R can only be used to designate a trademark that is federally registered.

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What are the primary conditions of patentability for an invention?

Proper Subject Matter 35 U.S.C. §101 

Novelty 35 U.S.C. §102

Non-Obvious 35 U.S.C. §103


What is the difference between a trademark and a service mark?

A trademark is for a good while a service mark is for services.

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How long does patent protection last?

Generally, the life of a patent is 20 years from the date of filing the application. However, under certain circumstances, the actual “life” of a patent can be more or less than 20 years.

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What are some types of unpatentable subject matters in the U.S.?

General scientific principles/discoveries, algorithms/mathematical methods, abstract ideas, laws of nature, etc.

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What rights are provided by a patent?

The right to exclude other from making, using, or selling patented inventions.

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Is my company name automatically protected?

Registering your company name protects it from someone registering the same name in the state where the company name is registered. You do not automatically receive any trademark protection simply from registering your company name with the state.

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Can I file a trademark application if my product or service is not being sold?

Yes. While a trademark registration requires the good or service to be in use in commerce, the trademark office allows an intent-to-use application to be filed before the good or service is in use in commerce. After the trademark application is approved (a Notice of Allowance is issued) then the applicant has up to three years to show use.

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Can a taxpayer be eligible for more than one filing status?

Yes, a non-married individual can file as either head of household or single. A married individual can file either as a married or married filing separately.

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Is money received from the sale of inherited property considered taxable income? 

It depends. The amount of taxable income would only be the amount of the increase in value since the decedent’s date of death. Thus, if no increase in value, then no taxable income.

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As Tax Day approaches, what is the purpose of a Form 1040? 

The purpose of a Form 1040 is for an individual to report their annual income.

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What is the difference between a Form W-2 and a Form 1099-MISC?

W-2’s are sent to employees while 1099-MISC’s are sent to those who received more than $600 in rent, prizes, and other miscellaneous income.

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How do I file back taxes?

Quickly and carefully. Make sure your #tax returns are accurate and concise and report all outstanding income. Tax returns should be filed directly with the appropriate #irs service unless a Revenue Officer/Revenue Agent has been assigned to your case.

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