Hi there. I want to file for protection of an event name and event concept. I wanted to know if this is something I can safely do for myself through the USPTO application process? Also, I wanted to confirm that the concept and name should be included in the trademark application?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Maryland
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX X'm an Intellectual Property litigation attorney here to assist you.
Unfortunately, there is no effective way to protect an idea or a concept. Copyrights protect expression (creative works like a book, a painting, a song, etc.) and patents protects inventions, and neither protect ideas.
In both cases, the "concept" is the first critical step, but without some identifiable embodiment of the concept, there can be no intellectual property protection obtained and no exclusive rights will flow unto you.
In order to get a patent, you will need to proceed to flesh out your idea to the point where it is a concrete invention - which can be patented.
Thus, in order to get a patent, you will have to develop a working process and then you can proceed with a patent application.
You can, however, apply for a trademark of your event name/symbol by applying to the USPTO. However, you'll need to get your patent application together once you actually have a working model or process together.
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Kirk,Thank you for your quick and thoughtful reply. To give you a little more detail, we are an events management company that produces running events. This November, we are launching a new event that combines a political rally with a 3k/10k course. The event name is "Run For A Reason". There is already a service mark issued for the phrase "run for a reason" but it is issued under the category of non-profit fundraising. So, 2 questions really: 1 - since we have the event plan, route, name, logo etc, is this sufficient to apply for a patent? (Note - the event course maps would change in future years though the name would stay the same).2 - Since the other group has a service mark protection already, are we likely to get approved or rejected once we submit a trademark application for "run for a reason" under the categories of athletic competition and/or political event. (we are a for profit company, not a non-profit in case that helps).Thank you for clarifying.
1. As long as your process is novel, non-obvious and can be defined in clear and definite terms, what you have may be enough for a patent. Here's a good link that has some FAQ information: http://www.uspto.gov/inventors/patents.jsp
2. As for the trademark, if there already a SM for this phrase, you have to look at whether your mark would create confusion if granted - meaning that a person could not tell the difference between your mark and the other mark based simply on the look and name of the mark. Because of an identical application, your chances are probably low. You'd be better off to try and come up with something a little different, but with the same concept; something like "Race for the Polls" or something else that combines the race with politics. I think you've got a good concept, but trying to get a name trademarked that is already trademarked isn't likely.
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