INTA Joins National Association of Secretaries of State Annual Summer Conference in Philadelphia

Published: August 15, 2018

On July 15, INTA’s Enforcement Committee gave a presentation at the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) 2018 Summer Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. NASS was founded in 1904 and is the oldest nonpartisan professional organization for public officials in the United States. The presentation, “Business Names Are Not Trademarks and That’s Important,” was designed to educate the individual secretaries of state and their deputies in attendance about the many facets of trademark law and the potential conflicts between trademarks and business identifiers. The panel was moderated by The Honorable Elaine F. Marshall, the Secretary of State for North Carolina, and presented by Barry L. Cohen (Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld, LLC, USA) and Scott B. Schwartz (Dansko, USA). The audience’s reaction to the presentation was extremely positive and the numerous questions addressed to the speakers confirmed the interest in this hot topic.

The presentation was designed to better educate the various offices of secretaries of state that deal with thousands of newly formed businesses upon the filing of applications to register their business names. Many business owners are not aware of the potential for conflict with prior trademarks or business names, which could result in significant additional legal costs. In addition, alerting business owners to the possibilities of protecting their rights through trademark registration is an option that should be considered when starting a business. By way of engagement with the secretaries of state, INTA hopes to raise awareness about the issue and provided suggestions for solutions. INTA provided a variety of resources for the secretaries of state to take back to their teams to better educate their business constituents, and the Enforcement Committee’s educational materials were recently posted on the NASS website here.

Several of the secretaries of state in the audience expressed an interest in working with INTA more directly to further train their staffs on the importance and unique aspects of trademark laws. The Enforcement Committee will continue to foster this cooperation and provide support wherever possible. INTA also wishes to thank the NASS for its repeat invitation and hopes to return soon to its conference.

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© 2018 International Trademark Association