INTA Co-Hosts Roundtable for Florida Businesses, Congressional Members

Published: October 7, 2020

INTA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) co-hosted in cooperation with the Congressional Trademark Caucus (CTC) a virtual Trademarks 101 Roundtable on September 23 for small and medium-sized business owners in southern Florida.

In a keynote address, Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL-22nd), who serves as CTC co-chair, stressed the integral role of trademarks in supporting brands and ensuring the success of their products in the marketplace. Rep. Deutch explained the dangers to consumers and businesses presented by counterfeit goods and the need for businesses to understand the important role of intellectual property (IP). He also highlighted resources for businesses to learn about IP, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

“It is important that federal, state, and local government agencies work in partnership with the private sector to equip small and medium-size businesses with the information they need to safeguard their trademarks and other intellectual property assets in this highly competitive global marketplace,” said Rep. Deutch. “These Trademark 101 Roundtables provide an effective platform to bring the parties together and achieve this goal.”

INTA members Michael Moore (Assistant General Counsel & Senior Director, Trademarks/Copyrights, Mattel, Inc.) and Leslie Lott (Founding Partner, Lott & Fischer, Intellectual Property Law) provided an overview of the federal trademark system and the Florida state trademark processes, as well as defined key trademark terminology and offered registration tips.

Mr. Moore stressed the importance of trademarks and brands to economies, jobs, and businesses, noting that trademarks can help bring immense value to a business. “Mattel is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, which serendipitously coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Lanham Act in July 2020,” he said. “The message is clear here: strong trademark laws and the enforcement of these laws serve to protect all U.S. corporations small and large alike.”

Ms. Lott, an attorney based in Florida, provided a roadmap for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes on how to protect their IP and, specifically, trademarks. She noted that brands utilize their symbols, designs, or words as part of their story to build and maintain a trusted relationship with customers.

“Larger companies generally have access to in-house counsel who can guide them through protection of their trademarks as valuable assets of the company. With smaller and medium size companies, trademark law practitioners serve that function,” Ms. Lott said. “In addition to counseling, we try to find ways to connect smaller clients to resources available on the federal and state level including the Small Business Administration, SCORE, the Florida Secretary of State, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the U.S Customs and Border Protection.”

“Small and medium-size businesses are the core of the U.S. economy, generating roughly half of the national GDP,” she added. “Their well-being is recognized as a high-level priority.”

USPTO and SBA officials at the event outlined the resources available for brand owners as they navigate the U.S. federal and state trademark systems and explore how to protect their IP abroad.

As part of INTA’s initiative to provide education to assist small businesses, especially during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic, the Association will host additional virtual roundtables throughout the U.S.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2020 International Trademark Association