INTA Engages Small Business Owners in Georgia, USA

Published: June 8, 2022

INTA recently joined the Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance, the U.S. Intellectual Property Alliance, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center in hosting a virtual discussion on trademarks to help small businesses in the 4th Congressional District in the state of Georgia, USA. Titled “Trademarks for Small Businesses,” the event on May 25 provided participants with the necessary information and tools to utilize trademarks to grow their businesses.

In her opening remarks, INTA’s Director, Government Relations Jenny Simmons emphasized that trademarks are beneficial to businesses of all sizes, and that this event sought to increase accessibility and understanding of the value of trademarks and the registration process.

Jason Lott, an attorney advisor for Trademarks Customer Outreach at the USPTO, spoke about what a trademark is, why small businesses should apply for a trademark, and what the application process entails.

“Federal trademark registration is not just a form; it’s an examination process,” Mr. Lott explained, as he walked attendees through the federal examination process, carefully highlighting the benefits available to those that register their marks.

Representative Hank Johnson, who represents constituents in and around Atlanta, Georgia, showed his support for intellectual property (IP) protection, noting how trademarks are the foundation of a successful marketplace and commending the small business attendees for their forethought in thinking about IP protection.

Providing insight into what is perhaps one of the most widely recognized trademarks, INTA member Katelyn Andrews, senior legal counsel, Trademarks at The Coca-Cola Company (USA), provided an entertaining discussion of her company’s brand, which is both a local Georgia business and a well-known global brand. Ms. Andrews spoke about the history of the COCA-COLA trademark, how trademark law shaped and helped the brand, and why trademarks have been so important for The Coca-Cola Company at each stage of its development.

INTA member Michael Hobbs, a partner at Troutman Pepper (USA), shared a “top-ten list” for small business owners regarding trademarks. These tips covered important considerations at each step of the trademark process, from designing a mark before an application is filed to maintaining and utilizing a trademark once it has been registered. Mr. Hobbs noted that trademark registration can often be delayed or denied by preventable mistakes, reminding attendees that these mistakes can cost small business owners time, money, and effort.

The organizers shared resources for small business owners, including the USPTO website, the Georgia Lawyers for the Arts (a nonprofit organization available to certain Georgia businesses that seek counsel when applying for a trademark), and INTA’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse, which provides eligible clients with volunteer attorneys to assist them in trademark legal issues free of charge. The Pro Bono Clearinghouse is available to low-income individuals, nonprofit and charitable organizations, and small businesses that might not otherwise have the means to access legal counsel to file their trademark application. Small businesses in need of these services and lawyers looking to volunteer their time to help those in need of these services can find more information on INTA’s website.

INTA seeks to host similar events in other states and congressional districts around the country to continue helping small business owners better understand the important role of trademarks and brands to their business ventures.

INTA’s Washington, D.C., Representative Office advocates the Association’s policy positions in Canada and the United States. To learn more about INTA’s activities in the region, please contact INTA’s Director of Government Relations.

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. 

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