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May 27, 2011


Bill Fane

A trade mark or trade name doesn't have to be registered, it only has to be actively used (and policed) by the owner. As the USPTO site points out, registration serves mainly to advise others of your trade marks & names, and to make it easier in court.

Just because Autodesk have chosen (or forgotten) to renew the registration doesn't put those trade marks and names back in the public domain providing they continue to use them.

Conversely, registration doesn't guarantee continued ownership if the owner doesn't complain about use by others. Two common names that fall into this category are thermos and aspirin. That is why a writ of lawyers (that is the collective noun, isn't it?) will descend on a small mom'n'pop bakery making Mickey Mouse birthday cakes.

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