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References

"I find the column inspiring and helpful to me in running my own small business."

Dan Janal

President and Founder

PRleads.com

"The Small Business Professor is a site that should be bookmarked by every entrepreneur. In today's business environment, it is difficult to gather information and obtain answers to the myriad of questions that face business owners. Bruce Freeman's 'Ask the Small Business Professor' column is an excellent resource that provides guidance, up-to-the-minute information, mentoring, and more."

Irene Maslowski

APR Principal

Maslowski & Associates Public Relations

"'Ask the Small Business Professor' is a must read for small business owners looking for free expert business advice. Using a Q&A format, Bruce Freeman covers important small business topics weekly by bringing in recognized experts on subjects including accounting, legal issues, trademarks marketing and sales. Don't miss it!"

Joseph L. Rosenberg

CPA

"Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor, is a most valued and enthusiastic guest contributor to the business segment of our radio show dealing with the challenges facing today's entrepreneurs. His practical and insightful advice has served to enhance our ability, as broadcasters, to help business owners move ahead in their various fields of endeavor. ....Thank you, Bruce."

Sue Tovey / Sande Foster

Co-Hosts

WTBQ 1110 AM (ABC Affiliate Station)

"I've been working with patients for almost 10 years as a Chiropractic Physician. I'm always looking for new ways to increase awareness of the valuable clinical services provided at my centers. Bruce Freeman has given me insightful ideas to assist in my marketing efforts. I rely on his 'Ask the Small Business Professor' column to keep me abreast of new trends and developments in the field. I couldn't ask for a more knowledgeable and capable advisor as my companies move forward into providing nationwide healthcare for patients."

Dr. Daniel Houshmand, D.C.

AlternaCare Wellness Centers, LLC

International Trademarks

Dear Professor Bruce:

I am a small business owner and just received a U.S. patent on an invention and have registered my trademark. If I do business overseas, is my U.S. patent and trademark registration enough?

Answer:

In short, no. A U.S. patent only gives you the right to keep others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the United States. Likewise, a U.S. trademark registration is valid only in the United States and restricts the use of marks, which are confusingly similar to the registered mark.

Today, piracy, counterfeiting and the theft of intellectual property pose a serious threat to all U.S. businesses. Small businesses can be at a particular disadvantage because they lack the resources and expertise available to larger corporations and may not be familiar with the process of protecting intellectual property. Research conducted in the spring of 2005 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) indicates that only 15 percent of small businesses that do business overseas know that a U.S. patent or trademark provides protection only in the United States.

According to Brigid Quinn, Deputy Director of Public Affairs (USPTO), “Making patent, trademark and copyright protection a core part of your business plan - whether you're a major multinational firm or a one-person home business--is a smart business strategy”.

Since the rights granted by a U.S. patent extend only throughout the territory of the United States and have no effect in a foreign country, an inventor who wishes patent protection in other countries must apply for a patent in each of the other countries or in regional patent offices. Almost every country has its own patent law, and a person desiring a patent in a particular country must make an application for patent in that country, in accordance with the requirements of that country.

If you are a qualified owner of a trademark application pending before the USPTO, or of a registration issued by the USPTO, you may seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filing a single application, called an "international application," with the he International Bureau of the World Property Intellectual Organization, through the USPTO. Also, certain countries recognize a United States registration as a basis for filing an application to register a mark in those countries under international treaties. The laws of each country regarding registration must be consulted.

The USPTO created a Web site to help small businesses consider the benefits of strong intellectual property protection - both in the United States and overseas - and decide whether it is right for them.

For further information, visit: http://www.uspto.gov/smallbusiness/.

“Making patent, trademark and copyright protection a core part of your business plan, whether you're a major multinational firm or a one-person home business, is a smart business strategy”.