The NCCU School of Law has been selected to participate in a pilot program under the auspices of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in which students will be permitted to file federal trademark applications for eligible clients under the supervision of an experienced attorney in an intellectual property legal clinic.
The clinic is available to provide services to clients who are in need of legal assistance in selecting and registering their trademarks or service marks. Potential clients who have limited resources for business development may qualify for services provided by students in this clinic. All interested parties are encouraged to inquire as to potential eligibility.
Trademarks and service marks (collectively “Marks”) are used in association with goods and services, respectively, which are marketed to various classes of consumers. Business names are not per se trademarks or service marks, but may be used as marks. Businesses may also use marks other than their business names in association with their products. A federal registration of a mark provides protection of the mark throughout the United States allowing the owner to assert superior rights vis a vis any other person or entity who wishes to begin using a similar mark in connection with similar goods or services anywhere in the country. Trademark registrations, therefore, are very valuable business assets; and businesses are encouraged to consider seeking federal registration of the marks used with their goods and services, especially where expansion beyond state lines is anticipated.
In the NCCU Trademark Legal Clinic, students will conduct preliminary searches of trademark databases and other pertinent sources to determine the potential availability of the selected mark for use and registration. Clients will be provided with sufficient information about the results of these searches to make a reasonable business decision regarding adoption of the selected mark for use and registration. Trademark search databases, which normally are quite costly, are made available at no charge to allow students conduct preliminary searches. For clients with additional resources, an additional more comprehensive search can be requested from an outside vendor. In either event, the search results are reviewed in detail by the student and the client is provided with a written analysis.
Should the client elect to proceed with registration after reviewing the results and analysis of the searches, the student attorney will confer with the client to arrive at a detailed and acceptable description of the goods and services and to obtain all necessary information to prepare the application.
The client will be responsible for payment of all filing fees charged by the USPTO and will be informed of these costs prior to preparation of the application. The USPTO charges a fee of approximately $300.00 for an application in one class of goods or services. If the application is filed as an “intent-to-use” application in order to preserve rights in the selected mark for future use, additional USPTO filing fees will be required to finalize the registration process. However, the clinic does not charge any legal fees for the assistance of the student or the supervising attorney.