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Types of trademark software generally fall into two categories. Programs that protect and manage established trademarks and search software designed to aid in the application for a trademark. Protective software deals with legal issues like trademark protection and licensing of the trademark to third parties. Search software is designed for access to trademark information to enable an applicant to do the research necessary to file an acceptable and legal trademark. Protection and search software are most often marketed to intellectual property (IP) professionals, but some programs are designed for individuals who want to pursue and protect a trademark on their own.
Protective and management trademark software deals with management and legal docketing issues for existing trademarks. IP professionals such as lawyers and agents use this type of software to protect their clients. This can involve contractual disputes, assignments of trademark rights, and licensing agreements with third parties.
Some of the features of protective software are automatic calculation of statutory deadlines for filing of applications or protective legal actions. Many programs can automatically assign a legal action to the appropriate IP attorney within the firm. They also provide legal updates for trademark law and new court decisions.
Other tools of some protective trademark software are the “paperless” and interactive offices. All client documents are stored individually in a central electronic location in e-files. The client and the attorney or agent can each access these files online. A client can have read only access to legal documents and the status of any pending legal actions.
Research involved in preparing a trademark application can take months. Search trademark software assists primarily IP professionals in gathering all the necessary information to ensure that a client’s planned trademark will not infringe upon or draw objections from another trademark holder.
Features of search software include searches of US Patent and Trademark Office databases and archives. In other countries, the software will be tailored to search the corresponding trademarking authority's database. The searches look for abandoned, pending, or registered trademarks. The software performs “intuitive” interface searches to find any trademarks with a high similarity to the client’s intended trademark.
Some search software is tailored to individuals who wish to pursue a trademark application own their own without enlisting professional IP services. They are often accompanied by video tutorials on the USPTO application process. Some programs offer follow up protection such as monitoring a successful application for infringement. This protection includes ensuring that profits are not being diverted to similar but non-infringing trademarks.
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