Legal Question in Intellectual Property in New York

Can I trademark a common scientific term (e.g. DNA) as the name of a scientific journal so that others can not publish a journal titled "DNA"?

Asked on 11/20/15, 5:47 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Frank Natoli Natoli-Legal, LLC

Maybe, just like "Entrepreneur" uses that term for their publications. But it is also possible that "DNA" might be considered merely descriptive in this context as well.

The first step is always a proper clearance search. Your trademark will be one of if not the most important and valuable business assets you will have and you will ultimately spend more money in support if it than you will anywhere else (advertising, marketing, PR, branding, packaging, etc.). So you owe it to your business and yourself to make sure you handle this properly upfront and the first order of business always starts with a proper and comprehensive clearance.

Whenever you endeavor into investing in a trademark it is very important that you conduct the proper clearance due diligence upfront and before you start spending any money in support of it or submit an application to the USPTO. In the US, this means searching under both federal (USPTO) as well as common law because trademark rights stem from use in this country NOT registration. This means that acquiring a federal registration does not necessarily mean that you are not infringing on another's intellectual property. See the link below for a brief article from Fox Business News on the importance of the due diligence process and our overview guide.;=-1

If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient. Our firm is now referred by the American Bar Association (see under the New York section):

Kind regards,



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DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.

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Answered on 11/20/15, 8:11 am

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