The song "We Shall Overcome" associated with the civil rights movement is known to many New Jersey residents. Although based upon an old African-American spiritual, people claiming copyright to the more recent version asserted their rights by declining to license the song for use in a movie. The resulting legal case pitted plaintiffs who argued that the modern version should be in the public domain against those insisting that the modern authors made enough changes to the original to qualify for copyright protection.
Many New Jersey residents are familiar with using terms like Google or Xerox as verbs rather than the trademarked names they represent. A pair of entrepreneurs have been challenging these trademarks in court, arguing that the trademarks should be taken away. Although lower courts have ruled against the two entrepreneurs, they are continuing to pursue their lawsuit, filing a petition to take their case to the Supreme Court.
New Jersey residents will likely associate light blue jewelry boxes with Tiffany & Co. It can take decades to nurture and develop this kind of consumer awareness, and major companies generally act quickly when their intellectual property is used without their permission. Tiffany sued the Costco Wholesale Corporation in 2013 after learning that engagement rings made by other jewelry makers were being marketed as Tiffany rings. Costco attorneys denied any wrongdoing, but their arguments failed to impress the judge hearing the case.
The key to success for New Jersey business owners and others throughout the country is to create a powerful brand. However, after the brand name is created, it is important to know how to protect it. The first step is to create a name that stands out and is not being used by another company. Business owners can use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to find out if their preferred choice is still available for use.