Washington, D.C. – U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, for the 11th consecutive year, collaboratively announce the release of the “Best Law Firms” rankings. The Kim & Lahey Law Firm has been recognized for this honor three times since it was founded in 2018.
Plan sets priorities that enable the agency’s new mission and vision
WASHINGTON, DC (June 7, 2023) — The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today published its 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, completing a planning process that welcomed more than 150 comments on the draft version from the public and USPTO employees.
“We are reimagining the USPTO of the future, an agency that issues, upholds, and protects robust and reliable IP rights that incentivize innovation and bring more ideas to market for and from all,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director Kathi Vidal. “Our 2022-2026 Strategic Plan is our path forward for continued success – we thank everyone who provided feedback throughout the planning process to make this plan ambitious, focused, and relevant.”
The new plan outlines the USPTO’s mission-focused strategic goals:
1. Drive inclusive U.S. innovation and global competitiveness;
2. Promote the efficient delivery of reliable intellectual property (IP) rights;
3. Promote the protection of IP against new and persistent threats;
4. Bring innovation to impact for the public good; and
5. Generate impactful employee and customer experiences by maximizing agency operations.
The plan directly supports the USPTO’s new mission of driving U.S. innovation, inclusive capitalism, and global competitiveness, and its new vision of unleashing America’s potential, with multiple objectives directly linked to each of these five goals.
For more information on the USPTO 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, visit www.uspto.gov/StrategicPlan.
Charleston intellectual property attorney B.C. Killough recently prevailed in a trademark opposition case before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in an opinion issued in May of 2023. The Board sustained opposition to the federal trademark registration of Poupette St Barth, which was deemed to be confusingly similar to the trademark ST BARTH®.
Brands are important and valuable assets of companies, even though that value may not appear on a balance sheet. Monitoring brands used by competitors is an important part of an IP portfolio strategy. If a trademark owner believes they would be harmed by federal registration of a similar mark, they can file an opposition to the application for registration within a very limited opposition period. Monitoring of trademark applications at the United States Patent and Trademark Office provides intellectual property attorneys the ability to timely oppose the registration of conflicting marks to protect the client’s brands and prevent consumer confusion.
The Opposer in this case used ST BARTH to identify high-end luxury personal care products and has sold these products throughout the world since 1983. The applicant sought to register Poupette St Barth for personal care products with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The Board concluded that the marks are confusingly similar and refused to register Poupette St Barth. The Board stated that “consumers familiar with Opposer’s ST BARTH mark for perfumery, cosmetics, and other personal care products may perceive Applicant’s addition of the term POUPETTE merely as a variant or line extension of Opposer’s ST BARTH mark, with both marks indicating a single source.”
Read the entire case opinion here.
Any results the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters do not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
Kim, Lahey & Killough attorneys Doug Kim, Seann Lahey, and B.C. Killough have been named in the 2023 South Carolina Super Lawyers list as top-rated intellectual property attorneys and Casey Martens has been named in the 2023 South Carolina Rising Stars list as a top-rated employment and labor attorney in the Greenville and Charleston markets.
Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive the honor of inclusion on the Super Lawyers list and no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected to be listed as Rising Stars.
Greenville patent attorney Doug Kim, founder of Kim, Lahey & Killough, has been included in the South Carolina Super Lawyers list annually since 2017. Kim concentrates his law practice in the areas of brand protection, invention protection, licensing, contracts, company formation, Internet and domain name, data security and privacy, patents, trademarks, copyright, technology transfer, IP litigation, trade secrets, Internet & domain name pursuits, business disputes & resolutions. In addition to Super Lawyers, Doug Kim has previously been named the to the Greenville, SC Best Lawyers® list, named the Trademark Lawyer of The Year, the Best Lawyers® Patent Lawyer of The Year, an IP Star by Managing Intellectual Property magazine and a Legal Elite of the Upstate by Greenville Business Magazine.
Charleston patent attorney B.C. Killough adds his ninth year as a named attorney to the South Carolina Super Lawyers list in the area of intellectual property law. Killough’s practice areas include brand protection, invention protection, licensing, contracts, company formation, Internet and domain name, data security and privacy, patents, trademarks, copyright, technology transfer, IP litigation, trade secrets, Internet & domain name pursuits, business disputes & resolutions, commercial transactions, and mediations of intellectual property and commercial disputes. Killough has been honored as a Senior Fellow by the Litigation Counsel of America, holds an AV preeminent rating with Martindale-Hubbell, was previously named the Best Lawyers Corporate Lawyer of the Year for the Charleston market and has been recognized by Charleston Business Magazine as a Legal Elite in the area of Intellectual Property and Innovation.
Greenville patent attorney Seann Lahey joins colleagues Doug Kim and B.C. Killough on the Super Lawyers list for their work in intellectual property matters. Seann Lahey’s intellectual property law practice regularly includes work in trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets licensing matters, and he has extensive experience dealing with international and U.S. patent prosecution. He has also been recognized by Greenville Business Magazine as a Legal Elite of the Upstate for his work in intellectual property law.
Super Lawyers South Carolina Rising Star Casey Martens practices employment and business law in both the Greenville SC and Brevard NC offices of Kim, Lahey & Killough. Her law practice focuses in the areas of business disputes and litigation, state and federal employment law, corporate formation, drafting and enforcement of contracts, business disputes involving interference with client relations, individual and business defamation, collections, and enforcement of non-compete agreements. She has also been previously recognized by Greenville Business Magazine as a Legal Elite of the Upstate.
About Super Lawyers
Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.
About Kim, Lahey & Killough
With offices in Greenville and Charleston, SC and Brevard, NC, the Kim, Lahey & Killough Law Firm is devoted to helping clients establish, enforce, and leverage their intellectual property rights from the Upstate, to the Lowcountry to across the globe.
Kim, Lahey & Killough Law Firm is pleased to announce the addition of patent attorney Hunter Freeman to the firm’s Greenville, SC, office. Freeman’s law practice focuses primarily in the areas of patents, trademarks, trade secrets, contracts, licensing, copyrights, litigation and mediation.
Previously, Freeman worked with firm co-founders Doug Kim and Seann Lahey for 15 years at a large South Carolina firm. Since those early years, each has grown in knowledge, experience and emphasis on the intellectual property needs of South Carolina. Additionally, the number of tech companies in the state has grown by more than 250% during those years, and the need for legal strategies that empower businesses of all sizes to succeed has increased accordingly. “I am excited for the future as we work together to address the growing number of tech innovations born out of South Carolina,” commented Freeman. “I am eager to work alongside my friends again, and with the rest of the firm, to build, expand, develop, and advance the future of business in South Carolina and beyond.”
Freeman has experience in a myriad of industries to include medical devices, manufacturing, aerospace, software and tech, marketing, food beverage and hospitality, consumer products, startups and entrepreneurs, among others.
“As our clients’ needs continue to grow and evolve, we understand the importance of having another trusted colleague in our firm who can navigate the complex world of intellectual property protection and enforcement. With the addition of Hunter Freeman we now have five IP attorneys and are well suited to handle the growing needs of businesses and corporations across South and North Carolina,” observed Doug Kim. “And for those seeking to avoid litigation, we now have two intellectual property mediators in Hunter Freeman and Bill Killough.”
Freeman shares the client-centric philosophy of Kim, Lahey & Killough and enjoys sharing his knowledge to help strengthen and support South Carolina’s entrepreneur ecosystems. He routinely speaks at entrepreneurial workshops and his articles have been published in IP WatchDog, Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, and UpState Business Journal. Hunter Freeman has been recognized for his work by his peers and the business community as he is listed in The Best Lawyers in America®, South Carolina Super Lawyers, and in Greenville Business Magazine, as a Legal Elite of the Upstate.
Freeman earned a Bachelor of Science in physics at Rhodes College, and his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts within South Carolina Courts, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
With offices in Greenville and Charleston, SC, and Brevard, NC, the Kim, Lahey & Killough Law Firm is devoted to helping clients establish, enforce and leverage their intellectual property rights from the Upstate to the Lowcountry and across the globe.
Kim, Lahey & Killough Law Firm is pleased to announce the addition of Robert Merting as an attorney in the firm’s Greenville, SC, office. Mr. Merting’s primary focus will be the firm’s intellectual property practice, corporate law, and regulatory compliance. He will also provide legal services directed to patent application preparation, contract and licenses, trademarks, non-disclosure agreements, and litigation.
A native of South Carolina, Mr. Merting worked in the research lab at Milliken and Company while attending Wofford College. It was at Milliken and Company that he gained a deep understanding of the creation process while working in research and development, following strict corporate guidelines for developing and documenting intellectual property. “Today, I leverage the lessons from those R&D challenges while helping clients document and protect their own intellectual property. It is always a joy telling a client their patent will issue,” says Merting.
In addition to his intellectual property practice, Mr. Merting brings more than ten years of legal experience in the areas of corporate law, wills and trusts, estate planning, and firearms law. “We welcome Robert and are delighted to have him at Kim, Lahey & Killough,” commented founding attorney Doug Kim. “Our firm has doubled in size this past year as we grow to meet the legal needs of South Carolina businesses. Robert brings a unique skillset to our firm by combining his business experience while working at a major Upstate manufacturing company, his in-house counsel experience with a Department of Defense contractor, and his private practice experience to assist us in continuing to provide excellent legal services to our clients and meet their growing needs.”
Robert Merting earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science, a Bachelor of Arts in business economics from Wofford College, and his Juris Doctor from Washington and Lee University. He is admitted to practice before all South Carolina Courts, the South Carolina Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
With offices in Greenville and Charleston, SC, and Brevard, NC, the Kim, Lahey & Killough Law Firm is devoted to helping clients establish, enforce, and leverage their intellectual property rights from the Upstate to the Lowcountry and across the globe.
The Kim, Lahey & Killough Law Firm is pleased to announce several of its attorneys are recognized by Best Lawyers® for 2023.
Founding member, Doug Kim, is recognized in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in the practice areas of patent law and trademark law. He has been recognized in both areas previously as Greenville’s Trademark Lawyer of the Year, 2022, and Patent Lawyer of the Year, 2019. This is the eighth time he has been recognized by Best Lawyers.
In our Charleston office, B.C. Killough is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the practice areas of patent law and trademark law, as well as corporate law and intellectual property litigation. Killough has been recognized annually in Best Lawyers since 2010 for his work in these areas. In 2015, he was listed as The Corporate Law Lawyer of the Year for the Charleston metro.
Attorney Casey Martin is named in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ in the practice areas of employment law for employees, employment law for managers, and employment law litigation. This recognition highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice for less than 10 years.
The Best Lawyers in America recognizes only the top 5.3% of elite lawyers in the nation across 150 practice areas. More than 12 million evaluations were considered in this purely peer-review to identify this year’s exclusive group of Best Lawyers honorees.
With offices in Greenville and Charleston, SC, and Brevard, NC, the Kim, Lahey & Killough Law Firm is devoted to helping clients establish, enforce, and leverage their intellectual property rights from the Upstate, to the Lowcountry to across the globe.
Greenville, S.C. — August 19, 2021— A founding member of the Kim & Lahey Law Firm is named Best Lawyers® 2022 Trademark “Lawyer of The Year” in Greenville. This is the seventh time Douglas Kim has been recognized by Best Lawyers. The long-time intellectual property attorney says, “I am honored to have been selected for this ‘Lawyer of the Year’ award especially since it’s determined by peer reviews.”
The 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America recognizes the professional excellence of more than 66,000 lawyers in 147 practice areas. “Lawyer of the Year” honors are awarded to only one lawyer per practice area in each region with extremely high overall feedback from their peers, making it an exceptional distinguishment. Of all the attorneys in private practice in the United States, only 5% are recognized by Best Lawyers of America.
This is the second time Doug has received this top honor. In 2019, Doug was named Best Lawyers® Patent “Lawyer of The Year” in Greenville.
Doug is an innovation enthusiast, entrepreneur and long-time business advocate who enjoys providing legal solutions and strategies tailored to each client’s goals, from start-ups to multinational corporations. Doug helps clients match their intellectual property goals with their business goals by providing legal strategies to protect inventions (patents), brands (trademarks), websites, software, apps, music, photos, and websites (copyright, licenses and Internet law), and trade secrets. Doug also chairs the South Carolina Bar Intellectual Property and Innovation Committee.
Anyone who has registered or applied for a trademark knows it eventually must be renewed. Unfortunately, bad actors know this too and are trying to rip you off. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), trademark renewal scams are on the rise. They’re becoming so sophisticated that the USPTO has filed several trademark applications to increase protection for its own brand.
Being on a national trademark register is one of the many benefits of have a federally registered trademark. It allows others to search and find your registration. When other companies are trying to determine if a name is “available,” one of the first places they look is the USPTO database of trademark registrations and pending applications. To keep a trademark registration enforceable, it must be renewed periodically. Generally, the first renewal is five years from registration. The next one in five more years and then every 10 years after that. Unfortunately, bad actors are also looking at the public database. The USPTO says they’re seeing an increasing number of misleading solicitations and trademark filing scams.
The USPTO has also stated that it is “seeing more sophisticated enterprises entering the space” with some scams even impersonating the US Patent and Trademark Office. I know first hand. I received a fraudulent text regarding my trademark just last year. The USPTO has taken steps in the past to curb this misleading and sometimes illegal behavior, including providing scam alerts, working with law enforcement and sanctioning filers who violate the US Patent and Trademark Office rules.
On August 4, 2021, the Department of Commerce (the agency under which the USPTO sits), filed several applications for the federal registration of USPTO marks. The USPTO hopes with a federal registration, it can improve its ability to stop these scams and protect the USPTO brand from improper use by those trying to impersonate or falsely claim affiliation with the USPTO. In appreciation of the potential conflict of filing an application in its own office (because the application would be examined by the USPTO) the Department of Commerce is the actual applicant.
As we see more and more activity online and with more and more access to information, we can expect these scams to continue. If you receive a notification from a party you do not know (for example, not your law firm) take caution. Some of the known violators call themselves names like:
“Patent and Trademark Office”
“Patent & Trademark Office”
“Patent and Trademark Agency”
“Patent and Trademark Bureau”
“Trademark Compliance Center”
“Trademark Compliance Office”
“Trademark Office LTD”
“United States Trademark Registration Office”
One company in Belize went so far as to attempt to register the mark PATENT & TRADEMARK AGENCY. In response, the USPTO stated, “Registration is refused because the applied-for mark PATENT & TRADEMARK AGENCY consists of or includes matter which may falsely suggest a connection with a US government agency, specifically, the US Patent and Trademark Office.”
If you have any doubt as to the authenticity, truthfulness or honesty of any communication you receive concerning your trademark registration or application, contact an experienced trademark attorney for assistance.
The Kim & Lahey Law Firm is proud to announce that our attorneys are being honored by Greenville Business Magazine as part of South Carolina’s 2021 Legal Elite. This is the second year in a row that all Kim & Lahey attorneys have made the list.
Greenville Business Magazine’s Legal Elite is the only regional awards program that allows every active attorney to nominate and vote for their peers across 26 categories. The following are the Kim & Lahey attorneys selected for inclusion, as well as the practice areas in which their work is recognized:
Douglas Kim: Intellectual Property and Innovation – Business Litigation
Seann Lahey: Intellectual Property and Innovation – Business Litigation
Jason Rosen: Tax and Estate Planning – Corporate Law, Mergers, and Acquisitions
Casey Martens: Labor and Employment
Thank you to all of our peers who voted and congratulations to all of the South Carolina attorneys who are being recognized this year.
Firms included in the 2021 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a ﬁrm must ﬁrst have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America©, which recognizes the top 5% of private practicing lawyers in the United States. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.
Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Almost 108,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and they have received over 13 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 9.4 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 67,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.