CLE Course: Stop Using Trademark As A Verb


Entrepreneurs and business owners may excel when it comes to starting and running companies – but they are not always the most adept when it comes to legal issues and protecting the intellectual property of their business. In fact, there are many common misconceptions in trademark law that business owners need to be aware of to truly understand trademarks.

Business owners often say, “I want to trademark my business name.” Not only is this bad usage, but it also indicates that the speaker does not understand trademark law and how to think about trademarks.

This course focuses on how to talk to business owners and entrepreneurs about the proper use of trademarks. As attorney and counselor, it is important to counsel business owners not to use trademark as a verb and then educate them on the essential points of trademark law and how it can best protect the intellectual property of the business. Join intellectual property attorney Eric Morton as he discusses common trademark usage, common problems with trademarks and state & federal registration of trademarks. To access the course please click here: Stop Using Trademark As A Verb: What Is Important in Trademark Law.

Additional topics covered in this CLE course:

  • The legal & practical definition of trademark
  • What the typical business owner thinks of the legal definition
  • Who decides whether something is a trademark
  • Who owns the trademark
  • Control of the trademark
  • The benefits of federal registration
  • The scope of trademark protection
  • Maintaining registrations
  • Loss of registrations
  • Trademark rights under federal law

Eric Morton has practiced business and intellectual property law in North San Diego County since 1994. Eric is a member of the Strategic Trusted Advisors Roundtable (STAR) of San Diego and he gives workshops on “Business Law for Entrepreneurs” at the Small Business Development Center in Oceanside, California. Eric belongs to the North County Bar Association and is the Intellectual Property section Chair and he also belongs to the Intellectual Property and Business Law sections of the State Bar of California. A resident of Carlsbad for over 10 years – where he lives with his wife and two dogs – when Eric is not at work, he plays Advanced Squad Leader, listens to jazz, reads, and pursues his passion for history. Eric also volunteers as a Constitution Day presenter in local schools.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in New York and around the country. For more information about CLE in New York please click the following link: NY CLE.

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New York CLE: NY Ethics and Professionalism Hours


“Experienced” attorneys in New York must complete a minimum of twenty-four (24) NY CLE credit hours each two-year New York CLE reporting cycle. Attorneys who have been admitted to the New York Bar for more than two years are considered “experienced” attorneys. Experienced New York attorneys may complete all 24 NY CLE credit hours through online, downloadable and CD CLE courses.

Ethics and Professionalism may include:

  • The norms relating to lawyers’ professional obligations to clients[1]
  • The norms relating to lawyers’ professional relations with prospective clients, courts and other legal institutions, and third parties[2]
  • The sources of lawyers’ professional obligations[3]
  • Recognition and resolution of ethical dilemmas
  • The mechanisms for enforcing professional norms; substance abuse control; and professional values[4]

Of the 24 required NY CLE credit hours, at least 4 of these hours must be in the area of Ethics and Professionalism category. Ethics and Professionalism is a broad category and encompasses many different topics. All 4 required New York Ethics and Professionalism credit hours may be completed through online CLE courses. For more information about CLE in New York please click the following link: NY CLE.

[1] Including the obligation to provide legal assistance to those in need, confidentiality, competence, conflicts of interest, the allocation of decision-making, and zealous advocacy and its limits.

[2] Including the lawyers’ fiduciary, accounting and record-keeping obligations when entrusted with law client and escrow monies, as well as the norms relating to civility.

[3] Including disciplinary rules, judicial decisions, and relevant constitutional and statutory provisions

[4] Including professional development, improving the profession, and the promotion of fairness, justice and morality.

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CA MCLE Compliance Deadline (A-G) is February 1


The California MCLE compliance deadline for attorneys with last names A-G (Group 1) is February 1, 2016.[1] The compliance period for Group 1 attorneys runs from 2/1/13 to 1/31/16. Group 1 attorneys must complete 25 hours of CA CLE every three years, including at least 4 hours of legal ethics, 1 hour of elimination of bias in the legal profession and 1 hour of competence issues.

CA MCLE Group 1 (A-G)

  • Compliance Period: 2/1/13 – 1/31/16
  • Compliance Deadline: 2/1/2016

Beginning on December 1, the State Bar of California advises Group 1 attorneys to report their CA MCLE compliance online through My State Bar Profile. My State Bar Profile is an online portal on the Cal Bar website for California attorneys to pay fees, report MCLE compliance, update personal information and more. Reporting your CA MCLE compliance electronically through My State Bar Profile means that you get real-time reporting to the Cal Bar database with an instant confirmation emailed to you once you have reported.

Extensions of Time

If you can comply by June 30, there is no need to request an extension of time with the State Bar of California – although a late fee of $75 will be assessed if you have not reported your CA MCLE compliance by February 1, 2016.

The California MCLE requirement is the minimum amount of continuing legal education you can complete without being fined or suspended. It is now more important than ever to ensure that you properly complete the CA MCLE requirement by taking enough total courses, completing the right amount of specialty courses and taking enough participatory credit hours. The State Bar of California has greatly increased the amount of annual MCLE audits it is conducting – as many as 10% of the attorneys in the next MCLE compliance group could be audited.

[1] Report Compliance

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FL CLE: What is the CLE reporting affidavit?


Florida attorneys are required to complete 30 total FL CLE credit hours every 3-year FL CLE compliance period. As part of the required 30 credit hours, Florida attorneys must also complete 5 credit hours in the area of legal ethics. Members of The Florida Bar are required to report their compliance with the FL CLER every three years.

Florida CLE Compliance & Reporting 

  • Reporting Cycle: 3 years
  • Compliance Deadline:
  • Varies Reporting Deadline: Varies

In order to report compliance with the CLER, The Florida Bar will provide a reporting affidavit to each member of The Florida Bar who has not completed the CLE Requirement for the current reporting cycle. You must complete the necessary CLE hours for the current FL CLE reporting cycle, update the affidavit and return it to The Florida Bar by the member’s reporting date. If a Florida attorney fails to complete and report the required CLE hours, then the member will be deemed delinquent. For additional self-reporting information and where to find our Florida State Bar Course Numbers (which you will need), please click this link: FL CLE Reporting.

If you are deemed delinquent with the FL CLER you can be suspended from the practice of Florida law.

Florida attorneys have the ability to complete all 30 required CLER credit hours through online and offline CLE courses. The Florida Bar allows the entire CLER to be fulfilled through online video and downloadable CLE courses. For more information about Attorney Credits’ Florida CLE courses and the CLER in Florida please click this link: Florida CLE.

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TX MCLE: Whose responsibility is it to report completion of MCLE hours?


Texas attorneys that have been licensed for two years or more must complete fifteen (15) TX CLE credit hours annually, including three (3) credit hours of Legal Ethics or Professionalism. The Texas MCLE compliance year is a one-year period that begins on the first day of the month you were born. The compliance year ends one year later on the last day of the month that precedes the month of your birth.[1]

Every Texas attorney must complete a minimum of 15 hours of accredited CLE during each MCLE compliance year.

Attorney Credits does report your all your completed TX CLE courses to the State Bar of Texas. We send completed lists to the State Bar of Texas every Monday. However, Texas is a self-reporting state. You must verify the receipt of your completed courses by the State Bar of Texas because Texas attorneys are ultimately responsible for reporting completion of their continuing education requirement to the State Bar of Texas.[2]

Although CLE providers do report  your completed CLE courses, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure your mandatory CLE hours are accurately and timely reported with the State Bar of Texas MCLE Department.

Failure to timely report your TX CLE credit hours could result in a non-compliance penalty of $100, $200, or $300. If you still have questions about your TX MCLE reporting in Texas, please contact the State Bar of Texas. Attorney Credits also offers helpful information about continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys licensed to practice in Texas. Please click this link to access more information about CLE in Texas: Texas CLE.

[1] Every Texas attorney has an automatic grace period to complete and report mandatory TX CLE hours for the TX CLE compliance year. This TX CLE grace period runs until the end of the birth month.

[2] Please Note: We report on Monday for all courses completed the previous Monday 12:00:01 AM to Sunday 12:59:59 PM. Therefore, if your deadline is Thursday and you finish your courses on Tuesday you must self-report the courses to the State Bar of Texas yourself, since the next time we report, your deadline will have passed. We are not responsible if your courses are submitted past your reporting deadline. To submit the courses yourself please click this link:

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IL MCLE: Reporting Periods & Deadline


Illinois attorneys must complete at least thirty (30) Illinois CLE credit hours every two years to complete the mandatory IL MCLE requirement. As part of the 30 unit CLE requirement, Illinois attorneys must make sure to complete at least six (6) mandatory credit hours of Professional Responsibility each two year compliance period.

Illinois MCLE Compliance Requirements

  • Reporting Cycle: 2 years
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Compliance Deadline: June 30
  • Reporting Deadline: July 31

Illinois attorneys must report compliance with the IL MCLE requirements every other year. The Illinois MCLE reporting periods lasts two years and runs from July 1 to June 30. Illinois attorneys with last names that start with A-M must report in EVEN numbered years, while attorneys with last names N-Z report in ODD numbered years.[1] The second year of the reporting year for Illinois attorneys.[2]

IL MCLE Compliance Deadline

  • A – M: June 30, 2016
  • N – Z: June 30, 2017

Your Illinois CLE reporting group does not change – even if your last name does. If you were sworn in on 1/1/06 or later, use your last name on file with the ARDC (Attorney Registration and Discipline Committee) on your swear-in date. If you were sworn in on or before June 30, 2006, then you use your last name that was on file on July 1, 2006. Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in Illinois (IL) and around the country. For more information about continuing legal education (CLE) in Illinois, please click the following link: Illinois CLE.

[1] What is a two year reporting period?

[2] To avoid late fees, all of your mandatory Illinois CLE hours must be completed by 11:59 PM on June 30 of that year (completion deadline) and your compliance must be reported by 11:59 PM on July 31.

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New York CLE: Compliance & Reporting Period


“Experienced” attorneys in New York must complete a minimum of twenty-four (24) NY CLE credit hours during each two-year reporting cycle. At least 4 credit hours of legal ethics must be completed every two years as part of the mandatory 24 credit hour NY CLE requirement.

New York CLE Compliance & Reporting

  • Reporting Cycle: 2 years
  • Compliance Deadline: Birth date
  • Reporting Deadline: 30 days after your birthday

The New York biennial CLE compliance period is considered the two-year period between attorney registrations which is based on your birth date. That means that the New York CLE compliance deadline is your birthday. However, New York attorneys have 30 days after their birthday to report NY CLE compliance. If you do not receive your attorney registration form by your birthday in the second calendar year following your admission to the New York Bar, you must contact the New York Attorney Registration.

You must file your attorney registration form and complete your NY CLE requirement within 30 days after your birthday on alternate years in order to timely complete your NY CLE reporting obligations.

With our online, downloadable and CD courses we have helped thousands of New York attorneys conveniently complete their NY CLE requirement from the comfort of their home or office. If you want to study your NY CLE online we offer streaming video CLE courses. And if you want to study your NY CLE offline we offer NY CLE courses in a downloadable audio and video formats, in addition to 24 credit hour CD, MP3 Player and USB stick packages. For more information about the New York CLE requirement please click the following link: NY CLE.

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CA MCLE: 4 Ethics, 1 Bias & 1 Competence Issues


The State Bar of California requires all active California attorneys to complete 25 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) every three years to remain compliant with the CA MCLE requirement. California attorneys that are in Group 1 (A-G) are the next up for MCLE compliance. Group 1 attorneys have a February 1, 2016, CA MCLE deadline.[1]

Top Reasons for CA MCLE Non-Compliance

  • Not completing 25 CLE hours
  • Not completing 12.5 hours of participatory credit
  • Not completing enough specialty credits

As part of the 25 credit hour CA MCLE requirement, California attorneys must complete specific specialty credits. California attorneys must make sure to complete at least 4 credit hours of legal ethics, 1 credit hour of competence issues and 1 credit hour of elimination of bias. The 1 credit hour of competence issues was formerly known as substance abuse.[2]

Special Requirements for CA MCLE Compliance:[3]

  • Legal Ethics – 4 hours
  • Competence Issues[4]1 hour
  • Elimination of Bias – 1 hour

Attorneys in California must pay special attention when completing the CA MCLE requirement. The State Bar of California has greatly increased the amount of MCLE audits over the last few years – up to 7,000 California lawyers are being audited every year. Since the Cal Bar increased the number of MCLE audits some attorneys have even been suspended or disbarred for not properly completing the annual three-year 25 credit hour CA CLE requirement. For more information about California CLE please click here: CA CLE.

[1] Compliance Groups

[2] Competence Issues addresses substance abuse or other mental or physical issues that impair a member’s ability to perform legal services with competence.

[3] May be taken as participatory or self-study.

[4] Formerly known as Prevention, Detection and Treatment of Substance Abuse or Mental Illness.

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Nevada CLE: Substance Abuse Required Every 3 Years


A handful of states across the country – including California and North Carolina – require substance abuse education as part of the mandatory Nevada CLE requirement. Many of these states require at least one hour of education on substance abuse and mental health issues every few years.

Nevada MCLE Compliance Requirements

  • Reporting Cycle: Annual
  • Annual Compliance Deadline: December 31
  • Reporting Deadline: December 31

Nevada recently amended its CLE rules to include a mandatory substance abuse requirement every three years. This change was originally made in 2013. However, so few attorneys received notice of the change that substance abuse was made mandatory for 2014 if it was not completed in 2013.[1] For the remaining two years of the three-year cycle (2015 & 2016), Nevada attorneys must complete 10 hours of general credits and 2 hours of ethics.

Notice Of Amendment to SCR 210

Effective March 20, 2014, the Nevada Supreme Court amended Supreme Court Rule 210 regarding mandatory CLE per ADKT 478. Beginning 2014, this order makes it mandatory for all active Nevada attorneys to take at least 1.0 credit hour every 3 years on substance abuse, addictive disorders and/or mental health issue.

For 2015, the NV CLE requirement will be 10.0 credit hours of general credits and 2.0 credit hours of ethics. The deadline to complete the required 12 credit hours of NV CLE is December 31. If you don’t complete your required NV CLE requirement by December 31, you can request an extension of time. For more information about Nevada CLE please click here: NV CLE[2]

[1] Effective March 20, 2014, all active Nevada attorneys are now required to take a minimum of 1 credit hour every three years on substance abuse, addictive disorders and/or mental health issues. For 2014, the remaining requirement will be 9.0 credit hours of general credits and 2.0 credit hours of ethics.

[2] You must put your request in writing, along with a $50 extension fee and send to the Nevada CLE Board. If the request is granted you will be given until March 1 to complete your NV CLE requirement.

Pennsylvania Group 3 CLE Deadline is December 31


Pennsylvania attorneys must complete a minimum of twelve (12) CLE credit hours each annual compliance period in order to complete the Pennsylvania CLE requirement. As part of the annual 12 unit PA CLE requirement for 2015, Pennsylvania attorneys must complete at least a minimum two (2) hours of legal ethics, professionalism or substance abuse.[1]

PA CLE Compliance & Reporting Requirements

  • Reporting Cycle: Annual
  • Compliance Deadline: Varies by Group
  • Reporting Deadline: Varies by Group

All Pennsylvania lawyers are permanently assigned to one of three Pennsylvania CLE Compliance Groups for PA CLE compliance and reporting purposes. Once a Pennsylvania attorney is assigned to a Pennsylvania CLE compliance group, the CLE compliance group will never change.[2] Pennsylvania attorneys that are in compliance Group III are currently due for compliance and must complete the PA CLE requirement by December 31.

Pennsylvania lawyers are assigned to 1 of 3 Compliance Groups:[3]

  • Compliance Group III: January 1 – December 31

Pennsylvania attorneys that are in Group III may now complete 6 credit hours by completing online and downloadable Pennsylvania CLE courses through Attorney Credits.[4] Attorney Credits Distance Learning courses have been approved by the Pennsylvania CLE Board. For more information about CLE in Pennsylvania please click here: PA CLE.

[1] The requirement was only 1 credit hour of legal ethics in 2014.

[2] Even if your last name changes (for example, due to marriage), your PA CLE Compliance Group will remain the same and you will always remain in the same Compliance Group.

[3] PA CLE groups are chosen randomly by lawyer ID number.

[4] Attorney Credits offer individual courses (including legal ethics, professionalism and substance abuse CLE courses) and also offers six (6) credit hour CLE compliance packages for Pennsylvania attorneys in compliance Group III.

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