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Where do I find information on Intellectual Property: patents, trademarks and copyrights?

 If you are an idea creator or inventor, at some point you are going to be interested in legally protecting your idea or invention through laws governing Intellectual Property (IP). But before, you decide to talk to an IP specialist, typically a lawyer specializing in IP law, you should consider doing a little bit of research first.

Patents & Trademarks
Trademarking can be accomplished on both a state and federal level. 

Information pertaining to patents and trademarks federally can be obtained through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Technical support is available 24 hours, 7 days a week and general support week days 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. by calling 800-786-9199 or 571-272-1000.  Visit:  www.uspto.gov

Additionally, assistance is available through official patent and trademark depository libraries.  For a complete listing of depository libraries and links to their web sites, click here.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) allows one to search patents and trademarks both in the U.S. and internationally.  Visit: www.wipo.org

For more information on trademarking on a state level refer to "Trademarks and Service Marks" Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 621a,  PP408,409 Sec. 35-11a.   The Connecticut Secretary of the State accepts trademark and service mark applications.  Contact the agency: (860) 509-6003 or crd@ct.gov Visit: https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS 

Copyrights
Copyright information can be obtained through the U.S. Copyright Office.  
Public Information Line - 202-707-3000 (week days 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Forms and Publications Hotline - 202-707-9100 (24 hours, 7 days a week)

The Small Business Administration provides additional guidance on patents/trademarks/copyrights.

Based out of the University of Connecticut's School of Law, the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic (IPEC) offers non-fee basis, intellectual property education, counseling and legal services to Connecticut inventors, entrepreneurs, companies, artists and research scientists.  Contact the clinic: (860) 728-2104 or iplawclinic@law.uconn.edu  Visit: www.law.uconn.edu/clinics/ip/

Are there special requirements for pet facilities, services and animal welfare?

Depending on the type of pet services provided, a license may be required.

pet facility license is required by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture for pet shops and facilities that offer kennel, training and grooming services.  This license applies if the owner's pet is cared for at your private home. The agency also requires a  bird or poultry permit if importing birds.  However, the display of birds using aviaries does not require a license.  Contact the agency at 860-713-2506 or ctdeptag@ct.gov . Agency website:  www.ct.gov/doag

No licensing is required for pet walking, sitting (if taking care of the animal in the owner’s home) or pet waste removal. Check with the local health and sewage departments for regulations on dumping waste. 

Pet shelters do not require licensing according to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. For further information contact the agency directly by calling 860-713-2506 or emailing ctdeptag@ct.gov.   However, the facility must be inspected by the town and the animals must be licensed locally, have rabies shot, etc. Review Connecticut General Statutes  22-329 through 22-411.

According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, grooming and sitting services are subject to sales tax.  Waste removal and the sale of pet products (collars, brushes, leashes and etc.) is subject to sales tax. File form REG-1 (online, mail).  Contact the agency at 1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut Only), 860-297-5962 or drs@po.state.ct.us.  Agency website:  www.ct.gov/drs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees the welfare of animals and licenses businesses through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.  Sample services include petting zoos, reptile rescue and sale of birds.  Learn more about the types of licenses and which services are exempt by contacting the Animal Welfare Information Center agency directly at 301-504-6212 or email awic@ars.usda.gov..  Agency website:  www.usda.gov

Additionally, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, Bureau of Natural Resources, should be able to provide further information. Contact the agency at 860-424-3003 or dep.webmaster@po.state.ct.us.  Agency website:  www.ct.gov/dep

Baking pet treats requires licensing through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.  The agency will review all the proper licensing and labeling requirements. There are labeling requirements both on the state and federal levels.  Contact the agency: (860) 713-2565 or Alton.Blodgett@ct.gov.

 

What is required to operate a school?

The Office of Higher Education regulates and authorizes private occupational schools and hospital-based in addition to degree granting colleges and universities.  The agency's Executive Director must approve.
Contact the agency: (860) 947-1816
Patricia A. Santoro, Director, PSantoro@ctohe.org
Visit: www.ctohe.org

 
Driving schools and their instructors require licensing through the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles.  Contact: (860) 263-5056 or dmv.phonecenter@ct.gov or visit www.ct.gov/dmv

Does a halfway house or shelter require licensing?..

According to the Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC), no occupational or trade licenses are required for establishing a halfway house. The agency, in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services (DAS) determines needs for proposals.  It is suggested to become an approved vendor for bidding on proposals by registering with DAS.

Contact DOC at 860-692-7780 or melanie.sparks@po.state.ct.us - Contract Administration, or DAS at 860-713-5115 or visit das.ct.gov.

For information concerning housing assistance and/or grants for programs for homeless shelters, contact the Connecticut Department of Social Services at 800-842-1508 or visit the agency website.

Which agency oversees medical gas "mix-ups"?

The Food and Drug Administration provides guidance on medical gas mix-ups for users and administrators.  For information on the safe use of medical gases, please contact the agency at (855) 543-3784 or druginfo@fda.hhs.gov

I want to operate an oxygen bar.  Are there licensing requirements?

Although there are currently no state regulations for oxygen bars in Connecticut, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection suggests business owners make a pre-application appointment to get a better understanding of potential regulations.  Contact the agency: (860) 424-3003 or dep.webmaster@ct.gov  Visit:  www.ct.gov/dep  

Oxygen for medicinal purposes is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  However, oxygen is not regulated for oxygen bars if the bar does not promote oxygen for medicinal purposes.  Contact the agency for further details  at (855) 543-3784. 

Reference: Section 503(b)(1)(B) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
What are FDA requirements for opening an oxygen spa bar in the U.S.? Can industrial grade oxygen or oxygen concentrators be substituted for medical oxygen in such use?

Oxygen spa bars have been operating in Japan for many years, and are starting to appear in Canada. These establishments don't administer oxygen for medical or emergency use in the traditional sense. We have received inquiries as to U.S. Food and Drug Administration's requirements regarding this type of operation. This is a very interesting business concept; however, medical oxygen is defined as a prescription drug which requires a prescription in order to be dispensed, except as described above, for emergency use.

Oxygen spa bar advertising that makes unproven medical claims, e.g., a skin care treatment, anti-aging, hangovers, fatigue, migraine headaches, etc. would render the oxygen a new drug.
Further, we would strongly discourage the use of industrial grade oxygen due to the lack of control exercised over industrial high pressure cylinders and the possibility of contamination occurring. As for the use of oxygen concentrators, these are prescription devices and as such would require a prescription.     

Contact the Connecticut Licensing Info Center (CT-CLIC.com) to learn about further registration considerations or if you require additional assistance: 1-800-392-2122 or Contact form .


What are the regulations for a bottle recycling and/or redemption center?

The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection provides information on the regulations that govern bottle recycling/redemption centers.  Review the legislative summary and FAQ provided on the agency's web site.  Contact the agency:  860-424-3241 (Jackie Pernell) or jackie.pernell@po.state.ct.us  Visit: www.ct.gov/dep

Contact the Connecticut Licensing Info Center (CT-CLIC.com) to learn about further registration considerations or if you require additional assistance: 1-800-392-2122 or Contact form .

Are there special requirements for boxing and wrestling events?

The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection  oversees boxers, referees, timekeepers, managers, seconds, and promoters.    For further details, contact the agency directly: (860) 685-8290 or dps.spec.licensing@po.state.ct.us. Visit www.ct.gov/despp.

Also, local approval may be required from the town in which the event takes place.

Note:  According to the Connecticut General Statutes the following regulations also apply:  Sec.29-143v. Age limitation for boxing and wrestling. No person under eighteen years of age shall engage in any professional boxing match or wrestling exhibition and no person under sixteen years of age shall engage in any amateur boxing match or amateur wrestling exhibition except a match or exhibition held under the supervision of a school, college or university having an academic course of study or the athletic association connected with such school, college or university or held under the auspices of any amateur athletic association that has been determined by the commissioner, under section 21a-196, to be capable of ensuring the health and safety of the participants.  Sec.29-143s. Boxing and wrestling prohibited on certain days and hours. No boxing match or wrestling exhibition shall be held on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day or Veterans' Day.

Contact the Connecticut Licensing Info Center (CT-CLIC.com) to learn about further registration considerations or if you require additional assistance: 1-800-392-2122 or Contact form .

What licensing is required for fund raising and charitable activities?

The Department of Consumer Protection no longer oversees bingo, sealed ticket sales, bazaars and raffles.  Contact your local municipality for further guidance.  However, the agency offers information for public charities and paid solicitors.

 

It is important to note that the bingo and raffle permits are submitted to the local police chief or first selectmen / mayor in the absence of a local police department.

Visit the agency website www.portal.ct.gov/dcp for more details: Contact the agency at  (860) 713-6170, dcp.publiccharities@ct.gov.

Questions to consider for licensing and registration:

1. What type of fund raising will your business be doing?
2. What will your business be doing with the proceeds? 
3. Will your company be receiving a commission for your services?


Note:  If receiving a commission from the fund raising services, the commission is subject to income tax. Contact the U.S. Internal Revenue Services at 800-829-1040 or visit www.irs.gov/charities and the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services at 1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut only), (860) 297-5962, drs@po.state.ct.us or visit www.ct.gov/drs.

Do go-cart venues require licensing?

Go-carts fall into the category of "mechanical ride" which requires licensing through the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.   Forms are available on the agency website www.ct.gov/dcp or contact the agency at dcp.licenseservices@ct.gov

The application must first be submitted to the Property and Casualty Division of the  Connecticut Department of Insurance.  Contact the agency:  (860) 297-3867.  Visit: www.ct.gov/cid

According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, the sale of concessions and/or admissions tickets is subject to Connecticut sales tax by filing REG-1 (online, mail).  Contact the agency:  1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut only), 860-297-5962 or drs@po.state.ct.us  Visit: www.ct.gov/drs

Contact the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles for commercial licensing: (860) 263-5700, 1-800-842-8222 or mail@ct.gov  Visit: www.ct.gov/dmv

Also contact your local town clerks and zoning office for local regulations, permits and zoning laws.

What licensing does a golf course require?

Golf course pesticide and fertilizer application requires licensing through the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.  Contact the agency:  (860) 424-3003 or dep.webmaster@ct.gov  Visit: www.ct.gov/dep

If the golf course plans to have a club house, restaurant or food stand, please review What Do I Need for Food Services?

Register for the sales and use tax by filing REG-1 (online, mail) with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services for the sale of products and apparel in addition to meals served.  Contact the agency:  1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut only), (860) 297-5962 or drs@po.state.ct.us  Visit: www.ct.gov/drs  

What licenses are required for resellers of phone services?

The Federal Communication Commission regulates phone companies (reseller of phone services).  Resellers are considered to be common carriers and must file a tariff.  Contact the agency: 1-888-225-5322 or fccinfo@fcc.gov  Visit: www.fcc.gov

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Public Utility Regulatory Authority  requires a Telecom Basic Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity (CPCN) license for all services except payphones.  Applies to resellers, facility base, intrastate toll service, and local exchange service. If you need further information, please call the Department’s Consumer Assistance and Information Unit at (860) 827-2622 or the Acting Executive Secretary at 860-827-2601. 860-827-1553 or dpuc.information@po.state.ct.us  Visit: www.ct.gov/pura.

Installation of phone lines, fiber optics, computer lines, and ethernet network lines requires a telecommunications layout technician license through the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.  Contact the agency: (860) 713-6135 or occprotrades@ct.gov  Visit: www.ct.gov/dcp

According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, telecommunication services are taxable and requires a sales and use tax certificate. File form REG-1 (online, mail).    Out-of-state contractors, regardless of the nature of the real property affected or the tax-exempt status of the property owner, must post a bond with the  agency.

Review the following publications:
IP 2006 (35) Building Contractor's Guide 
SN 2005(12) Nonresident Contractor Bonds and Deposits 

Contact the agency: 1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut only), 860-297-5962, bond hotline 860-541-7538 or drs@po.state.ct.us  Visit: www.ct.gov/drs  

What licensing is required for a radio station?

Licensing for a radio station is required through the Federal Communication Commission.  Contact the agency: 888-225-5322 or (202) 418-2700 or fccinfo@fcc.gov. Visit: www.fcc.gov

In Connecticut there are no licenses required.  However the Connecticut Broadcast Association can provide additional information.  Contact the association:  (860) 633-5031 or pkt@ctba.org  Visit: www.ctba.org

Is licensing required for stem cell storage?

According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health,  Connecticut does not regulate or oversee stem cell storage facilities. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics and Research provides guidance and regulatory information.  Contact the agency:  (301) 827-2000, 800-835-4709 or ocod@fda.hhs.gov  Visit: www.fda.gov

Additionally, the American Association of Tissue Banks maintains a close liaison with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is a resource for further information on stem cell storage.  The Association sponsors meetings, seminars and workshops for the exchange of scientific information. Contact the association:  (703) 827-9582  Visit: www.aatb.org

How do I obtain a fork lift operator certificate?

Fork lift operators do not need to be licensed, however, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Association (CFR29-1910-178) the employees of the company that operate forklift(s) need to be trained and certified.  Contact the agency locally in Bridgeport (203) 579-5581 or Hartford (860) 240-3152 or visit www.osha.gov.

The Connecticut Department of Labor may also provide guidance.  Contact the agency: (860) 263-6000 or visit www.ctdol.state.ct.us.

Is internet gambling legal?

The State of Connecticut and the Department of Consumer Protection do not authorize, license, permit, or regulate in any manner any Internet gambling in any form. Under General Statutes of Connecticut Section 53-278a(2) any gambling activity in Connecticut is illegal unless specifically authorized by law. Neither the state legislature nor any state agency has approved any form of gambling on the Internet, including the purchasing of raffle tickets. Even if a gambling website is legal in another jurisdiction, such as a foreign country or another state, it is illegal to use that site to gamble from within Connecticut.

Contact the agency at 860.713.6310 or dcp.gaming@ct.gov or visit the agency website.

Licensing for music and videos in a place of business

Businesses wishing to publicly play copyrighted music or show videos must obtain permission through either the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers ((770) 805-3400 or visit www.ascap.com) or Broadcast Music International ((212) 586-2000 or visit www.bmi.com).  Permission is granted through the purchase of licenses.  

What are the finance laws for political candidates and campaigns?

Political candidates seeking to finance their campaigns must adhere to Connecticut's campaign finance laws and register as a committee (politcal candidate and/or party) with either the State Elections Enforcement Commission - SEEC - (state offices) or the town clerk (municipal offices - the SEEC provides forms for registration).

Connecticut’s campaign finance laws are set forth in Chapters 155 and 157 of the Connecticut General Statutes, Secs. 9-600 through 9-624, and Secs. 9-700 through 9-718, 9-750 and 9-751.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission has the authority to investigate possible violations of the election laws, inspect campaign finance records and reports, refer evidence of violations to the Chief State's Attorney or to the Attorney General, issue advisory opinions and make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning revisions to the state's election laws. The Commission is also charged with developing and implementing an electronic campaign reporting system (e-CRIS).  The Commission is now the state campaign finance filing repository for all past and present campaign finance records for party committees, political committees and candidate committees organized for state elections.

The Commission ensures that the public can readily access both registration and financial information regarding any and all committees that are registered with the Commission. The agency provides forms for both registration and financial disclosure in a paper format as well as through the Electronic Campaign Reporting Information System (eCRIS). All documents received by the Unit are posted on the e-CRIS system where the public can search for campaign finance information about Party Committees, Political Committees and Candidates running for Statewide and General Assembly offices.

Contact the Commission: (860) 256-2940 (Main), (860) 256-2925 (Compliance), 1-866-SEEC-INFO (1-866-7332-4636) or seec@ct.gov or vist www.ct.gov/seec

Additionally, political parties; campaign committees for candidates for federal, state or local office; and political action committees are all political organizations subject to tax under IRS section 527.  A political organization must have its own employer identification number (EIN) by filing form SS-4, even if it does not have any employees.  Contact the agency: 1-800-829-4933 or visit www.irs.go

Are there licensing requirements for satellite installations?

In addition to contacting the local utility company, satellite installations require registration / licensing on all levels of government: municipal (local), state and federal.

Local
Contact the town in which the business will be based for local permits, requirements, and inspections.

Utility Company
United Illuminating Company (UI) 1-800-676-7052 or visit www.uinet.com
Eversource Toll Free 800-286-2000.  Hartford area 860-947-2000 or visit https://www.eversource.com/content/

State
Cable installation requires an electrical contractor license through the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.   Contractors need to pass the electrical contractor exam given by PSI licensure:certification (1-800-733-9267, comments@psiexams.com or visit http://candidate.psiexams.com).  Contact the agency: (860) 713-6135, occprotrades@ct.gov or visit www.ct.gov/dcp 

Federal
The Federal Communications Commission is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. International licensing inquires should be directed to the International Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission.  Contact the agency:  1-888-225-5322, 202-418-0437 (International Bureau), 1-866-418-0232 fccinfo@fcc.gov or visit www.fcc.gov

Also contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): (202) 326-2222, antitrust@ftc.gov or visit www.ftc.gov  Note: Email is not secure.  Confidential information should be marked "Confidential" and sent via regular mail.

What is a UL mark?

Underwriters Laboratories® (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization.

In the words of UL, there are many types of UL Marks, each with its own specific meaning. The only way to determine if a product has been certified by Underwriters Laboratories® is to look for the UL Mark on the product itself. In a few instances, the UL Mark may be present only on the packaging of a product.

Some products certified by UL are components that are intended to be used in the manufacture of a complete Listed product. These components cannot bear the UL symbol, but may use a special Recognized Component Mark.

The UL Mark on a product means that UL has tested and evaluated representative samples of that product and determined that they meet UL requirements. Under a variety of programs products are periodically checked by UL at the manufacturing facility to make sure they continue to meet UL requirements. The UL Marks may be only used on or in connection with products certified by UL and under the terms of written agreement with UL. In addition to these marks, UL also provides access to the marks required in a number of other key world markets.

Note: the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) oversees third party organizations that provide the testing and certification of products used in the U.S.   Contact: 800-321-6742  or visit www.osha.gov

Contact the company:  877-854-3577 or cec.us@us.ul.com  or visit www.ul.com

What happens with a company's gift cards once they close?

If a company in Connecticut is going out of business and they have outstanding gift cards, they are not required by law to honor them.  It is recommended by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, that the company publishes a press release letting their customer know that they will be closing, and their gift cards will be honored until that date.

However, if a company is closing due to bankruptcy, their customers have the ability to act as creditors and seek out the money for their outstanding gift cards.   To obtain more information regarding Gift Card Laws in Connecticut, contact the agency: (860) 713-6050. Visit www.ct.gov/dcp.

Can a merchant add a surcharge to credit card purchases?

According to state law, Connecticut prohibits a seller from imposing a surcharge on a buyer using any method of payment, including cash, check, credit card, or electronic means, in any sales transaction.  For further details, please review the information in the following link provided by the Office of Legislative Research.

What is considered biomedical waste and which agencies regulate it?

According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (regulating authority) biomedical waste (BMW) is defined as any infectious, pathological and/or chemotherapy waste generated during the administration of medical care or the performance of medical research involving humans or animals. The definition of BMW excludes hazardous and radioactive waste as defined in state law.
The agency offers detailed information in a Frequently Asked Questions.  Additional details are available by calling the agency at 888-424-4193.

Certain federal agencies also have regulations governing BMW and can include, but not limited to:

How do I access data I need for my business plan?

Understanding your business in terms of industry, supply chain and market place is key.  Assessing your competitors, suppliers, partners, customers and labor force are among the top indicators.

 What resources, especially those that are free or cost very little, do you utilize to access your data?  Let’s highlight a few:

Of course, there are resources that are available at a cost:

  • Dunn and Bradstreet allows access to commercial data, analytics and insights for business.
  • Hoovers allows access to commercial data, analytics and insights for business.
  • InfoUSA provides data for mailing lists targeting businesses and consumers.
  • EMSI offers labor market data.
  • ESRI offers mapping and special analytics using GIS.

Whether you’re trying to identify industries with the best growth prospects or looking for a greater understanding of market dynamics, economic trends or industry shifts – the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) has objective research expertise and data to analyze issues at the local, state, national and global levels. We offer a variety of online research products, resources and tools, as well as individually designed custom analyses for clients.  Contact us.