Trademarks: Have you created a brand, a logo, or a slogan that your customers and others recognize? Don’t let others profit from the goodwill you built. Protect your brand. Having a registered trademark helps protect your brands, logos, and slogans.
What is a trademark? A trademark is how your customers know that your goods or services are yours, and that they come from you and not your competitor.
A trademark is any name, symbol, design, scent, sound, color, or motion that is capable of distinguishing your goods from the goods of others in the marketplace. Service marks, which are used on services rather than goods, are also governed by ‘Trademark law.‘
Trademarks may be registered federally at the United States Patent & Trademark Office, at the State level, usually at the secretary of state, and in foreign countries. Except for the European Union Community trademark, each country has their own trademark registration office. There is no global trademark that provides protection everywhere.
Examples of registered trademarks/service marks:
- Nike’s Swoosh (logo)
- McDonald’s Golden Arches (logo)
- NBC’s Chimes (sound)
- UPS Brown (color)
- Apple Stores (trade dress)
Why Should Intellectual Property be Registered?
One of the main reasons you should register, is as a deterrent, so others will not use your trademark. Your registration sets forth your ownership of the trademark.
General benefits received through federal registration include:
- The ability to recover profits, damages, and costs for infringement, including the possibility of receiving treble damages in certain circumstances;
- The ability to recover attorneys fees in infringement actions;
- The right to use the ® symbol, which may deter potential infringers;
- Increased ease of discovery by other parties, helping to prevent infringement by third parties;
- The right to sue for infringement in federal courts; and
- The ability to have the customs service block the importation of infringing goods.
Our Process to Protect Your Trademark:
Phase 1 Search and Assessment: We generally suggest to start off with at least a knockout search and assessment. The knock-out search is a preliminary screening of the US Federal Trademark Register. It is likely to catch major trademark conflicts, but is not as thorough as an advanced comprehensive search. This search helps us to determine if your desired trademark is available for registration, and whether or not another has registered a similar trademark that your use may be considered an infringing. The search helps you make an informed decision if investing in a patent application is a wise decision from a business and economic standpoint. We will review your proposed trademark in light of the search results and analyze the merits and legal risks involved, including the strength of the proposed trademark, whether it is likely to be registered quickly, or be delayed by rejections or objections in any “office actions.” We may suggest that you move forward with a more comprehensive search.
Should you use this trademark and should you apply for a registration?
Phase 2 Preparing and File your Application: Once you decide to move forward after the initial mark search and assessment, we will prepare the trademark application, then send it to you for your review and signing. Upon receipt of the signed application we will finalize and file it. The preparation and filing of the application not the assists us in drafting the application and we believe ultimately results in a stronger more valuable trademark that will usually reduce the overall cost of obtaining the trademark.
Phase 3 Prosecution: We use the search and assessment of phase 1 and the preparation and drafting of phase 2 to limit lost value in the trademark while prosecuting the application before the USPTO.
Phase 4 Maintaining and Policing Your Trademark: In order to maintain a trademark registration you must continue to use the trademark in US commerce, you also must file a declaration of use and a renewal application at specific times.
As the owner of a trademark it is your obligation to police it, the USPTO does not do that for you. Policing your trademark is done by monitoring applications filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office and ensuring that no other company is using you trademark. We provide services to assist you with maintaining your trademark and policing.
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The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
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