What is a trademark and what can be trademarked?
A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device, that an individual or business is either currently using or intends to use in commerce in order to identify and distinguish its goods from the goods of another business or individual. Generally speaking, any word, phrase, or device can potentially achieve federal trademark registration as long as the potential trademark identifies the source of the goods and distinguishes them from the goods of another.
How is a trademark different from a patent or copyright?
Trademarks are meant to distinguish goods so that the public is able to determine the source of the goods, through the use of a mark, symbol, or device. On the other hand, a copyright affords protection of original works of an author and a patent is used to protect inventions and other discoveries.
What is the difference between a service mark and a trademark?
A trademark is used to distinguish goods used in commerce of one from the goods of another. A service mark is used to identify and distinguish the services of one from the services of another.
Should I register my trademark?
While you are not legally required to register your trademark there are valuable trademark benefits in obtaining a federal trademark registration.
What are the benefits to having a federally registered trademark?
A federally registered trademark allows for public notice of your ownership in the trademark and it creates a legal presumption that you own the trademark and have the exclusive right to use the trademark nationwide in connection with the goods and/or services listed with your trademark registration. Moreover, without a federal registration, you do not have nationwide trademark rights and any rights will be limited to the geographic area where the trademark is used. Finally, a federally registered trademark allows the trademark owner to expand their products to foreign nations though a quicker process and gain trademarks in those nations through the use of the Madrid Protocol.
How long does a trademark registration last?
A federal trademark registration can last indefinitely, but an initial trademark registration lasts for 10 years. Between year 9 and 10, you may renew your trademark for an additional 10 years by submitting a trademark application renewal. This renewal process must be repeated every 10 years for valid registration to continue. In short, as long as the trademark owner stays aware of and on top of renewal deadlines, and the trademark still serves its purpose, then a valid registration may continue indefinitely.
Who is in charge of regulating federal trademark registration?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regulates federal trademark application and registrations in the United States.
How long does it take to register a trademark?
The duration of the federal trademark registration process, from application to registration, could be anywhere from a couple months to several years. Every trademark application is unique and the amount of time it takes to go through the entire registration process is unique as well. Factors that alter the duration of the registration process include the basis for filing (is it an actual use or an intent to use application), if the examining attorney requires additional documents, or the proposed trademark needs to be amended or altered.
Do I have to use an attorney to register a trademark?
You do not need to hire a trademark attorney but there are tremendous benefits to having a trademark attorney register your trademark. For instance, a trademark attorney knows all the details and requirements of trademark law and what the USPTO examining attorneys are looking for in each application. A trademark attorney can assess the likelihood of a successful trademark registration and can assist to increase these chances for a successful registration. Further, a trademark attorney will be conscious of and on top of the many deadlines that must be met in order for a registration to be successful from start to finish. Hiring an attorney will avoid you missing a deadline that will result in your trademark being “abandoned.” A trademark attorney quickly and effectively performs a trademark search to determine if there are conflicting trademarks prior to an application. This saves a client from wasting money on an application that would likely be rejected if a conflicting trademark appears. Finally, a trademark attorney can save you money. Often, people fail to properly search for conflicting trademarks, or simply rely on popular online legal websites to apply for trademark registration. This frequently results in wasting a lot of money in application fees or in a business having to change the name of the product. These are major set backs. A trademark attorney will save you from wasting money, time and will evaluate the likelihood of your trademark successfully receiving registration the first time around.
How long does it take our trademark attorneys to search and file a trademark?
Our trademark attorneys can perform a a trademark search and return the analysis and results within 5 days. We will assess the trademark search, discuss the likelihood of success or any potential problems that may arise during the application process, and then discuss whether you wish to continue with the prosecution of your trademark.