A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
No. Trademarks, copyrights and patents all differ. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work; a patent protects an invention.
Trademarking your name, slogan or logo provides you with many benefits and puts you in a better standing to protect that Trademark from being used by someone else. Filing for Trademark protection gives the Trademark owner a nationwide priority to use the TM anywhere in the US. Filing a TM also provides notice to all businesses in the US that you are claiming rights to that name, slogan or logo. Registering a TM allows other businesses to easily search the USPTO database to see that someone else is using the name and therefore, discourage them from using your TM.
Filing also gives the TM owner the right to sue in federal courts, provides more remedies in the case of TM infringement, gives you the right to use the Registered Trademark symbol and allows you to file the TM in other countries as well.
The best way to protect a Trademark is to first register it with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This will give notice to the whole nation that you are claiming Trademark rights in your name, logo or slogan and it will afford you additional rights that you would not otherwise have.
Even before you are approved by the USPTO you can place the symbol TM after the mark in order to inform the public that you are claiming Trademark rights in the name or symbol. After your application is approved, you can then use the “r” in the circle mark to indicate a Registered Trademark.
We highly recommend an extensive Trademark Search before filing the Trademark application. The way Trademark rights work is whoever is the first in time to use the mark has priority over anyone else who comes later to use it. Therefore, while registering the mark with the USPTO is highly beneficial it will not give you priority over anyone else who may have been using the mark before you, but did not register it.
A Trademark Search will not only examine existing Trademarks registered with the USPTO but will also search for any similar marks being used across the nation. This is an exhaustive search of dozens of databases to determine if there are any potential conflicts. This is often called a Common Law Search.
Our trademark attorneys can perform this comprehensive search for you for $400. Though the search cannot guarantee approval, it will give a good indication of the mark’s availability. You will get the results of the Trademark search in writing in approximately 1 week.
Keep in mind, if your mark is rejected by the USPTO, they do not refund the filing fee.
Our Trademark Attorneys will prepare and submit your application on your behalf. All you would need to do is answer some questions and provide a sample of your Trademark. A business card, brochure or packaging containing your Trademark would be sufficient for the application.
Once the application is submitted, the USPTO will examine your Trademark to verify that it is unique. Once it passes the examiner, it will need to be published once a week for 4 weeks to provide notice to the public. If no one contends the mark, then your mark will be approved.
If the application is denied, the determination may be appealed. There is no refund of the application fee if this occurs. That is why it is a good idea to do an extensive Trademark search before filing the application.
Trademark rights are granted upon use. Therefore it is easiest to register a mark that is already being used. Use can simply mean handing out brochure or business cards or using the mark on packaging for your products. Once registered, you must continue to use the mark or you risk losing any Trademark protection the mark has.
5 years from registration you must submit an affidavit of continued use. 10 years after you must file to renew the mark.
You must also be vigilant in checking to see if anyone else is using your mark and prevent them from doing so. If you see someone using your mark and you allow them to continue using it you may be waiving your rights to stop them at a later time.