Trademark Attorney Services
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Ames, Iowa Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal, PLLC is a trademark law firm that focuses on intellectual property protection for startups and entrepreneurs in Ames, Iowa. Our goal is to provide our clients with exceptional legal guidance at cost-effective rates. Whether you’re just starting a business or you’re in the middle of an important business transaction, we’re here to help.
Top 8 Questions Ames Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
What is the United States Patent and Trademark Office?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the federal office that accepts and approves or denies trademark applications. The USPTO also maintains detailed records of all existing and pending trademark registrations.
Note that the USPTO does not enforce trademark rights. It is the owner of the trademark who must enforce their own trademark rights.
What is a fanciful trademark?
Fanciful trademarks are completely made-up words or phrases. Fanciful trademarks have no real meaning other than when used as the name of a product or service. One example of a fanciful trademark is Oreo® cookies. Another example would be Exxon® gasoline. Both Oreo and Exxon have no meaning on their own.
I’ve already submitted a trademark application. Is it too late to hire a trademark attorney?
The earlier you hire a trademark attorney, the better it is. However, it’s really never too late to hire a trademark attorney. If you’ve already submitted an application, then an attorney can still assist you in many ways. An attorney can:
- Help you respond to office actions you may receive from the examining attorney.
- Help you appeal the decision if your trademark application is denied.
- Give advice on other pieces of intellectual property that should be trademarked.
- Ensure you file trademark maintenance documents correctly and on time.
- Take action against anyone who may be infringing on your trademark.
What is a priority date?
The date your trademark application is submitted to the USPTO will become what is known as your priority date. If someone tries to register a trademark similar to yours after your priority date, then your application will be given priority over theirs. This is another reason to start the trademark registration process early. It gives your mark some limited protections even as the approval is pending.
I already did a Google search for my desired trademark. Is that sufficient?
Conducting a Google search to determine if your desired trademark is available for use is not advisable. A Google search will only identify exact trademark matches, such as identical business names or identical product names. It may not identify business or product names that are similar to your desired mark.
In most instances, trademark applications are rejected by the USPTO because the trademark is too similar to an existing mark, not necessarily an exact match. You should contact a trademark attorney who can conduct a robust clearance search and prepare and submit your trademark application. That’s the only way you can be sure that your trademark is available for you to use.
My business is a small, one-person operation. Should I consider trademark registration?
Yes, every business, even one-person operations, should register their trademarks with the USPTO. It’s the only way to ensure that no one infringes on your trademark. Having a trademark also gives you the confidence you need if you ever want to invest in your brand and grow your business.
Can I improve the chances that my trademark application will be approved if I work with a trademark attorney?
Working with a trademark attorney can improve the likelihood that your trademark application will be approved by the USPTO. A study published by the University of North Carolina showed that trademark applications submitted with the aid of a trademark attorney were 50% more likely to get approved than those applications submitted without the aid of an attorney.
This is because a trademark attorney is an expert in trademark registration. Your attorney will ensure that your application is filled out completely and correctly and know how to help usher it through the entire process.
Is my USPTO-approved trademark valid in countries outside of the United States?
No, your trademark is not valid in countries outside of the United States. If you do business in countries outside of the United States or its territories, you should consider registering your trademarks in those countries as well. Be sure to seek the assistance of a trademark attorney if you want to apply for trademark registration in a foreign country.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Ames Businesses
Named one of the top 30 college towns, Ames is home to Iowa State University. With an energetic student body and friendly year-round residents, Ames is an ideal place for entrepreneurs to set up shop. New business owners are often aware of things like product development, marketing strategies, and business plans, but they should remember to register their trademarks with the USPTO as well.
Imagine the following: Corrine is a recent graduate of Iowa State University. She’s decided to live permanently in Ames and open a suntan salon in the downtown area. Corrine thinks there’s a market for it, especially among college students.
She calls her new salon Sunshine Solutions and finds the perfect location. Then, she gets to work. For the next few months, she’s purchasing equipment, ordering signage, designing a website, setting up social media accounts and much more. Corrine’s friend asks her if she’s going to trademark the name of her business. Corrine considers it, but she’s so overwhelmed with everything else on her plate, she decides it can wait.
Three months later, Corrine’s hard work has finally paid off. She opens her salon and slowly but surely she builds up a loyal following of repeat customers. They especially love to come by during Iowa’s cold winters.
Unfortunately, Corrine is about to get some unsettling news in the form of a cease-and-desist letter. As it turns out, there is an online company called Sunshine Solutions that sells home tanning beds and other light therapy equipment. Since they registered their trademark 15 years ago, they are well within their rights to ask Corrine to stop operating her business and not reopen until she has a new name. This will be a time-consuming and expensive endeavor.
The lesson here is to always register your trademark as early as possible when starting a new business. It’s the only way to ensure you have the exclusive right to use your mark and that you are not possibly infringing on anyone else’s trademark.
If you have questions about trademark registration, then contact the attorneys at Cohn Legal for a no-cost trademark consultation.
** Cohn Legal, PLLC is not located in Ames and yet it can assist businesses from Iowa in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Ames Businesses
Submit Your Trademark
Now in 4 Easy Steps
Complete the Trademark Registration Form.
Our IP Attorneys will run a search of your trademark in the USPTO.
We draft your TM Application and send it to you for your Review.
We File the Application with the USPTO.