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Atlanta, Georgia Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal is a Trademark Law firm that was born as an auxiliary branch of a firm that has provided legal protection to some of the biggest technology companies in the world. Cohn Legal is focused on providing clients in Atlanta, Georgia, and around the globe with outstanding legal counsel and guidance on trademark and intellectual property rights and protections.
Top 8 Questions Atlanta Businesses Have About Protecting a Trademark
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a branding device that serves to tether a branding asset to a product or service. When done effectively, the trademark, which is typically a name, logo, and/or slogan, immediately allows a consumer to understand the source company which produces the product which bears the trademark. So, when a consumer sees the Starbucks logo on a cup, he/she understands that the beverage within the cup comes from the Starbucks Corporation. A trademark can be anything that represents your brand including product shapes, sounds, packaging, store layouts, and color schemes.
Why should I conduct a trademark name search?
The very first step of trademarking a name is searching to see if someone else already has the name or something similar to it. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a huge database of registered trademarks and pending trademarks that you can search through.
If your search reveals that someone already registered the name you wanted, it can be frustrating. However, it’s better to have this information now rather than later. Imagine if you moved forward with signage, packaging, web design, brochures, t-shirts, business cards, and other marketing collateral, then found out the name you wanted was already registered. You’ll have wasted a lot of time and money.
How do I register a federal trademark?
The first step in registering a trademark is submitting a trademark application to the USPTO. The trademark application will contain information about you, your business, the desired trademark, and a few other details. Working with a trademark attorney will help make sure that your application is in good order.
What is an examining attorney?
The examining attorney works at the USPTO and reviews the trademark applications. An examiner makes sure that the applications are complete. He or she will also search the USPTO database to see if your desired trademark is similar to any trademarks that are pending registration or already registered. If a similar trademark is found, then your application will likely be rejected.
If the examiner finds that your desired trademark is unique, then your trademark will be printed in the USPTO’s Official Gazette for a 30-day period. During that time any third party “opposes” the application if they feel that your trademark infringes upon theirs. If no third-party objects, then your trademark will be approved for final registration.
Do I need to have a registered trademark before I start selling my goods or services?
You don’t need a registered trademark to start selling products that bear the trademark. However, any trademark attorney would tell you not to do that. Imagine that a competitor sees you conducting business without a registered trademark. Protecting your trademark against infringement is one of the most important things you can do as a business owner.
How long does a trademark last?
Once your trademark is registered, then it won’t expire. Your only requirement is to keep up with the renewal dates. The first renewal date is about 5 years after initial registration, the second is 10 years after initial registration, and subsequent renewals are every 10 years after that.
Be sure to stay on top of those dates. Missing a renewal could cause your trademark to be cancelled.
What is a “specimen” and when do I need one?
When submitting a trademark application, you’ll be asked for a specimen. It’s just a sample of what your logo, name, or trademark will look in use. The USPTO will accept product labels, packaging samples, flyers, brochures, advertisements, website screenshots, pictures of signage, etc. These would all be acceptable specimens.
Can I file a trademark if I’m not yet selling any products, but intend to?
Yes. As long as you can show that you have intention to use the trademark in commercial activity in the near future, you can register a trademark.
In fact, the USPTO has an application for that express purpose. It’s called an Intent-To-Use (ITU) trademark application. Fill out that application with a trademark attorney and submit it to the USPTO. You’ll receive a Notice of Allowance (NOA) in response and then you’ll have 6 months to submit your Statement of Use. You may file for an extension if needed. An extension request will give you an additional 6 months to provide the Statement of Use.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Atlanta Businesses
Atlanta has plenty of sunshine, a diverse population, and a bustling downtown area. It’s the perfect location for anyone ready to launch a new business venture.
Most entrepreneurs in the Atlanta area understand the ins and outs of running a successful business. One thing they often overlook, however, is registering their desired trademarks with the USPTO. This could cause serious problems for business owners down the line.
Imagine the following: Edward has been working for landscaping companies for the past 10 years. He’s saved up a good deal of money and is ready to open up his own business. He wants to focus on cultivating native plants and shrubs for homeowners and businesses in Atlanta.
Edward names his company Native Sun Landscaping. He knows that trademark registration is important, but he doesn’t want to spend the time or money on that process at the moment. He just wants to get his business going. He brands his new van with his logo, creates a website, hires some workers, and prints postcards to mail to Atlanta residents.
It doesn’t take long for the calls to start coming in. It’s been just a few months, but Edward’s business is going well and he already has repeat customers.
Unfortunately, Edward’s decision to not pursue trademark registration is about to come back to bite him. As it turns out, there’s another landscape company in the Athens area who calls themselves Native Sons Landscaping, which is very similar to the name of Edward’s business. They are afraid there might be confusion among customers.
The Athens Company owns the trademark to their name, so they have every right to ask Edward to stop doing business and not reopen until he’s rebranded. Had Edward registered his trademark right from the start, this would not be happening.
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 Atlanta and yet it can assist businesses from Georgia in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Atlanta 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.