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Baltimore, Maryland Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal, PLLC started as an auxiliary branch of an international Intellectual Property firm that has provided legal protection to some of the biggest technology companies in the world. Today, Cohn Legal, PLLC is servicing clients in Baltimore, Maryland, the broader Tri-State area, and countries around the globe.
Top 20 Questions Baltimore, Maryland Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
If I Only Provide My Services in Baltimore, Maryland, Can I Still Obtain a Federal Trademark?
This is an excellent question. Ultimately, to obtain a federal trademark, it must be used in “interstate-commerce” meaning that your services must be provided in at least two States. If you are presently only providing your services in Baltimore, Maryland, we can simply file an Intent to Use application; The intent-to-use application allows the applicant to reserve the right to use the trademark once it is ready to be used in inter-state-commerce.
I Have Expanded My Business and Now Serve Customers Outside of Baltimore, Maryland – Can I Now File my Trademark Statement of Use?
Once your trademark is in use in inter-state commerce (meaning that you are selling your products/services to customers outside of the State of Baltimore), you may file a Statement of Use with the USPTO to complete the registration process. If the statement of use is accepted, the USPTO will issue a registration certificate for the trademark. What is a Statement of Use? Simply,
The statement of use must include a verified specimen showing the trademark being used in commerce, the date of the first use of the trademark in commerce, and a description of the goods or services associated with the trademark. The statement of use allows the USPTO to determine if the trademark is being used in compliance with the requirements of the Lanham Act and if it is eligible for registration.
If the statement of use is accepted, the USPTO will issue a registration certificate for the trademark, which provides the owner with exclusive rights to use the mark in connection with the identified goods or services.
As Far As I Know, No Other Businesses in Baltimore Are Using My Name. Do I Need To Conduct A Trademark Search Before Filing My Application?
While there is no mandate that says you must conduct a trademark search before submitting your trademark application, it is undoubtedly wise to do so. Remember, you are about to file a Federal Trademark Application which means that even though no other businesses in Baltimore, Maryland may be using your name, it is possible that your name is in use in other States. A proper trademark search will help uncover any sufficiently similar trademarks, which may block the approval of your desired trademark.
How Long Does The Trademark Application Process Take?
It is important that you file your trademark application as soon as possible in order to obtain the earliest possible filing date.
Once you submit your application, you should hear back from the USPTO within 3 to 6 months. If your trademark is found to be eligible for registration, then it will take about an additional 2 months for it to be fully approved. So the entire process could take 5 to 8 months, roughly.
If your trademark is found to be ineligible for registration, the entire process could take much longer as you address issues that were outlined by the USPTO.
Can I Request An Expedited Approval Of My Trademark Registration?
Generally, you can’t request an expedited approval of your mark. However, are certain circumstances in which the application process can be expedited. Specifically, in matters of litigation, the possibility of trademark infringement, or when there exists a unique need to obtain a U.S. trademark to procure a foreign registration. If any of these scenarios apply to you, then it’s best to consult with a trademark attorney before requesting an expedited review.
What is TEAS?
If you are a Baltimore, Maryland business owner and are ready to file a federal trademark application, you will be using TEAS. TEAS stands for the Trademark Electronic Application System. It is an online system developed by the USPTO that allows applicants to file and manage their trademark applications electronically. The TEAS system offers various application options, including TEAS Plus, TEAS RF (Reduced Fee), and TEAS Regular, each with its own requirements and benefits. TEAS Plus is a streamlined application process that requires the applicant to meet certain strict requirements and includes a lower filing fee than the TEAS Regular option. TEAS RF provides a lower filing fee than the TEAS Regular option but requires the applicant to meet certain additional requirements. The TEAS Regular option offers more flexibility in terms of application requirements but has a higher filing fee than the other options. The TEAS system also allows for online management of trademark applications, including checking the status of an application, submitting responses to Office Actions, and paying maintenance fees.TEAS is easy to use and gives you 60 minutes to complete your application, which should be more than enough time.
What is a trademark Office Action?
If the examining attorney at the USPTO decides that your desired trademark is ineligible for registration, or if the examiner requires additional information before deciding on the mark’s eligibility you will receive an Office Action. A trademark office action is a written communication from the trademark examining attorney at the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to the applicant of a trademark application. The office action notifies the applicant of any issues or objections that the examining attorney has with the application.
An Office Action lists the reasons that your trademark application was rejected, which may include:
- Amendment of the identification of goods/services in an application required
- Substitute specimen required
- Likelihood of confusion
- Descriptiveness or misdescriptiveness
- Geographic significance
There are two types of trademark office actions: non-final and final. A non-final office action identifies any issues or objections that the examining attorney has with the application and provides the applicant with an opportunity to address and resolve these issues. The applicant must respond to the non-final office action within six months of the date of issuance.
What Should I Do If I Receive An Office Action On My Trademark Application?
If you receive an Office Action, then contact a trademark attorney. Office Actions can be complicated and your trademark lawyer will help you determine the exact nature of the Office Action and what to do about it. If the issues are substantive, then your trademark attorney will need to draft a legal argument addressing the issues raised in the Office Action. If you decide to pursue your Office Action, one of our Baltimore Trademark Lawyers will will draft a response and send it to you for your review and approval. It will then be submitted to the USPTO within the allotted time to respond. If the examining attorney is satisfied with the applicant’s response to the non-final office action, the application may be approved for publication. However, if the issues or objections are not resolved to the examining attorney’s satisfaction, a final office action may be issued. A final office action is issued when the examining attorney determines that the applicant’s response to the non-final office action is insufficient or the issues or objections are not resolvable. The final office action is a final rejection of the trademark application, and the applicant must respond within six months or the application will be abandoned.
Is There A Difference Between a Trademark and a Service Mark?
This is quite a common question, and ultimately, the answer is that there’s not much difference. A trademark is a word, logo, slogan, sound, and/or design that when attached to a product, enables a consumer to identify the company which produces the product. A service mark is a word, logo, slogan, sound, and/or design that when attached to a service, enables a consumer to identify the company which produces the service. Thus, depending on what type of Baltimore, Maryland business you are and the nature of the goods/services that you are selling, you mark will either be a “trade mark” or “service mark”.
How Can I Determine If a Trademark Is Available?
A comprehensive trademark search is recommended to determine if a mark is available. This search involves reviewing existing registrations, pending applications, and common law usage to assess potential conflicts.
What Is A Trademark Clearance Search?
A trademark clearance search is conducted to determine the availability of a proposed mark before filing a trademark application. It helps identify potential conflicts with existing marks.
What Is The Official Gazette?
In the context of the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), the Official Gazette is a weekly publication that contains information related to trademarks and patents. Specifically, the Trademark Official Gazette is published every Tuesday and includes information about newly registered trademarks, trademarks that have been renewed, and trademarks that are available for opposition. The Trademark Official Gazette serves as a public notice of new and renewed trademarks, providing the public with an opportunity to oppose a trademark registration if they believe it may cause confusion with their own trademark. Once a trademark is published in the Official Gazette, interested parties have 30 days to file an opposition. In addition to information about trademark registrations, the Trademark Official Gazette may also contain other information related to trademark law and practice, including changes to trademark rules and procedures, notices of public meetings, and other announcements. The Patent Official Gazette, on the other hand, is published every Tuesday and contains information related to patents, including notices of new patents, patent reexaminations, and patent assignments. Both the Trademark Official Gazette and the Patent Official Gazette are important resources for anyone involved in trademark or patent law, including attorneys, applicants, and trademark or patent owners.
What is a Trademark’s Specimen?
A specimen is a sample of how you intend to use your trademark that you submit to the USPTO as part of your trademark application. It is submitted as part of a trademark application to the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) and serves as evidence that the trademark is being used in connection with the goods or services listed in the application. The purpose of the trademark specimen is to demonstrate to the USPTO that the trademark is being used in a way that identifies and distinguishes the applicant’s goods or services from those of others. The specimen must show the trademark in actual use, and not just in a mock-up or drawing. The type of specimen that is required depends on the nature of the goods or services for which the trademark is being used. For example, if the trademark is being used in connection with a physical product, a specimen may be a photograph or a label showing the trademark affixed to the product. If the trademark is being used in connection with a service, the specimen may be a brochure or advertisement that shows the trademark being used to promote the service. If you’re unsure what you should submit, then consult a Baltimore trademark attorney.
Can I Use A Trademark Without Registering It?
Yes, you can use a trademark without registering it. Trademark rights can be established through common law by simply using the mark in commerce to identify your goods or services. This is known as “common law” or “unregistered” trademark rights.
When you use a trademark in connection with your business, you automatically gain certain rights to that mark in the geographic areas where you are using it. These common law rights can provide you with some level of protection against others using a similar or confusingly similar mark in the same geographic area.
However, relying solely on common law rights has limitations compared to registering your trademark. Here are some key points to consider:
1. Limited Geographic Protection: Common law rights typically only extend to the specific geographic area where you are using the mark. This means that others could potentially use the same or similar mark in different geographic regions without infringing on your rights.
2. Burden of Proof: With common law rights, the burden of proving ownership and priority of use falls on you if any legal disputes arise. This can be more challenging compared to having a registered trademark, where the registration serves as strong evidence of ownership and priority.
3. Weaker Enforcement: Enforcing common law rights may be more difficult and costly compared to enforcing registered trademarks. Without federal registration, you may face challenges when trying to stop others from using a confusingly similar mark, especially in different jurisdictions.
4. Missed Benefits: Registering your trademark with the appropriate trademark office, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the United States, provides additional benefits such as nationwide protection, legal presumptions of ownership and validity, and the ability to use the ® symbol.
While common law rights can provide some level of protection, registering your trademark offers stronger and broader protection, especially if you plan to expand your business, operate in multiple states, or want to safeguard your rights more effectively.
It’s important to consult with an intellectual property attorney to assess your specific situation and determine the best approach for protecting your trademark based on your goals, budget, and business considerations.
Can I Trademark a Phrase?
Yes, you can trademark a phrase in the English language. Trademarks can be used to protect words, phrases, slogans, or catchphrases that uniquely identify your brand, products, or services.
To successfully trademark a phrase, it must meet certain criteria:
1. Distinctiveness: The phrase should be distinctive and capable of identifying the source of your goods or services. It should not be a common or generic phrase that is used widely in the industry.
2. Non-descriptiveness: The phrase should not merely describe the goods or services it represents. It should go beyond ordinary or descriptive language and have a unique and recognizable character.
3. Secondary meaning: If the phrase is initially descriptive or lacks inherent distinctiveness, it may still be eligible for trademark protection if it has acquired a secondary meaning. This means that the phrase has become strongly associated with your specific goods or services in the minds of consumers.
4. Lawful use: The phrase should not be illegal, offensive, or against public policy. It should not promote illegal activities or violate any regulations.
Before applying for a trademark, it is advisable to conduct a comprehensive search to ensure that the phrase is not already in use or registered by someone else in a similar context. This search helps to avoid potential conflicts and the rejection of your application.
To officially register a trademark for a phrase, you will need to file an application with the appropriate trademark office in your jurisdiction, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the United States. The application process typically involves providing information about the phrase, its intended use, and paying the necessary fees. It can be beneficial to consult with a trademark attorney to ensure a smooth application process and maximize your chances of successful registration.
Please note that trademark laws and procedures can vary by country, so it is important to consult the specific regulations and requirements of your jurisdiction for accurate guidance on trademarking a phrase.
Can I Trademark a Logo?
Yes, you can trademark a logo. Trademark protection can be extended to logos, symbols, designs, and other visual elements that uniquely represent your business, product, or service.
To successfully trademark a logo, it must meet certain criteria:
1. Distinctiveness: The logo should be unique and distinguishable from other logos in your industry or market. It should be capable of identifying the source of your goods or services.
2. Non-generic: The logo should not be a generic or common design that is commonly used to represent the goods or services you offer. It should have a level of creativity and originality that sets it apart.
3. Non-confusing: The logo should not cause confusion with existing trademarks or logos. It should not be similar to any registered or pending trademarks in your industry that may create confusion among consumers.
4. Lawful use: The logo should not include any illegal or offensive elements. It should not violate any copyrights, infringe on existing trademarks, or promote illegal activities.
To officially register a trademark for your logo, you will need to file a trademark application with the appropriate trademark office in your jurisdiction, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the United States. The application process generally involves providing information about the logo, its intended use, and paying the required fees. It is often recommended to seek the guidance of a trademark attorney to navigate the process effectively.
Please note that trademark laws and regulations can vary by country, so it is important to consult the specific laws and requirements of your jurisdiction for accurate guidance on trademarking a logo.
Can I Trademark A Color?
Yes, it is possible to trademark a color under certain circumstances. However, obtaining a trademark for a color can be more challenging than for other traditional trademarks such as words, phrases, or logos.
In order to successfully trademark a color, you need to demonstrate that the color has acquired “secondary meaning” in the context of your specific industry. Secondary meaning means that consumers associate the color with your brand or product, distinguishing it from others in the marketplace.
To establish secondary meaning, you must provide evidence that the color has been extensively used in connection with your goods or services, and that consumers have come to recognize and associate the color exclusively with your brand. This can include factors such as long and exclusive use of the color, extensive advertising and promotion, consumer surveys showing brand recognition, and any other evidence that supports the distinctiveness of the color in the marketplace.
It’s worth noting that obtaining a trademark for a color is generally more difficult than for other types of trademarks, and the level of distinctiveness required is higher. In many cases, color trademarks are granted in conjunction with other elements, such as a specific color used in a unique combination with a particular shape or design.
If you are considering trademarking a color, it is advisable to consult with an intellectual property attorney who can guide you through the process, help assess the distinctiveness of the color in your specific industry, and gather the necessary evidence to support your application.
Please keep in mind that trademark laws and regulations can vary by country, so it is important to consult the specific laws and requirements of your jurisdiction for accurate guidance on trademarking a color.
Can I Transfer My Trademark To Someone Else?
Yes, you can transfer your trademark to someone else through a process called trademark assignment. Trademark assignment involves transferring the ownership rights of a trademark from one party (assignor) to another party (assignee).
Here are the key points to consider when transferring your trademark:
1. Agreement: Both the assignor and assignee must enter into a written agreement that clearly outlines the terms and conditions of the trademark transfer. This agreement should include details such as the specific trademark being transferred, the rights and obligations of both parties, any financial considerations involved, and any other relevant terms.
2. Recordation: To make the transfer of ownership official, it is advisable to record the trademark assignment with the appropriate trademark office in your jurisdiction. In the United States, for example, you would record the assignment with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Recording the assignment creates a public record of the change in ownership and helps protect the rights of the new owner.
3. Assignee’s Eligibility: The assignee should meet the eligibility requirements to own and use the trademark. It is essential to ensure that the assignee has the legal capacity and rights to hold and enforce the trademark.
4. Goodwill and Assets: In a trademark assignment, the goodwill associated with the mark is often transferred along with the trademark. This means that the reputation and positive associations built around the mark are also passed on to the new owner.
It is advisable to consult with an intellectual property attorney to ensure that the trademark assignment is conducted correctly and in compliance with the laws and regulations of your jurisdiction. They can help you draft the necessary agreements, guide you through the recording process, and ensure that all legal requirements are met.
Please note that trademark laws and procedures can vary by country, so it is important to consult the specific laws and requirements of your jurisdiction when transferring a trademark to someone else.
Can I License My Trademark To Others?
Yes, you can license your trademark to others. Trademark licensing is a common practice where the owner of a trademark (licensor) grants permission to another party (licensee) to use the trademark in connection with specific goods or services. By licensing your trademark, you can generate additional revenue streams and expand the reach of your brand.
When licensing your trademark, it’s important to establish a formal licensing agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the arrangement. The agreement should include provisions such as:
1. Scope of the license: Clearly define the scope of the license, including the specific goods or services for which the licensee can use the trademark. You can grant an exclusive license (sole rights to use the trademark within a certain market or territory) or a non-exclusive license (allowing multiple licensees to use the trademark).
2. Quality control: Maintain control over the quality of the goods or services bearing your trademark. Specify the quality standards that the licensee must meet and include provisions for monitoring and enforcing these standards.
3. Duration and termination: Define the duration of the license agreement and the conditions under which either party can terminate the agreement. This may include situations where the licensee fails to meet quality standards or breaches the terms of the agreement.
4. Royalties and fees: Determine the financial aspects of the license, such as the royalties or fees the licensee must pay for the right to use your trademark. Specify the payment terms, frequency, and any other financial arrangements.
It’s advisable to consult with an intellectual property attorney when drafting a trademark licensing agreement to ensure that it complies with the relevant laws and adequately protects your rights as the trademark owner.
Remember that trademark licensing does not transfer ownership of the trademark itself. You retain ownership of the trademark while granting others the right to use it under specified conditions.
Please note that trademark laws and regulations can vary by country, so it is important to consult the specific laws and requirements of your jurisdiction when licensing your trademark to others.
How Do I Enforce My Trademark Rights?
To enforce your trademark rights, there are several steps you can take:
1. Monitoring: Regularly monitor the marketplace to identify any unauthorized use or potential infringement of your trademark. This can involve conducting online searches, monitoring industry publications, and keeping an eye on competitors’ activities.
2. Documentation: Maintain thorough documentation of your trademark, including evidence of its use in commerce, registration certificates, licensing agreements, and any other relevant documentation that establishes your ownership and the validity of your trademark.
3. Cease and Desist Letter: If you discover unauthorized use or infringement of your trademark, consider sending a cease and desist letter to the infringing party. The letter should clearly state your rights, provide evidence of infringement, and demand that they stop using the trademark. It may also request a response within a specified timeframe.
4. Negotiation and Settlement: In some cases, it may be possible to resolve the matter through negotiation and settlement. This could involve reaching a licensing agreement, modifying the infringing party’s use of the trademark, or reaching a financial settlement. Consult with an intellectual property attorney to guide you through this process.
5. Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution: If negotiations fail, you may consider mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve the trademark dispute outside of court. This can be a less formal and cost-effective way to seek a resolution.
6. Litigation: If all other methods fail or the infringement is significant, you may choose to file a lawsuit to enforce your trademark rights. Consult with an intellectual property attorney to assess the strength of your case and determine the best course of action. Litigation can involve gathering evidence, presenting arguments, and seeking injunctive relief, damages, or other appropriate remedies in court.
It is crucial to consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney who specializes in trademark law to guide you through the enforcement process. They can provide legal advice, assist in gathering evidence, and represent your interests in negotiations or legal proceedings.
Please note that the enforcement procedures and laws can vary by country, so it is important to consult the specific laws and requirements of your jurisdiction when enforcing your trademark rights.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Baltimore Businesses
The economy is booming in Baltimore, which makes it a great place to open a new business. If you’re an entrepreneur in the Baltimore area, make sure you don’t overlook trademark registration. It’s perhaps the most important step you can take to protect your brand and your business. Imagine the following: Penny decides to open up a paint your own pottery studio in downtown Baltimore. There’s nothing like it in town and she thinks it could be very popular. She envisions herself teaching classes, hosting kids’ birthday parties and just letting people explore their creative side.
She chooses the name Paint with Penny as the name of her studio. She Googles the name and sees that there are no other studios with that name in Maryland. Feeling excited, she gets to work.
Penny leases studio space, invests in signage, creates a website, and even orders smocks featuring her logo. Finally, the day of her grand opening arrives.
Penny’s business is quite successful at first. She’s booking several parties each weekend and hosting adult classes during the week. She’s seriously considering hiring some help when she gets some disappointing news. Penny receives a cease-and-desist letter in the mail.
A small arts and crafts manufacturer in Virginia Beach has a line of paints called Paints by Penny. They’ve trademarked the name and believe that the name of Penny’s studio, Paint with Penny, is too similar to the name of their product. Penny will have to close her shop and not reopen until she renames her business, which will be an expensive undertaking,
If you are starting a new business venture, then trademark registration should be your top priority. Never rely on a Google search to see if the name you want for your business is available.
If you have questions about trademark registration, then contact the attorneys at Cohn Legal for a no-cost trademark consultation.
** Cohn Legal, PLLC provides trademark services to businesses all of the united States and can assist businesses from Maryland in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Baltimore 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.