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Boston, Massachusetts Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal, PLLC is proud to announce the opening of a brand new office right outside of downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Cohn Legal, PLLC is dedicated to protecting our clients’ trademarks and intellectual property and is proud to serve clients in and throughout the United States and around the world. Our trademark attorneys work with clients throughout New England. Our number one goal is to help you succeed and guide you through the process of obtaining federal and/or state trademark protection for your brand assets.
Top Questions Boston, Massachusetts Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
How Does Registering My Trademark Protect My Boston Business?
A registered trademark comes with valuable protections for your business including the presumption of nationwide validity. Nationwide validity means that your mark is protected from infringement in all 50 states. If you find that a third party is using your mark or something similar, you’ll have the right to take legal action.
How Long Does It Take To Register A Trademark?
It can take anywhere from 8 to 10 months to get your trademark approved by the USPTO. In some cases, the process can take more than a year. Fortunately, you gain some protections the day you submit your application, which is your “Priority Date”; Anyone who submits a similar trademark for a similar set of goods/services after your application date will have their trademark halted due to your prior filing. Here are some key milestones that can influence the overall time frame:
Here are some key milestones that can influence the overall time frame:
Initial application review: After submitting your trademark application, the trademark office will conduct an initial review to check for completeness and compliance with formal requirements. This review typically takes a around 6 months.
- Examination and publication: The trademark office will examine your application to determine if it meets the legal requirements for registration. This examination process involves assessing the distinctiveness of the mark and checking for any conflicts with existing trademarks. The duration of this stage can vary significantly depending on the backlog of applications and the complexity of the examination process.
- Publication for opposition: Once your trademark application passes the examination, it will be published in an official gazette or publication. This publication allows third parties to oppose the registration if they believe it conflicts with their existing rights. The opposition period can range from 30 days to several months, depending on the jurisdiction.
- Registration or further actions: If no oppositions or objections are raised during the opposition period, the trademark office will proceed with the registration process. This may involve additional administrative steps, such as paying registration fees, providing additional documentation, or responding to office actions. The duration of this stage can vary, but it often takes several months.
It’s worth noting that the timeline can be influenced by various factors, such as the complexity of your mark, the number of applications being processed by the trademark office, and any objections or oppositions that may arise. It’s essential to monitor the progress of your application, respond promptly to any requests or objections from the trademark office, and maintain open communication with your Boston Trademark Lawyer to expedite the registration process.
Is There a Difference Between a Trademark and a Service Mark?
There’s not much of a difference between a trademark and a service mark. A trademark is a word, logo, slogan, sound, or design that helps consumers identify the company behind a product. A service mark is similar, but it’s used to identify the company providing a service. Depending on the nature of your business in Boston, Massachusetts, and the goods or services you offer, you’ll either have a “trademark” or a “service mark.”
How Can I Find Out If a Trademark is Available?
To determine if a mark is available, it’s recommended to conduct a comprehensive trademark search. This involves reviewing existing registrations, pending applications, and common law usage to identify any potential conflicts.
Can I Use a Trademark Without Registering It?
To find out if a trademark is available, you can conduct a comprehensive trademark search. The purpose of the search is to determine if there are any existing trademarks that are similar or identical to the one you intend to use or register. Here are several steps you can take to conduct a trademark search:
- Online database search: Start by searching the trademark databases maintained by the intellectual property offices or trademark registries in the relevant jurisdiction. Many countries have online trademark databases that allow you to search for registered trademarks. Examples include the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) database, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) database. These databases can help you identify if a similar or identical trademark already exists.
- General internet search: Perform a general internet search using search engines to look for any unregistered or common law trademarks that may not be listed in official databases. This search can help you identify unregistered trademarks that may have acquired some level of protection through use.
- Professional trademark search services: Consider utilizing professional trademark search services or hiring an intellectual property attorney with expertise in trademark law. These services often have access to comprehensive trademark databases and specialized search tools to conduct in-depth searches. They can provide you with a detailed analysis of potential conflicts and help you make informed decisions about the availability of your desired trademark.
- Consultation with a Boston Trademark Attorney: It’s advisable to consult with a qualified intellectual property attorney who can guide you through the trademark search process and provide legal advice based on their expertise. They can help assess the search results, interpret the potential risks or conflicts, and advise you on the availability of your desired trademark.
Should I Hire a Trademark Attorney to Help Me Register my Trademark?
Whether or not you are required to hire an attorney depends on where you live.
If you’re living outside of the United States, then the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) actually requires that you hire an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the United States to represent you.
If you are living in the United States, then you aren’t required to hire a trademark attorney. However, it’s strongly recommended that you do hire an attorney who specializes in trademark law even if you do live within the United States. This is because your attorney will conduct a robust trademark search to ensure your mark isn’t too similar to an existing mark. In addition, your application will be submitted completely and accurately and will be more likely to move through the approval process more quickly.
What is TEAS used for?
TEAS is the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). This online portal enables you to quickly and easily submit your trademark application and other documents to the USPTO. You can also use this system to pay USPTO fees by using a credit card, electronic funds transfer, or through an existing USPTO deposit account.
What does the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board do?
The purpose of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) is to help resolve certain conflicts that may arise between trademark owners. For example, the TTAB will intervene if:
– One party believes another party’s existing or pending trademark will harm their business and should be canceled.
– A party wants to appeal an examining attorney’s decision to reject their trademark application.
TTAB proceedings have specific procedures and time-sensitive deadlines that must be adhered to. It’s in your best interest to hire a trademark attorney to assist you. A trademark attorney can guide you through TTAB proceedings and settle the dispute while keeping your best interests in mind.
Does My Business Need More Than One Trademark?
Most businesses do require more than one trademark. For example, you may want to trademark the name of your business, your logo, and the name of a product or service you offer. Speak to the trademark attorneys at Cohn Legal for advice on what pieces of intellectual property you should trademark.
Can I Submit a Trademark Application Prior To Selling Any Products or Services?
You can submit a trademark application before you’re ready to bring your products or services to market. You would just need to indicate that you are filing your application on an “intent to use” basis. This tells the USPTO that you intend to use the mark, but aren’t ready to yet.
If the trademark application is approved, then you’ll receive a Notice of Allowance (NOA) from the USPTO. That means you’ll have 6 months to either provide proof to the USPTO that you are using your trademark in commerce or request a 6-month extension. You are allowed up to 5 extension requests.
Is It Advisable To Register My Trademark Before My Company Is A “Success”?
Trademark registration needs to happen prior to your business becoming a success because at that point, it will be too late. Remember; the goal is to protect your brand before it becomes a target for theft by your competitors. If you wait until your business is a success, you may find that you’re infringing on an existing trademark or worse, that your competitors have preemptively registered your mark in a bid to push you out of the market.
Can I Trademark a Phrase?
Yes, it’s possible to trademark a phrase if it meets certain criteria. For a phrase to be eligible for trademark protection, it must be distinctive and used in commerce to distinguish the source of goods or services. If the phrase is too common, like “I Love Boston,” it won’t serve as a unique “source identifier” and cannot be trademarked.
Can I Trademark a Logo?
Yes, you can protect your logo with a trademark. To do so, you’ll need to file a trademark application with the USPTO. The application process usually involves submitting a description of the logo, the actual logo in JPG format, evidence of its use in commerce, and paying a filing fee.
Can I Transfer My Trademark to Someone Else?
Yes, it is possible to transfer ownership of a trademark to someone else. The transfer of a trademark is typically accomplished through a process called trademark assignment. The assignment involves the transfer of all rights, title, and interest in the trademark from the current owner (assignor) to another individual or entity (assignee).
To transfer your trademark, you would need to follow certain steps. Here are some general guidelines:
- Verify eligibility: Ensure that you have the legal right to transfer the trademark. You should be the registered owner of the trademark or have the appropriate authorization to transfer it.
- Review legal requirements: Familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations governing trademark assignments in your jurisdiction. It’s advisable to consult an intellectual property attorney to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.
- Draft a trademark assignment agreement: Prepare a written agreement that outlines the terms of the trademark transfer. This agreement should clearly state the details of the assignment, including the assignor, assignee, the trademark being transferred, and any conditions or limitations associated with the transfer.
- Seek professional advice: It’s recommended to consult with an intellectual property attorney or a trademark professional who can assist you throughout the process. They can help ensure that the transfer is properly executed and all necessary documentation is in order.
- Execute the assignment: Both parties (assignor and assignee) should sign the trademark assignment agreement. It’s crucial to keep a record of this document, as it serves as evidence of the transfer.
- File the trademark assignment recordation or with the trademark assignment division of the USPTO, making sure to provide the required documentation, including the assignment agreement.
It’s important to note that the specific procedures and requirements for transferring a trademark are rigorously enforced, so please speak with one of our Boston Trademark Lawyers to ensure a smooth and valid transfer of your trademark.
Can I License My Trademark To Others?
Yes, trademark owners can grant licenses to others, giving them permission to use the mark under specific conditions while retaining ownership and control. Licensing agreements outline the terms and conditions of the license, such as the scope of use, quality standards, royalties or fees, and other relevant details.
Should I Register My Trademark In My State Or Should I Register It With The USPTO?
It is undoubtedly preferable for a brand owner to have a Federal Trademark, which provides protection for one’s brand across the entire United States. To obtain a Federal Trademark, one should apply for registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, if you are a Boston business owner who only intends to sell your services in the State of Massachusetts, your trademark would not be eligible for Federal protection and instead, it would be prudent to seek trademark registration in the State of Massachusetts.
What is TEAS?
The USPTO offers an option for you to submit your trademark application online using TEAS. TEAS stands for the Trademark Electronic Application System. TEAS is easy to use and available 24/7. You can also pay your application fees through TEAS.
What Is a Trademark Office Action?
One of the more frustrating aspects of the trademark registration process is receiving a trademark refusal from the United States and Patent Office (USPTO). You’ve no doubt done a lot of work to complete your application, so receiving a notice of refusal can be disappointing. If your trademark application is rejected, then you’ll receive an Office Action from the USPTO. An Office Action lists the reasons that your trademark application was rejected and is typically issued for one of the following reasons:
Refusal #1 – Descriptiveness
The USPTO may refuse to register your trademark if they deem it to be too “Descriptive” of the products/services sold under the banner of your trademark. Specifically, if your prospective trademark uses words or phrases that describe a quality or characteristic of the good or service that you are providing, the mark cannot function as a brand identifier and therefore is ineligible for trademark protection. For example, if someone tried to trademark the name “Steamy Hot” for their brand of Shower faucets, it would be refused. Those words are simply describing characteristics of all shower faucets and it would be improper for one shower utility business to have the exclusive right to those words.
If your mark is rejected for being “Merely descriptive“, please contact one of our trademark attorney who may be able to come up with a solution. For example, simply adding a unique word before or after the descriptive words can distinguish the mark so that it serves as a true brand identifier.
Refusal #2 – Failure to Function
Another common reason that the USPTO may refuse your mark is because of what is known as a failure to function. This means, your desired trademark is not capable of identifying a specific product or service.
Examples of phrases that fail to function as trademarks may be “drive safely” or “give thanks.” Consumers would more likely see these as social messages and not necessarily associate them with a product or service. Remember, the USPTO wants to see trademarks that are unique and identifiable.
Then again, one of the most successful trademarked phrases in advertising history is “Just Do It” by Nike. So, it is certainly possible to trademark a common phrase in the right circumstances. Just be sure to talk to your trademark attorney first.
Refusal #3 – Likelihood of Confusion
Receiving a trademark refusal on the basis of likelihood of confusion means that your mark is too similar to an existing registered mark. What’s so frustrating about this type of refusal is that it is entirely subjective. One person may see two logos as similar whereas someone else may seem them as distinct from one another.
To reduce the risk of receiving this type of rejection from the USPTO, be sure to conduct a knockout search prior to submitting your application. This search of the USPTO records will pull up any marks similar to yours. If you find a mark that similar to yours, then your best bet is to come up with a new mark or alter yours significantly enough so that it is unique.
The Difference Between First Refusal and Final Refusals
The first refusal from the USPTO is just that, a first refusal. You will have the opportunity to argue your case to try to get them to overturn the decision. Be sure to give it your best shot because the first response is typically the most likely to be accepted by the examining attorney (at least as an anecdotal matter).
If you get a final refusal from the USPTO then that means they consider the case closed and there’s little chance of having the decision overturned. You have the right to appeal the decision of course, but your chance of success is low and there may be other strategies to consider that may yield better results.
Contact a trademark attorney as soon as possible if you receive an Office Action. Understanding why your mark was rejected will help you plan an effective strategy to overcome the USPTO’s decision and your attorney can advise you on what to do next and draft a response to the USPTO if needed.
Can I Request An Expedited Approval Of My Trademark Registration?
In general, you can’t request expedited approval of your application, which is why you should submit your trademark application as soon as you can.
However, are certain circumstances in which the USPTO will allow the application process to be expedited. You can request an expedited application process in matters of litigation, when there’s the possibility of trademark infringement, or when there exists a need to get a U.S. trademark to obtain a registration in a foreign country. Keep in mind, however, that even in these special circumstances, the process will take 5 or 6 months as opposed to 8 or 10.
If you think that any of these scenarios apply to you, and you want to apply for expedited processing, then it’s best to consult with a trademark attorney who can advise you on what steps you should take.
What is the Official Gazette?
The Official Gazette (OG) is a USPTO publication that comes out every Tuesday. It includes information about trademarks that have been approved. Once a trademark is published in the OG, a third party has 30 days to come forward and oppose the trademark. If no one opposes the mark, then it is officially registered.
What Is A Specimen?
A specimen is a sample of how you intend to use your trademark. The USPTO will accept product labels, signage, packaging, flyers, brochures, website screenshots, etc. as specimens. Consult a trademark attorney if you are unsure about what you should submit as a specimen.
Remember, depending on the nature of the product/service sold under the banner of the trademark, a different type of “Specimen” will be deemed appropriate or inappropriate to satisfy the Use in Commerce requirement. This is of course quite intuitive; an accountant would necessarily advertise his services in a different manner than a boutique guitar manufacturer and one could certainly imagine that the Specimen each respective seller would have would look quite different.
Today, e-commerce and online marketplaces are the norm and as businesses continue to develop digital platforms to sell their products, the nature of the Specimens required to illustrate Use in Commerce will evolve accordingly. While submitting “web specimens” to the USPTO may seem simple, there are plenty of opportunities to make errors that can delay the registration or renewal of your trademark. Let’s look at some of the most common errors business owners make when submitting web specimens and how to avoid them.
What Are the Requirements for Acceptable Web Specimens?
Let’s say you want to include a link to a webpage, or a screen shot of a webpage as your specimen. If so, then you must be sure to:
- Include a description and/or a picture of the product.
- Clearly show your trademark in association with the product.
- Give a clear and obvious method for consumers to purchase the product.
These may not seem like difficult requirements for trademark applicants to meet, but many web specimens submitted to the USPTO are not accepted.
common errors business owners make when submitting web specimens and how to avoid them.
Under what Circumstances are Web Specimens Rejected by the USPTO?
Here are some common reasons why a web specimen may fail:
- The mark is not prominent enough: The USPTO wants to see that the mark is prominently displayed on the page. To help your mark stand out, make sure it’s a different color than surrounding text and/or appears in bold or italic fonts. You may boost the size of your mark on the page and use the TM symbol with your mark as well.
- The mark is not close enough to the products: Your trademark should appear in close proximity to the products displayed on the page. The USPTO won’t accept the web specimen if your mark appears on the page, but not near any products it is associated with.
- Insufficient ordering information. Another reason why a web specimen may be rejected is that there is no clear and obvious way for a consumer to order the goods. The USPTO wants to see a phone number to call and place an order, a link or tab with the text “Shop Online” or “Buy Now,” or a shopping cart icon. Without those obvious ordering cues, your web specimen will be rejected.
Need help with your specimen? Speak to one of our trademark attorneys.
What’s The Difference Between a Live Trademark and a Dead Trademark?
Perhaps the best thing about the USPTO is its online Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), which is fully transparent and available for anyone to access in order to search and analyze existing trademark applications. One thing you’ll see when searching for a given term is that relevant trademarks (displayed in the search results) will be identified as either LIVE or DEAD. These are critical identifications and should undoubtedly be considered when deciding whether or not to pursue your given mark (LIVE means tread carefully whereas DEAD means tread less carefully:)).
As you might already assume, a live trademark is one that is still active and recognized by the USPTO as a in contention for protection. You can infer that an entity with a live trademark has stayed on top of their renewal and maintenance documents. However, don’t be confused. The mere Live label does not necessarily mean that a trademark is Registered – Instead, the designation simply means that it has not gone Abandoned and is still minimally under review by the USPTO for prospective registration.
Why this matters is that if you apply for a mark that is too similar to an existing Live application, your mark might very well be rejected on a 2(d) likelihood of confusion claim. Be sure to always conduct a knockout search of all live trademarks before you submit your trademark application. That way, you can amend your application (hopefully by sufficiently changing the mark itself) to distinguish it from the Live mark in question.
“Live trademarks” do not stay Live forever and if the Applicant does not take the necessary steps to preserve the integrity of the mark (filing a statement of use, answering an office action, submitting post-registration renewal documents etc.) the mark may expire. Please keep an eye on the renewal dates of any trademark that you might think will block the registration of your mark. You may find that the mark has expired, clearing the way for you to submit your application.
Dead trademarks, on the other hand, are ones that have been allowed to expire, have been abandoned, or have been canceled outright by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). In some instances, dead trademark applications occur because the applicant did not try, or failed to overturn an application rejection.
Trademarks that are considered dead don’t pose any threat to pending trademark applications. However, finding out exactly how and why a trademark application or registration died can help you make sure that you don’t make similar mistakes when filing your application. Did the trademark owner fail to submit renewal documents? Was the trademark deemed to be merely descriptive or too generic? Was there a likelihood of confusion rejection which the applicant did not respond to and instead simply let the mark go abandoned? Understanding why other marks have gone abandoned, and are therefore now Dead, is a powerful strategy to anticipate issues that you may come across in submitting your own application.
Pay attention to the date of expiration! Just because a trademark is listed as dead with the USPTO, there is still a possibility that the trademark owner is still using it and may in fact still resurrect the dead mark if done in time!
Are Foreign Trademark Applicants Required to Use U.S.-based Trademark Attorneys?
Unfortunately, the USPTO has had to deal with quite a bit of fraudulent activity (at least historically) from foreign applicants and ultimately felt that it did not have sufficient control over the trademark application process from foreign applicants to allow independent representation and/or foreign representation. Thus, the USPTO has implemented a new rule requiring all foreign trademark applicants to undertake representation by US licensed trademark attorneys. Indeed, the new rule requires any foreign-domiciled trademark applicant who wishes to conduct business with the USPTO to be represented by an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the United States (minimally licensed to practice in one of the US’s 50 States). This has been the requirement of the USPTO since August of 2019. You might now very well be wondering, how does the USPTO know who is and who is not a “Foreign Applicant”? Very good question. To understand the living arrangements (and therefore domicile status) of each trademark applicant, the USPTO requires all trademark applicants and indeed even pre-existing registrants to provide their domicile address.
When precisely is this rule triggered? The activities that require a foreign entity to be represented by a U.S. attorney include:
- Submitting trademark applications
- Submitting maintenance documents
- Responding to Office Actions
- Opposing pending trademarks
- Appearing before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB)
This rule also applies to foreign domiciled applicants submitting Madrid Protocol applications that designate the U.S. In addition, if a foreign entity submitted their application prior to August of 2019, that entity will need to hire a U.S.-based attorney for any future interactions with the USPTO.
How is a Foreign-Domiciled Trademark Applicant Defined?
According to the USPTO, a foreign-domiciled applicant is defined as:
- A person with a permanent home address outside of the United States and the territories of the United States (e.g., Guam, Puerto Rico).
- An entity whose permanent place of business is outside of the United States and the territories of the United States.
Why Does the USPTO Require Foreign Applicants to Be Represented by U.S. Licensed Attorneys?
As mentioned, the USPTO was receiving many fraudulant filings with fraudulant Statements of Use and returning the power to US attorneys to file these applications gives the USPTO (supposedly) greater control over the process. Similarly, by requiring US Attorneys to represent foreign applicants, the idea is that the actual quality of the trademark applications and filings submitted would be higher and in greater conformity with US trademark law. Prior to the requirement, foreign trademark filings were typically submitted by non-attorneys or attorneys licensed to practice law in other countries, but not the U.S. As a result, submissions were often submitted inaccurately or with errors, which caused delays throughout the system.
By requiring a foreign entity to hire a U.S.-licensed attorney, the USPTO can be sure that any filings will be reviewed and prepared by someone who understands U.S. law. Although a foreign applicant may hire any U.S.-licensed attorney, it should be noted that the USPTO highly recommends that foreign applicants hire U.S.-based attorneys who specifically practice trademark law.
What Specific Information Must a U.S.-Based Attorney Include in Trademark Filings?
Any U.S-based attorney who submits documents or filings to the USPTO should be sure to include:
- The Attorney’s name
- The Attorney’s mailing address and email address
- A statement from the highest court of a U.S. state that declares the attorney is an active member of the bar in that state
- A state bar number and year of admission into the bar
Can Foreign Entitles Hire a U.S.-Based Patent Agent?
It depends. While a U.S. based patent attorney can represent foreign entities before the USPTO in both trademark application and patent application matters, patent agents are not necessarily licensed to practice law and therefore are ineligible to assist with trademark filings or appearances before the TTAB. Similarly, Canadian patent agents ar eno longer permitted to represent a Canadian trademark applicant and must assign power of attorney to a US licensed attorney.
Can Foreign Entitles Hire a U.S.-Based Patent Agent?
It depends. While a U.S. based patent attorney can represent foreign entities before the USPTO in both trademark application and patent application matters, patent agents are not necessarily licensed to practice law and therefore are ineligible to assist with trademark filings or appearances before the TTAB.
What is a Trademark Power of Attorney and When Do I Need One?
A trademark Power of Attorney (POA) is a specific designation that is required in a select few circumstances in the world of trademark law. When it is required, only individuals who have the appropriate authority may sign the POA. Let’s look deeper into the nuances surrounding POAs including when and when you do not need one.
Anytime a U.S. attorney has acted in a legal capacity in regard to a trademark registration, they are listed as the attorney of record for that particular registration. If the owner of the registration wishes to retain the services of another attorney to take action on that trademark registration, then a trademark POA will be required by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Once a POA has been filed to revoke power from the previous attorney, new counsel may immediately act on behalf of their client with regards to the trademark. New counsel does not have to wait for the new POA to be processed by the USPTO before representing their client.
For example, if attorney A helped you file your trademark application, but you wanted attorney B to respond to an Office Action, then you would file a Power of Attorney to revoke attorney A of power, and attorney B could respond as soon as that happened.
Who is Qualified to Sign a Trademark Power of Attorney?
According to the USPTO, there are a select group of people within a company who can sign a trademark POA. A trademark POA may be signed by the individual trademark applicant or registrant if they are the owner of the company. In the case of a larger corporation, the POA may only be signed by someone who has the authority to legally bind the company to any obligation or agreement. For companies domiciled in the United States, this person must be an officer of the corporation such as CEO, CFO, COO, etc.\
Corporations that are domiciled outside of the United States must hire a U.S.-based trademark attorney who can sign as “attorney for applicant” or “attorney at law.” Foreign attorneys or officers of a foreign company are not authorized to sign any trademark POA.
Is a Trademark POA Forever? What are the Time Constraints on the POA?
A trademark Power of Attorney ends when the application converts to a registered trademark, the applicant abandons or cancels the application, or when ownership of the trademark application is transferred to another entity.
Is a Trademark POA Different from the Appointment of a Domestic Representative?
Yes, a trademark POA is different from the appointment of a domestic representative. A company or entity may hire a domestic representative when legal action is brought against it in regard to trademark matters. All legal documents must them be served to the domestic representative. All foreign companies must appoint a domestic representative when dealing with the USPTO in all matters. Although not required, it’s highly recommended that U.S.-based companies hire domestic representatives as well.
Are There Times When a Trademark POA is Not Required?
A trademark POA is not required when:
- Submitting a trademark registration application.
- Filing a Statement of Use
- Filing an Amendment to Allege Use
- Responding to an Office Action.
Keep in mind that you may need to use counsel for the above if there is no U.S. attorney on record, and/or you are domiciled outside of the United States.
If you are a foreign entity with a non-U.S.-based attorney, seeking to enter the United States through an international Madrid Protocol Application, you would not need to sign a trademark POA. You would be considered “unrepresented” by the USPTO since your original attorney would not be licensed to practice law in the United States.
Does My Trademark Require Maintenance After It Is Registered?
Yes. The USPTO lists two key trademark renewal dates. The first important mark is between the 5th and 6th year following registration of the trademark application. During this time, the Applicant must file a Declaration of Use which shows that the mark is still in fact being used in interstate commerce. Should you fail to file this use statement in time (along with the appropriate specimen), the trademark will go abandoned. The statement of use will included a signed declaration asserting that the applicant is continuing to use the trademark in conjunction with the products/services listed in the application along with a specimen which provides a visual representation of such use (an amazon page showing the trademark along with the product sold). Between the 9th and 10th year following the registration of the mark, the applicant will be required to complete (basically) the same process to prove Use. As always, there are associated fees with these filings which will be a function of the number of Classes listed in the Registration.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Boston Businesses
The most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston has that spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship in the small-business owners operating in the city today. While that drive and determination is a good thing, entrepreneurs in Boston need to also remember to register their desired trademarks with the USPTO before diving headlong into a new business venture.
Imagine the following: Lisa has been working for years to create her own line of all-natural granola. She has landed on a few delicious recipes using local ingredients. Her plan is to sell her varieties of granola direct to customers on her website. She names her granola company Fresh and Natural Granola. Her friend has suggested she speak to a trademark attorney about trademark registration, but Lisa wants to wait until her business has gotten off the ground.
Lisa launches her site and begins selling her granola. The orders start coming in faster than she imagined and she considers hiring someone to help with order fulfillment so she can focus on production.
Just about 2 months in, Lisa receives a cease-and-desist letter from a small chain of grocery stores in Somerville called Fresh and Natural Supermarkets. They believe Lisa is infringing on their trademark and want her to stop distributing her granola until she rebrands. Lisa is devastated about this turn of events and contacts a trademark attorney to figure out what she should do next.
By working with an attorney to register a trademark right from the beginning, even small businesses like Lisa’s can have the confidence to invest in their brand and grow their business with confidence.
If you have questions about trademark registration, then contact the attorneys at Cohn Legal for a no-cost trademark consultation.
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Complete the Trademark Registration Form.
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