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Buffalo, New York Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal, PLLC is a boutique IP firm headquartered in New York City. Our New York trademark lawyers operate with the singular goal of acting as your legal consigliere, continuously striving to provide you with the best legal advice and strategies to protect your interests.
Top 10 Questions New York Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, logo, slogan, design, or even a sound that is attached to a product or service. That trademark identifies the consumer who is producing or selling the product or service. A trademark registered with the USPTO comes with valuable protections. If you find that a third party is using your mark or something similar in any state in the U.S., you’ll have the right to take legal action.
When should I register my trademark?
As soon as you have an idea for a name, logo, design, etc., then start the trademark registration process. The trademark registration process will help reveal if any entity has already registered something similar to what your desired trademark is. If that’s the case, it may be frustrating, but it’s better to find out before you invest in marketing materials, signage, product labels, etc. Once you settle on a logo that is unique, then you can invest in your brand with confidence.
My competitor didn’t trademark their logo. Can I register it for myself?
You can certainly try to trademark it for yourself, but it’s not guaranteed that you will get it. Keep in mind that even though the mark has not been federally registered yet, it may be protected under “common law” rules, which gives businesses certain rights to a mark if they’ve been using it commercially but have yet to register it with the USPTO. Speak to a trademark attorney about the advantages and disadvantages of trying to register a competitor’s mark.
Does my business need more than one trademark?
Most businesses will need to submit more than one trademark application. For example, you may want to obtain one trademark for your business name, one for your logo, and one for the name of your product. The trademark attorneys at Cohn Legal can help you determine how many trademark applications you’ll need to submit.
What does “used in interstate commerce” mean?
In order to obtain a registered trademark, the specific trademark must be attached to a product or a service that has been sold across state lines or is offered in several states. If you’ve only sold your product in one state, then you’ll have a hard time getting it trademarked.
How much you must sell isn’t clearly defined by the USPTO. Selling one t-shirt to a friend in another state likely won’t count as interstate commerce. However, selling 100 t-shirts to residents of two states other than your own would likely fulfill the interstate commerce requirement. Again, the rules are ambiguous, so it’s best to speak to a trademark attorney who can give you clear guidance.
What is the USPTO?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the federal office that reviews trademark applications for eligibility and maintains records of existing and pending trademarks. Contrary to popular belief, they do not enforce trademark rights. It’s your responsibility as the owner of the trademark to monitor the market and protect your rights to your trademark.
What is TEAS?
TEAS stands for the Trademark Electronic Application System. TEAS is available 24/7 for you to submit your trademark application and pay the associate fees online.
What is a Trademark Office Action?
An Office Action is a letter from the USPTO that lists the reasons why your trademark application was rejected. If you receive an office action, then contact a trademark attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you determine what the next steps are.
What is the Official Gazette?
The USPTO publishes the Official Gazette (OG) every Tuesday. It includes information about trademarks and patents 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. If you have a registered trademark, then regularly monitoring the OG is one way to make sure that no competitors are infringing on your trademark rights.
What is a specimen?
A specimen is simply a sample of your trademark. It could be a product label, a website screenshot, a photo of your packaging, marketing materials, etc. Consult a trademark attorney if you are unsure about what you should submit to the USPTO as a specimen.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Buffalo Businesses
Buffalo, the second-largest city in New York and the largest in Western New York, is an attractive location for those who want to start their own small business venture.
Many new business owners in the Buffalo area spend the majority of their time focused on product development, finding a perfect location, and developing a marketing plan. These are all important elements of starting a business, however, trademark registration should never be overlooked.
Imagine the following: Mickey has been working in construction for years and has finally saved up enough money to start his own business. He decides that he wants to focus solely on Masonry. He chooses the name Maplewood Masonry as he lives in the Marilla area. His brother mentioned something about trademark registration, but Mickey has too many other things on his mind to worry about that. He dives right in and creates a website, flyers, business cards, and advertises his business in papers and online. He even has his new logo airbrushed onto the side of his van.
Mickey’s business is quite successful right out of the gate. Word is spreading in the Buffalo area about Mickey’s excellent masonry work. About 3 months after opening, Mickey is surprised to receive a cease-and-desist letter in the mail. Unfortunately, another construction company has been using a very similar name for their business. However, they registered their name with the USPTO so they are well within their rights to ask Mickey to stop using her business name. Now he must invest time and money rebranding his business while trying to retain the existing clients he’s worked so hard to get.
Your new business may seem like a small-time venture, but you should still work with an experienced attorney to register your trademark. With a registered trademark, even small businesses can move forward in confidence, knowing that they can invest time and money in their business without risking legal action from other companies.
Don’t wait to register your trademark. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for a while, the time to register your trademark is now.
If you have questions about trademark registration, then contact the attorneys at Cohn Legal for a no-cost trademark consultation.
**Cohn Legal, PLLC is managed by Partner Abe Cohn, A trademark attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New York.
Trademarks Services for Buffalo 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.