Trademark Attorney Services
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Charlotte, North Carolina Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Serving clients in Charlotte, North Carolina, Cohn Legal is a firm focusing on intellectual property rights and trademarks. Cohn Legal counsels national and international clients on all matters related to intellectual property and how to protect their brands against infringement.
Top 8 Questions Charlotte Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, design, or even a sound that sets companies that sell the same products or services apart from each other. Trademarks allow consumers to identify the company that manufactures the product or provides the service.
How do I register a federal trademark?
In order to register a trademark, you need to submit an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. The trademark application should include your personal info, a photo of the name or logo or design you want trademarked, what type of product or service you want the trademark for, and a sample of how the logo will be used on packaging, a label, on a flyer, etc.
An examining attorney at the USPTO will thoroughly evaluate the application and search the USPTO database. If no similar trademarks are found, then the examiner will publish your mark in the USPTO’s Official Gazette. If no oppositions from the public are filed within 30 days of publication, then your trademark will go to final registration.
What’s the difference between “in commerce” and “intent to use”?
The USPTO will want to know if your desired trademark is “in commerce” which means you’re already using it in the market. If you’re not using it currently, then you may file an “intent to use” mark, which means you’ll be using it in commercial activity in the near future.
Do I need to conduct a trademark search before filing my application?
There’s no requirement, law, or mandate that says you need to conduct a trademark search before filing an application, but it’s important that you do so. You can gain access to the USPTO’s database of registered and pending trademarks.
If, during your search, you find that no one else has filed a similar trademark, then you can move forward with confidence. If the search reveals an already registered mark that’s similar to the one you want, you’ll need to rethink your mark. It can be frustrating, but it’s better to have that information earlier in the process rather than later when you’ve already invested in marketing materials, store signage, digital advertising, etc.
Do I need to have a registered trademark before I start selling my goods or services?
Having a registered trademark is not a pre-requisite for starting a business. You can start selling a product or service anytime you want. However, it’s in your best interest to protect your intellectual property.
Without trademark protection, a competitor can start using your logo or something similar, which will create confusion in the marketplace. They may even decide to register the trademark themselves. It’s not guaranteed a competitor will be able to successfully register a mark you have been using, but why take the risk? If you take your business seriously, then take the proper steps to ensure that your trademark is properly protected against infringement.
How long does a trademark last?
Your trademark will not expire as long as you continue to use the mark and you keep up with renewals renewal deadlines that are set by the USPTO. Your first renewal will be about 5 years from the date you first registered the trademark, then 5 years after that. Your subsequent renewals will be due every 10 years after that. The renewal process isn’t difficult, but if you miss a deadline, then you run the risk of losing your trademark.
How long does the trademark application process take?
After submitting your trademark application, you’ll hear back from the USPTO within 3 to 6 months. If your registration is eligible for registration, it will about 2 more months for the trademark to be officially registered.
If the trademark is found to be ineligible for registration, the process will take longer. It’s hard to say how much longer because it depends how complex it will be to resolve the issues cited by the USPTO. Your best bet in getting any issues solved as quickly as possible is seeking the advice of a trademark attorney.
Why was my trademark application rejected?
If your trademark application is rejected, you’ll receive an “Office Action” from the USPTO outlining the reasons why your application was rejected, which may include:
- Your desired mark or something similar to it is already in use.
- Your desired mark is too generic.
- Your application may be missing pertinent information.
A trademark attorney will be able to advise you on your best response to a rejected application.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Charlotte Businesses
Charlotte, North Carolina has so much to do and see there, making it a popular tourist destination. From the shops to the street arts to the restaurants, North Carolina has plenty of action. If you’re thinking about starting your own business in Charlotte, then you’ve chosen a great location. As you start launching your new venture, make sure that trademark registration happens sooner rather than later.
Imagine the following: Hillary has been planning to open a 1950’s style drive-in diner for some time now. She finally has the money to pursue her dream so she signs the lease on a piece of commercial property and gets to work. She names her new diner Hillary’s Happy Days Diner and creates a business plan, renovates the space, orders menus, and more.
Hillary has heard of trademark registration, but because she’s so busy she decides to wait until things have calmed down before investigating it further.
The day comes when Hillary is finally able to open the doors to her diner. Motorists flock to the location and enjoy the kitschy atmosphere along with Hillary’s take on 1950’s diner fare.
Unfortunately, Hillary gets a cease-and-desist letter in the mail after just 3 months of steady business. There’s a diner in Greensboro with a similar name and they own the trademark to their name. They have the right to ask Hillary to stop doing business and not reopen until she renames her business. That’s a devastating blow to Hillary. Closing her business and rebranding is going to cost thousands and take several weeks, if not months.
If Hillary had consulted with a trademark attorney right from the start, they could have devised a strategy to help her get the trademark she wanted or choose something else.
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 Charlotte and yet it can assist businesses from North Carolina in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Charlotte 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.