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Chicago, Illinois Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Serving clients in Chicago, Illinois, 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 Questions Chicago, Illinois Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
If I only provide my services in Chicago, Illinois, 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 Chicago, Illinois, 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.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is simply a word, phrase, logo, design, or even a sound that identifies a company. Companies use trademarks so consumers know who manufactures a product in a certain category of goods.
For example, think of the canned soup aisle in the grocery store. It’s all soup, but the trademark-protected names and logos on the cans enable you to quickly identify the brands of the soup such as Campbell’s, Progresso, Amy’s Organic, etc.
What is the USPTO?
The USPTO stands for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In order to register a trademark, you’ll need to submit an application to the USPTO. An examining attorney at the USPTO will evaluate the application and determine if your desired trademark is either eligible for approval or ineligible for approval.
The primary functions of the USPTO include:
Patent Examination: The USPTO examines patent applications to determine if an invention meets the legal requirements for patentability. They evaluate the novelty, usefulness, and non-obviousness of the invention. If approved, the USPTO grants the patent, providing exclusive rights to the inventor for a specified period.
Trademark Registration: The USPTO reviews trademark applications to determine if they meet the legal requirements for registration. They assess the distinctiveness and potential conflicts with existing trademarks. If the application is successful, the USPTO registers the trademark, providing legal protection and exclusive rights to the owner.
Trademark Maintenance: The USPTO maintains a database of registered trademarks and monitors their proper use. They handle trademark renewals, amendments, and assignments. Additionally, the USPTO provides resources and guidelines to help trademark owners protect and enforce their rights.
Educational Outreach: The USPTO conducts educational programs and initiatives to promote understanding of intellectual property rights. They offer guidance to inventors, entrepreneurs, and businesses on patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.
Policy Development: The USPTO plays a role in shaping intellectual property policy and regulations in the United States. They engage in rulemaking and provide input to lawmakers on matters related to patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property issues.
International Cooperation: The USPTO collaborates with international counterparts to establish and maintain harmonized intellectual property standards. They work towards improving global intellectual property protection and facilitating international patent and trademark applications.
The USPTO serves as a vital resource for individuals, businesses, and inventors seeking to protect their innovations and brand identities. It ensures the fair and efficient administration of patents and trademarks, fostering innovation, and safeguarding intellectual property rights in the United States.
What are the benefits of trademark registration?
Trademark registration offers several important benefits for businesses. Here are some of the key advantages of registering a trademark:
Exclusive Rights: Trademark registration provides you with exclusive rights to use the mark in connection with the goods or services covered by the registration. It gives you the legal presumption of ownership and the ability to enforce your rights against others who may try to use a similar mark, preventing confusion among consumers and protecting your brand identity.
Brand Protection: Registering your trademark helps safeguard your brand’s reputation and goodwill. It establishes a legal foundation for protecting your brand against infringement, counterfeiting, and unauthorized use. It allows you to take legal action and seek remedies against those who violate your trademark rights.
Market Differentiation: A registered trademark sets your business apart from competitors and enhances brand recognition. It gives you a unique identifier that customers can associate with your products or services. A strong trademark can become a valuable asset, distinguishing your business in the marketplace and contributing to its overall success.
Exclusive Use: Trademark registration grants you the exclusive right to use the registered mark in the specified classes of goods or services. This exclusivity helps prevent others from using a similar mark for related products or services, reducing the risk of confusion among consumers and protecting your market share.
Nationwide Protection: In the case of federal trademark registration in the United States, your rights extend nationwide, providing broader protection compared to common law or state-level trademarks. This means you can enforce your trademark rights across the entire country, even in areas where you do not currently operate.
Legal Remedies: Trademark registration strengthens your legal position in case of infringement. It gives you the ability to file a lawsuit in federal court and seek damages, injunctions, and other remedies. Registered trademarks also provide a basis for enforcement actions with customs authorities to prevent the importation of counterfeit goods.
Business Expansion: Trademark registration supports business growth and expansion. It gives you the confidence to enter new markets and explore new opportunities without the risk of infringing on existing trademarks. It also enhances the value of your brand, making it more attractive to investors, partners, and potential buyers.
Deterrence: The mere existence of a registered trademark can deter others from using a similar mark. When potential infringers conduct a trademark search and find your registered mark, they may choose to avoid using a mark that could lead to legal consequences. Registration reinforces your brand’s credibility and discourages unauthorized use.
Overall, trademark registration provides significant benefits for businesses by protecting their brand identity, reducing the risk of infringement, and strengthening their legal position. It is an essential step for businesses that value their brand and want to establish a strong presence in the marketplace.
Can I submit a trademark application prior to selling any products or services?
Yes, you can submit a trademark application even if you have not yet started selling products or services. In the United States, you can file an “intent-to-use” trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) based on your bona fide intent to use the trademark in the future.
Filing an intent-to-use application allows you to secure a priority filing date for your trademark while you are in the process of developing your products or services. It provides you with certain benefits, such as establishing your rights to the mark and preventing others from using a similar mark in connection with similar goods or services.
Once your intent-to-use application is filed and you receive a Notice of Allowance from the USPTO, you will need to demonstrate actual use of the mark in commerce before your trademark can be registered. This involves providing proof of the mark’s use in connection with the specified goods or services, such as samples, photographs, or other evidence.
It’s important to note that you will need to actively use the mark within a specific timeframe after receiving the Notice of Allowance. Extensions may be available under certain circumstances, but continuous and genuine efforts to use the mark in commerce are required.
By filing an intent-to-use application, you can secure your rights to a trademark early on, even before your products or services are available in the marketplace. It provides you with a valuable opportunity to protect your brand and prevent others from adopting similar marks while you finalize your business plans and preparations for commercial launch.
Can I trademark a phrase?
Yes, it is possible to trademark a phrase under certain circumstances. A phrase can be eligible for trademark protection if it meets the necessary criteria for distinctiveness and serves as a source identifier for specific goods or services. To be considered distinctive, a phrase should go beyond generic or descriptive terms commonly used in the industry and instead have a unique and recognizable character.
When seeking to trademark a phrase, it is important to conduct a thorough search to ensure that the phrase is not already in use or registered by another party for similar goods or services. This search helps identify potential conflicts and allows you to assess the availability and registrability of your desired phrase.
It is advisable to consult with a trademark attorney who can provide guidance throughout the trademark application process. They can assist in evaluating the distinctiveness of your phrase, conducting a comprehensive search, preparing the necessary documentation, and filing the trademark application with the relevant intellectual property office.
Can I trademark a logo?
Yes, you can trademark a logo to protect its unique design and distinguish your brand from others in the marketplace. A logo consists of visual elements, such as graphics, symbols, or stylized text, that represent your business or product. To be eligible for trademark protection, a logo should possess distinctiveness and serve as a recognizable identifier of your brand.
When trademarking a logo, it is crucial to conduct a comprehensive search to ensure that similar or identical logos are not already registered by other parties in related industries. This search helps mitigate the risk of infringing upon existing trademarks and strengthens the chances of successfully registering your logo.
Working with a trademark attorney is highly recommended when seeking to trademark a logo. They can assist in assessing the distinctiveness of your logo, conducting a thorough search, preparing the necessary trademark application documents, and guiding you through the registration process. Their expertise ensures that your logo is properly protected and helps you navigate any potential challenges that may arise.
Can I trademark a color?
Trademarking a color is possible, but it is generally more challenging compared to phrases or logos. To successfully trademark a color, it must have acquired distinctiveness and be associated with a particular brand or product in the minds of consumers. Color trademarks are often limited to specific contexts or industries where the color has gained secondary meaning and serves as a source identifier.
Obtaining a color trademark requires substantial evidence demonstrating the color’s acquired distinctiveness, such as extensive and exclusive use of the color in connection with the goods or services provided. Additionally, it is crucial to show that the color is not functional or commonly used in the industry to avoid potential objections from the trademark office.
Given the complexities involved in trademarking a color, consulting with a trademark attorney is highly recommended. They can provide valuable guidance on the viability of trademarking a specific color, help gather the necessary evidence to establish distinctiveness, and assist in navigating the application process to increase the chances of successful registration.
Do I need an attorney to register a trademark?
While it is not mandatory to hire an attorney to register a trademark, it is highly recommended to seek the assistance of a qualified trademark attorney. Here are a few reasons why having an attorney can be beneficial:
Expertise and Knowledge: Trademark law can be complex, and navigating the registration process requires a thorough understanding of the legal requirements and procedures. A trademark attorney has the expertise and knowledge to guide you through the process, ensuring that your application meets all the necessary criteria.
Trademark Search: Conducting a comprehensive trademark search is crucial to identify potential conflicts with existing trademarks. An attorney can perform a thorough search, assess the search results, and advise you on the availability and strength of your desired trademark.
Application Preparation: A trademark attorney can help you prepare and submit a well-drafted trademark application. They will ensure that all the necessary information is included, the application is correctly categorized, and the description of goods and services is accurate and aligned with trademark office requirements.
Legal Advice and Strategy: An attorney can provide valuable legal advice and develop a strategic approach tailored to your specific trademark goals. They can assist in determining the appropriate trademark classes, advise on the best way to protect your mark, and help you build a strong trademark portfolio.
Office Action Responses: If you receive an office action, an attorney can guide you in formulating a well-crafted response that addresses the concerns raised by the examining attorney. They have experience in handling office actions and can increase your chances of a successful outcome.
Enforcement and Protection: Should your trademark face infringement or other legal issues, an attorney can help protect your rights and enforce your trademark. They can represent you in legal disputes, initiate opposition or cancellation proceedings, and take necessary actions to safeguard your trademark interests.
While it may seem tempting to handle the trademark registration process independently to save costs, the expertise and guidance provided by a trademark attorney can significantly increase your chances of a successful registration and protect your brand effectively. Trademarks are valuable assets, and investing in professional legal assistance is often a wise decision to ensure the best possible outcome for your trademark registration.
Will the USPTO help me protect my trademark?
The USPTO registers and keeps records of all federal trademarks. If someone applies for a mark that’s similar to one you’ve already registered, there’s a high probability that the USPTO won’t allow it.
Beyond that, it’s up to you, not the USPTO, to monitor the marketplace to ensure that no one is infringing upon your registered trademark. If you do suspect infringement, then you need to consult with a trademark attorney and take legal action.
What’s the difference between “in commerce” and “intent to use”?
The terms “in commerce” and “intent to use” are related to different stages of trademark registration:
In Commerce: The phrase “in commerce” refers to the actual use of a trademark in connection with goods or services in the marketplace. When filing a trademark application based on “use in commerce,” it means that the mark is already being used to sell or promote the specified goods or services. The applicant must provide evidence of the mark’s current commercial use, such as sales receipts, packaging labels, or advertisements, to support the application.
Intent to Use: On the other hand, “intent to use” refers to a situation where a person or business has not yet used the trademark in commerce but has a genuine intention to do so in the future. In this case, the applicant files a trademark application based on their intent to use the mark. This allows them to secure a priority filing date and reserve the trademark while they prepare to launch their goods or services in the market.
The intent-to-use filing provides a legal mechanism to protect a trademark before it is actually used in commerce. Once the application is approved, the applicant receives a Notice of Allowance from the trademark office. At this point, the applicant must submit evidence of the mark’s actual use in commerce within a specified period (generally six months) to complete the registration process.
It’s important to note that while an intent-to-use application reserves the trademark, it does not grant immediate rights or registration. The mark must ultimately be used in commerce and meet all the requirements for registration to obtain the full legal protection associated with a registered trademark.
In summary, “in commerce” indicates the actual use of a trademark in the marketplace, while “intent to use” signifies the intention to use the mark in the future and allows for securing a filing date before actual use takes place.
What’s the difference between the TM and ® symbols?
The TM and ® symbols are used to indicate trademark rights, but they have different meanings:
TM Symbol: The TM symbol is used to indicate that a word, phrase, logo, or design is being used as a trademark, regardless of whether it is registered or not. It is often used with a mark that is claimed to be a trademark, but the owner has not yet obtained a formal trademark registration from the relevant trademark office. The TM symbol has no legal significance but serves as a notice to others that the owner considers the mark to be a trademark.
® Symbol: The ® symbol, also known as the “circle R,” is used to indicate that a trademark has been registered with the appropriate trademark office. It can only be used once the trademark has been officially registered and granted by the trademark authority. The ® symbol provides notice to others that the mark is a registered trademark and that the owner has exclusive rights to use the mark in connection with the goods or services specified in the registration.
While the TM symbol can be used without a formal registration, the ® symbol should only be used for trademarks that have undergone the registration process and received official approval. The ® symbol carries more weight and provides stronger legal protection, as it signifies that the trademark has been examined and granted exclusive rights. It is important to note that using the ® symbol without a valid registration can be misleading and may be considered improper use of the symbol.
In summary, the TM symbol indicates a claimed trademark, while the ® symbol indicates a registered trademark. Registering a trademark with the appropriate authorities provides stronger legal protection and exclusive rights to the trademark owner.
Do I need to conduct a trademark search before filing my application?
There’s no law about conducting a trademark search before filing an application, but any trademark attorney will recommend that you do. You can gain access to search the USPTO database to make sure that no one has a mark that’s similar to yours. It can be frustrating to find that a trademark similar to the one you want already exists. However, it’s better to find out before you start investing in signage, brochures, digital advertising, etc. Knowing you have a unique trademark means that you can invest in your business and your brand with confidence.
I’ve been selling my product for 5 years with no registered trademark. Is there a reason to do it now?
Having a registered trademark is not a prerequisite for selling products. You can start selling a product or service anytime you want. However, whether you’ve been in business for 5 days, 5 months, or 5 years, it’s in your best interest to protect your intellectual property with a registered trademark.
In fact, it’s even more important to register your trademark if you’ve been selling items successfully for years. Without trademark protection, a competitor can start using your branding to “ride the coattails” of your success by selling a similar product. This could cause confusion in the marketplace and damage your reputation.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, take the proper steps to ensure that your trademark is properly protected against infringement.
How long does the trademark application process take?
The duration of the trademark application process can vary depending on several factors. While it’s challenging to provide an exact timeline, I can outline the general stages and timeframes involved:
Filing the Application: The initial step is filing the trademark application with the relevant trademark office, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the United States. This process typically takes a few hours to complete.
Examination Period: After filing, the trademark application undergoes a thorough examination by a trademark examiner. The examiner reviews the application for compliance with legal requirements and potential conflicts with existing trademarks. The examination period can take several months, ranging from three to six months or even longer, depending on the workload of the trademark office and the complexity of the application.
Office Actions: If any issues or objections arise during the examination, the trademark examiner issues an office action. The applicant then has a specific period (usually six months) to respond to the office action and address the examiner’s concerns. This back-and-forth process can extend the overall duration of the application process.
Publication and Opposition Period: If the application passes the examination stage without objections, it moves to the publication phase. The trademark is published in an official gazette or journal, allowing third parties to oppose the registration if they believe it conflicts with their existing rights. This opposition period typically lasts for 30 days, but it can vary depending on the jurisdiction.
Registration or Notice of Allowance: If no opposition is filed during the publication period, or if an opposition is resolved in favor of the applicant, the trademark proceeds towards registration. The trademark office issues a registration certificate or a Notice of Allowance in the case of an intent-to-use application. The timeline for receiving the registration certificate can range from a few months to a year or more, depending on the jurisdiction and any additional requirements.
It’s important to note that the above timeline is a general overview and can vary significantly depending on the specific circumstances of each application and the procedures followed by the respective trademark office. Delays can occur due to various factors, including the complexity of the application, backlog at the trademark office, or opposition proceedings.
To get a more accurate estimate for a particular trademark application, it’s advisable to consult with a trademark attorney or seek guidance from the relevant trademark office.
How long does a trademark last?
The good news is that once you get a trademark, you’ll have it forever as long as you continue to use it and you keep up with renewals every 5 years for the first decade of the mark and every 10 years thereafter. The renewal process isn’t difficult, but if you ignore a deadline, then you may run the risk of having your trademark expire.
How much does it cost to register a trademark?
The cost of registering a trademark can vary depending on various factors, such as the jurisdiction, the type of application, and the services you choose. Here is a general overview of the costs associated with trademark registration:
Government Filing Fees: The primary cost of trademark registration is the filing fee charged by the trademark office. Each country or jurisdiction sets its own fee structure. For example, in the United States, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers different fee options based on the type of application and the number of classes of goods or services. The fees can range from a few hundred dollars to several hundred dollars per class.
Attorney Fees: If you decide to work with a trademark attorney, their fees will be an additional cost. The attorney’s fees can vary depending on their experience, expertise, and the complexity of your case. Some attorneys charge a flat fee for trademark registration services, while others may charge an hourly rate. It’s advisable to discuss the fees with your attorney and have a clear understanding of the services included.
Trademark Search: Before filing your trademark application, it is recommended to conduct a comprehensive trademark search to assess the availability and potential conflicts with existing trademarks. You can choose to perform the search yourself or hire a professional trademark search company. The cost of a trademark search can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the scope and depth of the search.
Additional Services: There may be additional services that you choose to utilize during the trademark registration process, such as legal advice, trademark monitoring, or assistance with responding to office actions. These services could involve extra costs, which would depend on the service provider and the specific requirements of your case.
It’s important to note that the cost of trademark registration is an investment in protecting your brand and intellectual property rights. While there are expenses involved, securing trademark protection can provide significant benefits and value to your business in the long run.
To get a precise estimate of the costs associated with registering a trademark, it is recommended to consult with one of our trademark attorneys or review the fee schedules provided by the relevant trademark office in your jurisdiction.
Should I hire a Trademark Attorney to help me register my trademark?
Hiring one of our trademark attorneys to assist you with the registration of your trademark can be highly beneficial and is often recommended. Here are some reasons why you should consider hiring a trademark attorney:
Expertise and Knowledge: Trademark attorneys specialize in trademark law and possess in-depth knowledge of the registration process. They are familiar with the legal requirements, documentation, and strategies necessary for a successful trademark application. Their expertise can help you navigate the complexities of the process and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
Trademark Search: Conducting a comprehensive trademark search is crucial to ensure that your desired trademark is unique and not already in use by others. A trademark attorney can perform a thorough search, including searching the trademark database and other sources, to identify potential conflicts or existing trademarks that may hinder your registration. This minimizes the risk of infringing on someone else’s trademark and potential legal issues in the future.
Application Preparation and Filing: A trademark attorney can guide you through the application preparation and filing process, ensuring that all necessary information is provided accurately and completely. They can assist in drafting a strong and persuasive application that meets the legal requirements and increases the likelihood of approval. This reduces the chances of errors or omissions that may lead to application rejection or delays.
Legal Advice and Protection: A trademark attorney can provide valuable legal advice throughout the registration process and help protect your rights. They can assess the strength of your trademark, offer guidance on potential infringements, and advise on strategies to strengthen your position. If any issues or challenges arise during the application process, an attorney can represent and advocate for your interests.
Conflict Resolution: In case of conflicts, disputes, or objections to your trademark application, a trademark attorney can handle negotiations, responses, or appeals on your behalf. They can engage in discussions with other parties, such as trademark examiners or potential opposers, and work towards a resolution that protects your trademark rights.
While it is not mandatory to hire a trademark attorney, their expertise and guidance can significantly enhance the efficiency and success of your trademark registration process. Consider consulting with a reputable trademark attorney to discuss your specific needs and determine the best course of action for your situation.
What is the difference between a state trademark and a federal trademark?
The main difference between a state trademark and a federal trademark lies in the scope of protection they offer and the geographical area they cover.
State Trademark: A state trademark, as the name suggests, is a trademark registered at the state level. It provides protection for your mark within the boundaries of the specific state where it is registered. The registration process and requirements for state trademarks vary from state to state. State trademarks are generally less expensive and less complex to obtain compared to federal trademarks.
Federal Trademark: A federal trademark, on the other hand, is a trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It grants nationwide protection across all 50 states of the United States. Federal trademarks provide a higher level of protection and exclusivity, as they cover a broader geographic area and offer more extensive rights. They provide stronger legal recourse against infringers and better opportunities for brand expansion into different markets.
Here are some key points to consider regarding the differences between state and federal trademarks:
Geographic Coverage: State trademarks only provide protection within the specific state where they are registered, while federal trademarks offer protection across the entire United States.
Legal Rights and Enforcement: Federal trademarks provide stronger legal rights and enforcement options. In case of infringement, federal trademark owners can file lawsuits in federal court and seek remedies such as damages, injunctions, and the ability to stop the importation of infringing goods. State trademark owners generally have more limited legal options and may need to pursue legal action in state courts.
Priority and Priority Date: Federal trademarks have priority over subsequently filed state trademarks for similar marks in the same class of goods or services. This means that if a federal trademark application is filed before a state trademark application for the same or similar mark, the federal application will generally take precedence.
Brand Expansion and Recognition: Federal trademarks provide a stronger foundation for brand expansion and recognition. If you plan to expand your business beyond the state where you initially registered your mark, a federal trademark will offer broader protection and prevent others from using a similar mark in other states.
It’s important to note that while federal trademark registration provides more comprehensive protection, it also involves a more rigorous application process and higher costs compared to state trademarks. Considering your business goals, target market, and future expansion plans can help you determine whether a state or federal trademark is more appropriate for your specific circumstances. Consulting with a trademark attorney can provide valuable guidance and help you make an informed decision.
What’s the difference between a live trademark and a dead trademark?
A “live trademark” and a “dead trademark” are terms used to describe the status of a trademark registration. Here’s a breakdown of the difference between the two:
Live Trademark: A live trademark refers to a trademark that is currently active and legally protected. It indicates that the trademark registration has been approved, and the owner has fulfilled all necessary requirements to maintain its validity. A live trademark grants exclusive rights to the owner to use the mark in connection with specific goods or services. The owner can enforce these rights and take legal action against potential infringers.
Dead Trademark: A dead trademark, on the other hand, refers to a trademark that is no longer active or legally protected. It means that the trademark registration has been abandoned, canceled, or expired. A dead trademark loses its enforceable rights, and the owner no longer holds exclusive rights to use the mark. Others may be able to use similar marks without infringing upon the dead trademark.
The status of a trademark can change over time due to various reasons, including non-renewal of the registration, failure to meet maintenance requirements, or voluntary abandonment by the owner. It’s important to regularly monitor the status of a trademark and fulfill the necessary obligations to keep it alive and maintain its legal protection.
To determine the status of a trademark, it is advisable to conduct a search in the official trademark database or consult with a trademark attorney who can provide specific information regarding the status and legal implications of a particular trademark.
What is a trademark office action?
A trademark Office Action is a formal communication issued by the trademark examining attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding your trademark application. It outlines any issues, objections, or requirements that need to be addressed before your trademark can be approved for registration.
When the examining attorney reviews your application, they assess its compliance with legal requirements and evaluate potential conflicts with existing trademarks. If they identify any concerns or deficiencies, they will issue an Office Action to notify you of these issues and provide an opportunity for you to respond.
There are two main types of Office Actions:
Non-Final Office Action: This type of Office Action identifies substantive issues or procedural deficiencies that must be resolved for your application to move forward. It may include objections or refusals based on legal grounds, such as the mark being too similar to an existing mark, incomplete or inaccurate information, or failure to meet specific requirements. You are typically given a specified period (usually six months) to respond to the Non-Final Office Action and address the issues raised.
Final Office Action: If you fail to overcome the issues raised in the Non-Final Office Action or do not respond within the given timeframe, the examining attorney may issue a Final Office Action. This indicates that your application is at risk of being abandoned. However, you still have the opportunity to respond within six months of the Final Office Action, although your response must be compelling and address all outstanding concerns raised by the examining attorney.
An Office Action provides detailed explanations of the objections or requirements, citing relevant laws, regulations, and case precedents. It serves as a guide for you to understand the specific issues that need to be resolved for your application to proceed toward registration.
It’s crucial to carefully review the Office Action, understand the concerns raised by the examining attorney, and respond appropriately. Failure to respond to an Office Action can result in the abandonment of your application. It is recommended to seek professional assistance, such as consulting with one of our trademark attorneys, to ensure a thorough understanding of the issues and to prepare a well-crafted response that addresses the concerns effectively.
What should I do if I receive an office action on my trademark application?
If you receive an office action on your trademark application, it means that the examining attorney at the trademark office has raised concerns or identified issues with your application. It is an official communication that requires your attention and response. Here are the steps you should take if you receive an office action:
Read and Understand the Office Action: Carefully review the office action to understand the specific issues raised by the examining attorney. The office action will outline the grounds for refusal or any other requirements or objections related to your trademark application.
Seek Legal Counsel: Consider consulting with a trademark attorney who can provide guidance and help you navigate the office action process. They can help you understand the implications of the issues raised and assist in preparing a well-crafted response.
Research and Analyze the Issues: Conduct a thorough analysis of the issues raised in the office action. Research precedents, case law, and trademark regulations to understand the basis for the examiner’s concerns. This will help you formulate a strong response.
Prepare a Response: Craft a detailed and persuasive response addressing each of the issues raised in the office action. Provide clear and concise arguments supported by legal reasoning, evidence, and relevant case law, if applicable. It is important to address each point individually and provide any necessary amendments or clarifications to your application.
Meet Deadlines: Pay attention to the deadline specified in the office action for responding. Typically, you will have a set period (often six months) to submit your response. Missing the deadline may result in the abandonment of your application.
Submit Your Response: File your response with the trademark office within the specified timeframe. Follow the guidelines provided by the office regarding the preferred method of submission, format, and any additional requirements.
Track Your Application: Monitor the status of your application after submitting the response. The examining attorney may accept your response, request further clarification or evidence, or issue a final refusal. Stay proactive and promptly address any additional requirements.
Consider Appeals or Amendments: If your response does not fully resolve the issues or if you receive a final refusal, you may explore options for filing an appeal or making amendments to your application. Discuss these options with your trademark attorney to determine the best course of action.
It is important to note that the office action response process can be complex, and the outcome can significantly impact the success of your trademark application. Working with one of our knowledgeable trademark attorneys will greatly increase your chances of overcoming the issues raised in the office action and securing trademark registration.
What happens if my trademark application is rejected?
If your trademark application is rejected, then you’ll receive an Office Action. An Office Action is basically a letter stating the reasons why your trademark registration application was rejected.
The reasons why your application may be rejected 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.
It can be overwhelming to receive an Office Action. A trademark attorney will be able to advise you on your best response to the USPTO.
I’ve already submitted an application to the USPTO. Is it too late to hire a trademark attorney?
The earlier you hire a trademark attorney, the better it is. However, it’s really never too late to hire a trademark attorney. If you’ve already submitted an application, then your attorney can advise you on how to handle possible rejections, or give advice on how to protect other pieces of intellectual property. If your trademark application is approved, then your attorney can help monitor the marketplace for any infringements of your trademark.
What are the consequences of trademark infringement?
Trademark infringement refers to the unauthorized use of a registered trademark or a confusingly similar mark in connection with goods or services that are identical or related. The consequences of trademark infringement can be significant and may include:
Legal Action: The owner of the infringed trademark has the right to initiate legal proceedings against the infringing party. This can lead to a lawsuit, where the trademark owner seeks to stop the infringement and may also claim damages resulting from the unauthorized use.
Cease and Desist Letters: Before resorting to legal action, trademark owners often send cease and desist letters to the infringing party. These letters demand that the infringer immediately stops using the trademark and may require them to take corrective actions, such as destroying infringing products or materials.
Damages and Remedies: If the trademark owner successfully proves infringement, they may be entitled to monetary damages. These damages can include actual damages, which compensate for the harm caused, as well as profits derived by the infringing party. Additionally, the court may award punitive damages in cases of willful infringement. Other remedies may include injunctions, which prohibit further use of the infringing mark, and the destruction of infringing goods.
Loss of Business and Reputation: Trademark infringement can harm the reputation and goodwill associated with the original trademark. Consumers may become confused or misled by the presence of similar or counterfeit products, leading to a loss of trust and potential customers for the original brand. Infringement can tarnish the reputation built by the trademark owner over time.
Infringement Defenses: In cases of alleged infringement, the accused party may raise certain defenses, such as fair use, parody, or lack of likelihood of confusion. However, the success of these defenses depends on various factors, including the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case.
It is important to note that the consequences of trademark infringement can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of each case. Trademark owners should proactively monitor and enforce their trademark rights to protect their brand, prevent confusion among consumers, and preserve the value of their intellectual property assets.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Chicago Businesses
Chicago is one of the largest cities in the U.S. Known for its bold architecture, punctuated by skyscrapers such as the iconic John Hancock Center. Chicago is a great location to set up shop. The friendly environment and amazing economic possibilities are a great choice for young entrepreneurs.
With a growing population and increased tourism, Chicago is attracting new business owners year after year. If you’re ready to start a new business venture in Chicago, then make sure you register your trademarks with the USPTO.
Imagine the following: Two friends in the Chicago area have plans to pool their money and start their own catering businesses. They have experience working for other catering companies and are excited to launch their own venture. They choose a name for their company and although they want to get started they decide to contact a trademark attorney first.
The trademark attorney helps them conduct a thorough search. It turns out that the name they wanted is already trademarked by another catering company in Arlington. The friends try another name. This time, it looks like the name is available for use and the attorney starts the trademark registration process.
A few months later, the friends learn that they have trademark rights to their business name. Now, they can feel confident investing in their business and their brand, knowing that they aren’t infringing on anyone else’s trademark rights.
If they hadn’t worked with a trademark attorney from the very beginning, they may have had a different experience altogether. They may have inadvertently infringed on another business’s trademark rights and faced potential legal action.
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 Chicago and yet it can assist businesses from Illinois in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Chicago Businesses
- Trademark Search Services
- Trademark Application Filing
- Trademark Infringement Defense
- Trademark a Name
- Trademark a Phrase
- Trademark Cease and Desist Letters
- Trademark Office Action Response
- Trademark Abandonment
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.