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Cincinnati, Ohio Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal started as a branch of an international Intellectual Property firm that provided legal counsel to some of the biggest players in the technology industry. Now its own startup, Cohn Legal is providing outstanding service to clients in Cincinnati, Ohio, across the United States, and indeed, around the globe.
Top 7 Questions Cincinnati Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, sound, or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of products or services from competitors selling the same category of product or service.
How do I register a federal trademark?
In order to register a trademark, you need to first submit a trademark application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
Once received by the USPTO, an examining attorney will thoroughly evaluate the application and search the USPTO database to verify that your mark is not too similar to other trademarks that already exist.
If no similar trademarks are found and the examiner approves your application, the trademark will be published in the USPTO’s Official Gazette which comes out every Tuesday. During the 30 days after your mark appears in the Official Gazette, anyone can come forward and “oppose” the application. If no oppositions are submitted, then your trademark will go to final registration.
Why should I conduct a trademark search before filing my application to the USPTO?
Any trademark attorney will tell you that it’s a smart idea to conduct a trademark search before filing your application with the USPTO. In fact, a trademark attorney can help you conduct the search to ensure that there are no existing or pending trademarks that are similar to your desired trademark.
If a search reveals that someone already registered the name you wanted, it can be frustrating. However, it’s better to have this information sooner rather than later. Imagine a scenario where you didn’t conduct a thorough search of your trademark and you invested thousands into marketing materials, signage, digital advertising, a website, and more. Then, one day you receive a cease-and-desist letter from someone who owns a similar mark. That’s a lot of money and time wasted that could have been avoided.
Can I sell my products if I don’t have a registered trademark?
You can absolutely start selling a product or service before obtaining a registered trademark. In fact, you can indicate on your USPTO application that your mark is “in commerce” which means you’re already using it. However, keep in mind that doing business without registering your trademark puts you and your business at risk. A third party can start using your trademark, or worse try registering it with the USPTO so they actually become the rightful owners.
If you’re serious about your business, then talk to a trademark attorney about a strategy to ensure that your trademark is properly protected.
How long does a trademark last?
Here’s some good news. Trademarks never expire! However, you do need to renew your mark with the USPTO. The first renewal will be required approximately 5 or 6 years from the date of registration, and then the second renewal will be required 5 or 6 years after the first. Your third renewal is due 10 years after your second and all subsequent renewals are due in 10 year intervals.
What is a “specimen” and when do I need one?
The USPTO wants to know how you plan on using your trademark in commerce so they ask for a specimen. A specimen is simply a sample such as a product label, product packaging, or a screenshot of your website. If you’re selling a service as opposed to a product, then the USPTO will accept flyers, brochures, advertisements, etc. that display the trademark. If you’re unsure of what an appropriate specimen might be, then contact a trademark attorney.
What is an Intent to Use application?
If you’re not quite ready to bring your goods or services to market, you can still file a trademark registration application with the USPTO. You’ll need to file what is known as an Intent-To-Use (ITU) trademark application, which requires that you have a “bona fide intention” to “use a trademark in commerce.”
Once the USPTO accepts your ITU application, you’ll receive a Notice of Allowance. You’ll have up to 6 months to submit your Statement of Use, which proves you’re using the trademark. You may also choose to file an extension, which will give you an additional 6 months if you’re not yet ready to file a Statement of Use.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Cincinnati Businesses
Cincinnati, known for its 19th-century architecture is a sight to behold. If you’re looking to start a new business in Cincinnati, then your list of “to-dos” can seem endless. You’re looking for commercial space, purchasing equipment, interviewing potential employees, creating a website, setting up a social media presence, and the list goes on. Everything feels like it should be done right now.
One thing many new Cincinnati business owners put at the bottom of their list of priorities is registering their trademark with the USPTO. However, any serious business owner will tell you, it’s essential that you register your trademark ASAP. It’s the only way to protect your trademark from the competition.
Imagine the following: Debbie and Allison have been working on the perfect gelato recipe for years and they’re finally ready to open up a shop. They decide on the name The Gelato Gals and find the perfect location. They buy an expensive sign for the front, develop menus, create a website, and even print up aprons and t-shirts that sport their logo for themselves and the staff.
Unfortunately for The Gelato Gals, there’s an existing chain of gelato shops in Cleveland and Columbus, called The Gelato Girls. The owners of The Gelato Girls have a trademark attorney who had advised them to register their name and logo years ago. They think that The Gelato Gals is too similar a name to theirs and may cause confusion amongst consumers.
Because of this, the trademark attorney for The Gelato Girls sends a cease-and-desist letter to Debbie and Allison. Unfortunately, The Gelato Gals have no legal recourse because they did not protect their brand with a trademark. They’ve wasted a lot of time and energy on a brand that they can no longer use. It’s a financial setback that will be hard to recover from.
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 Cincinnati and yet it can assist businesses from Ohio in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Cincinnati 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.