Trademark Attorney Services
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Columbia, Missouri Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal, PLLC is a trademark law firm based in New York City that services clients throughout the United States, including Columbia, Missouri. We specialize in trademark law and intellectual property protection for entrepreneurs and small businesses. We’re here for you whether you’re just starting a new venture, or you’re in the middle of a complex deal and need legal counsel right away.
Top 6 Questions Columbia Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a source identifier. It identifies who is source of the goods or services you are purchasing. A trademark could be a word, such as Nike; a logo, such as the iconic Nike swoosh; or a phrase such as “Just Do It” used in Nike ad campaigns. All of these pieces of intellectual property are protected by trademark registration.
Is there a difference between fanciful trademarks and arbitrary trademarks?
Both fanciful trademarks and arbitrary trademarks are considered to be “strong” trademarks, but there is a major difference between the two types.
Fanciful trademarks are made-up words, created for the sole purpose of acting as a trademark. Oreo as a brand of cookies is one example of a fanciful trademark. Pepsi as a brand of soft drink is another example.
An arbitrary mark is a real word with a common meaning, but when that word as used as a brand name, it becomes a strong trademark. For example, apple is a very common word. However, when Apple is used as the name of a technology company, the generic meaning of the word becomes irrelevant.
Can I register for trademark protection before I’ve started selling my products or services?
If you want to start the trademark registration process before you are ready to start selling your products or services, then you would submit the trademark application on an “intent to use” basis. This tells the USPTO that you have a bona fide intention to start using the trademark in commerce in the near future.
Once your mark is approved, you’ll have 6 months to provide the USPTO with evidence that you are using the mark in commerce. If you aren’t ready within that 6 months, then you can request a 6-month deadline extension. The USPTO allows you to file a maximum of 5 extensions.
How long will it take to register my trademark?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how long it will take for a trademark to be approved. Every trademark is different and can get delayed at any point.
Generally speaking, however, you can expect the entire process to take anywhere from 12 to 18 months from trademark application submission to trademark approval.
One way to ensure the process goes as quickly as possible is to hire a trademark attorney. A trademark attorney knows the ins and outs of the trademark application process and is familiar with the USPTO. An attorney will do everything in their power to keep your application on track to a speedy approval.
Am I required to an attorney when dealing with the USPTO?
Whether or not you are required to hire a trademark attorney depends on where you are domiciled.
If you are foreign-domiciled, then you must be represented at the USPTO by an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the United States.
If you are domiciled in the United States or its territories (such as Guam or Puerto Rico), then you are not required to hire an attorney. However, the USPTO highly recommends that you do work with a U.S.-licensed trademark attorney whenever dealing with trademark matters to ensure your best interest are protected.
Can I trademark a word without having a product or service attached to it?
You definitely need to sell product or service in order to obtain a trademark. You can’t just copyright a name, slogan, or design without having a business, product, or service to attach it to.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Columbia Businesses
Located between St. Louis and Kansas City, Columbia Missouri (also known as CoMo to locals) is attracting a lot of attention lately. It boasts a hip downtown district with cafés, eclectic shops, a variety of restaurants, and historic attractions. Of course, CoMo is also home to the iconic University of Missouri, which has an enrollment of more than 30,000 students at any given time.
The secret is definitely out. Columbia is a place where small business owners and entrepreneurs can start successful ventures. Many new business owners in Columbia are focused on product development, hiring staff, and developing a marketing plan. These are all important things to do when starting a business, however, trademark registration should never be overlooked.
Imagine the following: Brenda is a graphic design major at the University of Missouri. During her final year, a friend asked her to design the invitations to her parent’s wedding anniversary celebration. Her design was a big hit with her friend and that gave Brenda the idea to start a side business designing invitations for parties, weddings, baby showers, and anything else. She could design the invitations right in her dorm room and send the files to a printing vendor.
Brenda calls her new business Inspired Invitations and sets up a website and social media accounts. She spends some money on digital advertising and prints up flyers to hang around the downtown area of Columbia.
Before she knows it, orders start coming in from Columbia residents, but after a few weeks, she gets orders from customers in Florida, Maine, New Jersey, and California. She’s surprised by how successful her new venture is.
However, Brenda is about to get some unsettling news. She receives a cease-and-desist letter from the attorney of an invitation shop in Milwaukee. The letter claims that Brenda is infringing on their trademark because the name of her business is too similar to theirs, Inspiration Invitations. The letter demands that Brenda shut down her operations and not resume her business until she comes up with a new name.
Brenda had no idea her side-hustle could lead her to inadvertently infringe on someone else’s trademark.
Even if your new business seems like a small-time operation, you should still work with an attorney to register your trademark with a USPTO. With a registered trademark, you can rest easy knowing that you’re not infringing on anyone else’s mark.
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 Columbia and yet it can assist businesses from Missouri in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Columbia 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.