Trademark Attorney Services
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for Grand Rapids MI
Grand Rapids, Michigan Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Serving clients in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cohn Legal, PLLC is a specialized law firm that focuses on trademark protection and intellectual property law matters for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Our team of attorneys has the experience, skills, and knowledge to provide outstanding legal counsel and representation. We’re ready to help you build your trademark from the ground up, protect your established trademarks, and everything in between.
Top 7 Questions Grand Rapids Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
What is a merely descriptive trademark?
Descriptive trademarks are those that describe a feature or characteristic of your product or services. Descriptive trademarks are generally considered to be “weak” trademarks and are often rejected by the USPTO.
Some examples of descriptive trademarks are:
- “Creamy” for a brand of ice cream
- “Salty” for a brand of pretzels
- “Soft” for a brand of sweaters
None of the above would be accepted by the USPTO.
How can I determine if my desired trademark is available for me to use?
To find out if your desired trademark is available for you to use, your attorney would complete a clearance search. A clearance search involves 2 parts:
- A preliminary knock-out search, which is a check of the Federal Trademark records. If the trademark you want is already registered by someone else, you’ll need to choose a new trademark.
- A full search, which includes a knock-out search, but also involves reviewing state trademark registrations, common law sources, and internet sources.
Is my trademark valid only within the United States?
Yes, a trademark registered in the United States is valid only in the 50 U.S. states and U.S. territories. Other countries have their own processes for obtaining trademark protections within their borders. Speak to a trademark attorney for more information about international trademarks.
How can I check the status of my trademark application once it’s been submitted?
Once your application is submitted to the USPTO, you’ll get a serial number. You can use the serial number to determine where your application is in the approval process.
- Visit the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval System (TSDR) and enter your serial number.
- Call the Trademark Assistance Center at 800-786-9199 and provide them with the serial number.
What are the benefits of hiring a trademark attorney?
There are many benefits to hiring a trademark attorney. Your attorney will:
- Conduct a clearance search to ensure that no marks similar to your desired mark exist.
- Prepare and submit your trademark application.
- Respond to Office Actions from the USPTO.
- File maintenance documents by the required deadlines.
- Ensure no other entities are infringing on your trademark rights.
- Represent you in federal court, and in front of the USPTO if needed.
- Provide legal advice and guidance about your trademarks and intellectual property.
Does registering my trademark protect my business?
Registering your trademark is an important part of protecting your business. Here’s why. Once you register your trademark, your business gains the presumption of nationwide validity. That means, if someone is infringing on your mark, you can file a federal lawsuit against them. Your trademark certificate is all the proof you’ll need to show the courts that you are the rightful owner of the trademark.
What is the Trademark Official Gazette?
If your trademark application is approved by an examining attorney, then your trademark is approved for publication in the Trademark Official Gazette—the official publication of the USPTO which is released every Tuesday.
Once it appears in the Official Gazette, any member of the public who feels they may be harmed by the approval of your mark has 30 days to come forward and oppose it. Typically, the oppose will file a Notice of Opposition, which starts proceedings with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).
If no one opposes the mark within 30 days, then your trademark moves to the final stages of approval.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Grand Rapids Businesses
Grand Rapids, Michigan is developing a reputation as a year-round vacation destination, with great hotels, a wealth of art museums and galleries, excellent dining, and incredible outdoor recreation opportunities.
Smart entrepreneurs know that Grand Rapids is ripe with opportunity. Small business owners in the area have a do-it-yourself work ethic. The one thing they should not try to do themselves, however, is trademark registration.
Imagine the following: Carolina loves the outdoors and whitewater rafting down the Grand River. She and a few friends are pooling their resources to start their own whitewater rafting business. They see so many tourists in the area they think there’s a real opportunity.
The friends agree on the name Grand Rapids Rafting Crew for their business. Carolina conducts a quick Google search for the name. No matches pop up in her area so she tells her friends they are free to use the name.
They get to work developing marketing materials, designing a website, and creating a social media campaign. In addition, they order tubes, rafts, and life jackets all with the business name and logo printed right on them.
Soon enough, the friends are ready to start taking tourists on wild adventures down the river. The business really takes off as they get the reputation for being the most fun river tour group in the area.
Unfortunately, their good fortune is about to come to an end. A cease-and-desist letter arrives in Carolina’s mailbox. It turns out that there’s a river rafting company in Grand Rapids Minnesota, with the name Grand Rapids Rafting Company, which is very similar to the name of Carolina’s business.
Carolina’s Google search never pulled up the Minnesota business since she only searched for the exact name of her business “Grand Rapids Rafting Crew” in her immediate area. Since the Minnesota business trademarked their name, they have every right to ask Carolina and her friends to stop doing business and not reopen until they rebrand their business.
It’s simply not enough to search for your desired business name on the internet. To make sure that the trademark you want is available for use, you must work with a trademark attorney who can conduct a full clearance search before submitting a trademark application to the USPTO.
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 Grand Rapids and yet it can assist businesses from Michigan in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Grand Rapids 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.