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Los Angeles, California Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal, PLLC specializes in intellectual property protection and corporate law for startups, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Serving clients in Los Angeles, California, our trademark attorneys absolutely love helping companies protect their brand names and logos. On the most fundamental level, our goal is to provide our clients with exceptional legal guidance and support at cost-effective rates.
Top Questions Los Angeles Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
If I Only Provide My Services in Los Angeles, California, 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 Los Angeles, California, 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.
Can I Submit a Trademark Application Prior to Selling Any Products or Services?
You can submit a trademark application before you’re ready to bring your products or services to market. You would just need to indicate that you are filing your application on an “intent to use” basis. This tells the USPTO that you intend to use the mark but aren’t ready to yet.
If the trademark application is approved, then you’ll receive a Notice of Allowance (NOA) from the USPTO. That means you’ll have 6 months to either provide proof to the USPTO that you are using your trademark in commerce or request a 6-month extension. You are allowed up to 5 extension requests.
I Have Expanded My Business and Now Serve Customers Outside of Los Angeles, California – Can I Now File my Trademark Statement of Use?
Once your trademark is in use in inter-state commerce (meaning that you are selling your products/services to customers outside of the State of Los Angeles), you may file a Statement of Use with the USPTO to complete the registration process. If the statement of use is accepted, the USPTO will issue a registration certificate for the trademark. What is a Statement of Use? Simply, the statement of use must include a verified specimen showing the trademark being used in commerce, the date of the first use of the trademark in commerce, and a description of the goods or services associated with the trademark. The statement of use allows the USPTO to determine if the trademark is being used in compliance with the requirements of the Lanham Act and if it is eligible for registration.
If the statement of use is accepted, the USPTO will issue a registration certificate for the trademark, which provides the owner with exclusive rights to use the mark in connection with the identified goods or services.
As Far As I Know, No Other Businesses in Los Angeles Are Using My Name. Do I Need To Conduct A Trademark Search Before Filing My Application?
While there is no mandate that says you must conduct a trademark search before submitting your trademark application, it is undoubtedly wise to do so. Remember, you are about to file a Federal Trademark Application which means that even though no other businesses in Los Angeles, California may be using your name, it is possible that your name is in use in other States. A proper trademark search will help uncover any sufficiently similar trademarks, which may block the approval of your desired trademark.
How Long Does The Trademark Application Process Take?
It is important that you file your trademark application as soon as possible to obtain the earliest possible filing date.
Once you submit your application, you should hear back from the USPTO within 3 to 6 months. If your trademark is found to be eligible for registration, then it will take about an additional 2 months for it to be fully approved. So the entire process could take 5 to 8 months, roughly.
If your trademark is found to be ineligible for registration, the entire process could take much longer as you address issues that were outlined by the USPTO.
Can I Request An Expedited Approval Of My Trademark Registration?
Yes, it is possible to request expedited or accelerated processing of your trademark registration in certain circumstances. Many trademark offices offer expedited procedures to prioritize the examination and registration process. However, the availability and specific requirements for expedited processing can vary depending on the jurisdiction where you are seeking trademark registration.
Here are a few common scenarios where expedited processing may be available:
1. Special Circumstances: Some trademark offices provide expedited processing for specific situations, such as pending litigation involving the trademark, imminent product launches, or potential infringement issues. These circumstances are often evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
2. Fast-Track Programs: Several trademark offices have established fast-track or accelerated examination programs that allow applicants to expedite their trademark applications in exchange for an additional fee. These programs are typically designed to promote economic growth, encourage innovation, or support specific industries.
3. Madrid Protocol: If you are seeking international trademark protection through the Madrid System, there is an option to request expedited examination for your international application in certain member countries. The criteria and procedures for expedited processing may vary among individual countries.
It’s important to note that expedited processing usually requires a valid justification and, in some cases, an additional fee. The specific requirements and procedures for requesting expedited processing vary depending on the jurisdiction. It is advisable to consult the guidelines and regulations of the relevant trademark office or consult with a trademark attorney to determine if expedited processing is available and to understand the specific requirements and implications.
Submitting a well-prepared application with accurate and complete information, including the required fees and supporting documents, can help expedite the overall processing time of your trademark application, even if there is no specific expedited processing option available.
What is TEAS?
If you are a Los Angeles, California business owner and are ready to file a federal trademark application, you will be using TEAS. TEAS stands for the Trademark Electronic Application System. It is an online system developed by the USPTO that allows applicants to file and manage their trademark applications electronically.
Am I required to hire a U.S. licensed attorney to represent me at the USPTO?
If you’re a trademark applicant or registrant located within the United States or its territories, you actually don’t need to be represented by an attorney. You can deal with the USPTO yourself. However, the USPTO does strongly recommend that all trademark registrants hire a U.S.-licensed attorney to help guide them through the trademark application process.
If you are a trademark applicant located in a country outside of the United States, then you are required to be represented at the USPTO by an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the United States.
How Can A Trademark Attorney Help Me Enforce My Trademark Rights?
A trademark attorney can help you enforce your trademark rights in many ways. First of all, a trademark attorney can help you file a trademark application completely and correctly so that you get your mark registered as soon as possible.
Secondly, your attorney can monitor the market for anyone who may be infringing on your mark. If someone is infringing on your mark, then your attorney can provide counsel and represent you in court. An attorney can also help ensure that your trademark renewal applications are filed on time so that you never lose your mark.
Will The USPTO Let Me Know If a Third Party is Infringing On My Registered Trademark?
The USPTO does not take responsibility for policing instances of trademark infringement. If they did that, then they would have to keep track of millions of trademarks, which is unfeasible. The only role of the USPTO is to register your mark at the federal level. It is entirely your responsibility as the owner of the trademark to scan the market for infringement and take legal action when necessary. Most trademark attorneys, including Cohn Legal, offer trademark monitoring services and will alert you when possible infringement occurs and provide advice on how to handle it.
What is the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board?
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) exists to help resolve conflicts among trademark owners in these instances:
• A third party believes your existing or pending trademark is harming their business and should be cancelled.
• You want to appeal an examining attorney’s decision to reject your trademark application.
• You want to challenge a third party’s existing trademark or pending trademark.
All of these proceedings have specific procedures and strict deadlines that must be adhered to. Your best bet is to hire a trademark attorney to represent you.
When Should I Register My Trademark?
It is generally recommended to register your trademark as early as possible to secure legal protection and establish your rights. Here are some key points to consider when determining the timing for trademark registration:
1. Priority and Ownership: Trademark registration provides proof of your priority and ownership of the mark. In most jurisdictions, trademark rights are granted to the first person or entity to use the mark in commerce or the first to file a trademark application. By registering your trademark, you establish a legal presumption of ownership and can better protect your brand against potential infringers.
2. Prevention of Confusion: Registering your trademark helps prevent confusion among consumers by ensuring that your brand is distinct and not easily mistaken for others. The earlier you register, the better chance you have of securing exclusive rights to your mark and avoiding conflicts with existing trademarks.
3. Market Entry and Expansion: If you are planning to enter the market with a new product or service or expand your business into new territories, it is advisable to register your trademark before launching. This helps protect your brand from potential infringement issues and establishes your presence in the market.
4. Brand Reputation and Value: Trademarks can significantly contribute to the reputation and value of your brand. Registering your trademark early allows you to build brand recognition and establish a strong foundation for your business. It also provides a valuable asset that can be licensed, franchised, or sold in the future.
5. Legal Protection and Enforcement: Registering your trademark provides you with stronger legal protection and enforcement options in case of infringement. It allows you to take legal action against unauthorized use and seek remedies such as injunctions, damages, and attorney’s fees.
6. Avoiding Costs and Delays: Delaying trademark registration can potentially result in increased costs and complications. If someone else registers a similar mark before you, it could lead to legal disputes, rebranding expenses, and loss of business opportunities.
It’s important to note that some countries, including the United States, recognize common law trademark rights even without registration. However, these rights are generally limited to the geographic area where you have established the mark’s reputation and can be more difficult to enforce compared to registered trademarks.
Consulting with a trademark attorney or intellectual property professional is advisable when considering trademark registration. They can help assess the availability of your mark, guide you through the application process, and ensure that you meet the necessary requirements for registration.
What Should I Register First: My Business Name or My Logo?
Any experienced trademark attorney will tell you to register all of your trademarks at the same time using separate applications. Some business owners try to save money by registering just the logo if it contains the name of their business. However, that may backfire because if you ever want to change the design of your logo, then you risk losing protection for the name of your business as well. When in doubt, consult with a trademark attorney who can advise you on an appropriate trademark strategy.
Should I Hire a Trademark Attorney to Help Me Register My Trademark?
Whether or not you are required to hire an attorney depends on where you live.
If you’re living outside of the United States, then the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) actually requires that you hire an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the United States to represent you.
If you are living in the United States, then you aren’t required to hire a trademark attorney. However, it’s strongly recommended that you do hire an attorney who specializes in trademark law even if you do live within the United States. This is because your attorney will conduct a robust trademark search to ensure your mark isn’t too similar to an existing mark. In addition, your application will be submitted completely and accurately and will be more likely to move through the approval process more quickly.
Does My Business Need More Than One Trademark?
Whether your business needs more than one trademark depends on various factors, such as the scope of your operations, the diversity of your products or services, and your branding strategy. Here are some considerations to help you determine if multiple trademarks are necessary for your business:
1. Multiple Product or Service Categories: If your business offers a wide range of products or services across different categories, it may be beneficial to consider separate trademarks for each category. This can help protect the distinctiveness of your offerings and prevent confusion among consumers. For example, if you operate a clothing company and also provide consulting services, you might consider separate trademarks for your clothing line and your consulting services.
2. Brand Extensions: If your business plans to expand into new product or service areas, securing additional trademarks can be valuable. By obtaining separate trademarks for each new offering, you can protect the distinctiveness of your brand within each category and prevent potential conflicts with existing trademarks.
3. Geographic Expansion: If you plan to expand your business into different regions or countries, it may be advisable to consider trademarks that are specific to each jurisdiction. This can help ensure that your brand is protected in the markets where you operate, as trademark rights are typically territorial.
4. Sub-Brands or Product Lines: If your business has sub-brands or distinct product lines within your overall brand, you might consider obtaining separate trademarks for each sub-brand or product line. This allows you to protect and differentiate each component of your business, while maintaining a cohesive brand identity.
5. Licensing and Franchising: If you plan to license or franchise your brand, having multiple trademarks can be beneficial. It allows you to grant specific rights to different licensees or franchisees while maintaining control over your brand and ensuring consistency.
It’s important to note that obtaining and managing multiple trademarks can involve additional costs and administrative efforts. It’s advisable to consult with a trademark attorney or intellectual property professional who can assess your specific business needs, advise you on the appropriate trademark strategy, and guide you through the registration process.
Ultimately, the decision to obtain multiple trademarks depends on the nature of your business, the scope of your operations, and your long-term branding goals.
What is TEAS Used For?
TEAS is the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). This online portal enables you to quickly and easily submit your trademark application and other documents to the USPTO. You can also use this system to pay USPTO fees by using a credit card, electronic funds transfer, or through an existing USPTO deposit account.
What is a Trademark Office Action?
If the examining attorney at the USPTO decides that your desired trademark is ineligible for registration, or if the examiner requires additional information before deciding on the mark’s eligibility, you will receive an Office Action. A trademark office action is a written communication from the trademark examining attorney at the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to the applicant of a trademark application. The office action notifies the applicant of any issues or objections that the examining attorney has with the application.
An Office Action lists the reasons that your trademark application was rejected, which may include:
– Amendment of the identification of goods/services in an application required
– Substitute specimen required
– Likelihood of confusion
– Descriptiveness or misdescriptiveness
– Geographic significance
There are two types of trademark office actions: non-final and final. A non-final office action identifies any issues or objections that the examining attorney has with the application and provides the applicant with an opportunity to address and resolve these issues. The applicant must respond to the non-final office action within six months of the date of issuance.
What Should I Do If I Receive an Office Action on My Trademark Application?
If you receive an Office Action, then contact a trademark attorney. Office Actions can be complicated, and your trademark lawyer will help you determine the exact nature of the Office Action and what to do about it. If the issues are substantive, then your trademark attorney will need to draft a legal argument addressing the issues raised in the Office Action. If you decide to pursue your Office Action, one of our Los Angeles, California Trademark Lawyers will draft a response and send it to you for your review and approval. It will then be submitted to the USPTO within the allotted time to respond. If the examining attorney is satisfied with the applicant’s response to the non-final office action, the application may be approved for publication. However, if the issues or objections are not resolved to the examining attorney’s satisfaction, a final office action may be issued. A final office action is issued when the examining attorney determines that the applicant’s response to the non-final office action is insufficient or the issues or objections are not resolvable. The final office action is a final rejection of the trademark application, and the applicant must respond within six months or the application will be abandoned.
Is There a Difference Between a Trademark and a Servicemark?
Yes, there is a difference between a trademark and a servicemark, although the terms are often used interchangeably.
Trademarks and servicemarks are both types of intellectual property rights that protect distinctive signs used to identify and distinguish goods or services in the marketplace. The main distinction lies in the type of offerings they are associated with:
– Trademark: A trademark is typically used to identify and distinguish goods or products. It can be a word, phrase, logo, design, symbol, or any combination thereof that is used to distinguish the source of goods from those of others. For example, trademarks are used to identify brands of clothing, electronics, or food products.
– Servicemark: A servicemark is specifically used to identify and distinguish services provided by a business. It serves the same function as a trademark but applies to services rather than physical goods. Servicemarks can include words, logos, or other symbols that identify and distinguish the source of services. Examples of servicemarks can be found in various industries, such as telecommunications, banking, or hospitality, where companies offer services rather than tangible products.
In practice, the term “trademark” is often used generically to encompass both trademarks and servicemarks. Many countries, including the United States, do not make a legal distinction between trademarks and servicemarks, using the term “trademark” to refer to both types of marks. Therefore, the process and legal principles for obtaining and protecting trademarks and servicemarks are generally the same.
Whether referring to a mark used for goods or services, the purpose of obtaining trademark or servicemark protection is to establish exclusive rights, prevent confusion among consumers, and protect the reputation and goodwill associated with the mark.
How Can I Determine If a Trademark Is Available?
To determine if a trademark is available, you can follow these steps:
1. Conduct a Trademark Search: Start by conducting a comprehensive search to check if a similar or identical trademark already exists. You can perform a search on various platforms, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website or the trademark databases of other countries if you’re looking for international protection.
2. Check Similar Trademarks: Look for trademarks that are similar to your desired trademark in terms of spelling, pronunciation, or overall impression. Keep in mind that trademarks can be protected in specific classes of goods and services, so check for similarities in those relevant classes.
3. Hire a Trademark Attorney: If you’re serious about protecting your trademark and want to ensure a thorough search, it’s advisable to consult with a trademark attorney. They have expertise in conducting searches and can provide legal guidance throughout the process.
4. Conduct a Domain Name Search: Check if the domain name associated with your desired trademark is available. It’s important to have consistency between your trademark and domain name to establish a strong online presence.
5. Consider International Trademark Databases: If you plan to expand your business internationally, search trademark databases in countries where you intend to operate. This will help identify any conflicting trademarks in those jurisdictions.
6. Evaluate Common Law Trademarks: Keep in mind that trademark rights can exist even without formal registration, based on common law usage. While a comprehensive search should cover most registered trademarks, it’s still valuable to check for any unregistered trademarks that may pose a conflict.
7. Consult Legal Professionals: When in doubt or if you’re unsure about the search results, consult with a trademark attorney or legal professional. They can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision regarding the availability of your desired trademark.
Remember, conducting a thorough search and consulting with legal professionals are crucial steps to ensure the availability of a trademark. Obtaining a registered trademark provides stronger legal protection, but the search process helps identify potential conflicts or obstacles that may arise during the registration process.
If you need additional information, check out our resource here!
What is a Trademark Clearance Search?
A trademark clearance search, also known as a trademark availability search or trademark clearance opinion, is a comprehensive search conducted to determine if a particular trademark is available for use and registration. The purpose of this search is to identify potential conflicts with existing trademarks that could prevent the registration or use of the desired mark.
During a trademark clearance search, various sources are examined to identify trademarks that are similar or identical to the mark being searched. These sources typically include databases of registered trademarks, both at the national and international level, as well as common law trademarks (unregistered trademarks protected by common law usage).
The search aims to uncover any potential conflicts in terms of similarity in sound, appearance, or meaning, taking into account the goods or services associated with the trademarks. The search may also include checking domain names, business directories, and other sources where trademarks may be used.
A trademark clearance search helps determine the strength of a proposed mark and assesses the risk of infringing upon existing trademark rights. It provides valuable information to individuals and businesses seeking to register a trademark or use it in commerce, helping them make informed decisions about the viability and potential risks associated with their chosen mark.
What is the Official Gazette?
In the context of the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), the Official Gazette is a weekly publication that contains information related to trademarks and patents. Specifically, the Trademark Official Gazette is published every Tuesday and includes information about newly registered trademarks, trademarks that have been renewed, and trademarks that are available for opposition. The Trademark Official Gazette serves as a public notice of new and renewed trademarks, providing the public with an opportunity to oppose a trademark registration if they believe it may cause confusion with their own trademark. Once a trademark is published in the Official Gazette, interested parties have 30 days to file an opposition. In addition to information about trademark registrations, the Trademark Official Gazette may also contain other information related to trademark law and practice, including changes to trademark rules and procedures, notices of public meetings, and other announcements. The Patent Official Gazette, on the other hand, is published every Tuesday and contains information related to patents, including notices of new patents, patent reexaminations, and patent assignments. Both the Trademark Official Gazette and the Patent Official Gazette are important resources for anyone involved in trademark or patent law, including attorneys, applicants, and trademark or patent owners.
What is a Trademark’s Specimen?
A specimen is a sample of how you intend to use your trademark that you submit to the USPTO as part of your trademark application. It is submitted as part of a trademark application to the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) and serves as evidence that the trademark is being used in connection with the goods or services listed in the application. The purpose of the trademark specimen is to demonstrate to the USPTO that the trademark is being used in a way that identifies and distinguishes the applicant’s goods or services from those of others. The specimen must show the trademark in actual use, and not just in a mock-up or drawing. The type of specimen that is required depends on the nature of the goods or services for which the trademark is being used. For example, if the trademark is being used in connection with a physical product, a specimen may be a photograph or a label showing the trademark affixed to the product. If the trademark is being used in connection with a service, the specimen may be a brochure or advertisement that shows the trademark being used to promote the service. If you’re unsure what you should submit, then consult a Los Angeles, California trademark attorney.
Can I Use a Trademark Without Registering It?
Yes, you can use a trademark without registering it. Trademark rights can be established through common law usage, meaning that you acquire certain rights by simply using the mark in commerce to identify your goods or services.
Using a trademark without registration grants you what are known as common law rights. These rights can offer some level of protection in the geographic area where you have been using the mark. However, the scope and enforceability of common law rights are generally limited compared to registered trademarks.
Here are a few key points to consider regarding unregistered trademarks:
1. Limited Geographic Protection: Common law rights are typically limited to the geographic area where you have been using the mark. This means that someone else may be able to use the same or similar mark in a different location without infringing on your rights.
2. Limited Legal Protection: Unregistered trademarks may be more difficult to enforce and protect legally compared to registered trademarks. Without a registration, you may have a harder time proving your ownership of the mark and enforcing your rights in case of infringement.
3. Difficulty in Establishing Priority: Registering a trademark provides a clear record of your ownership and establishes a legal presumption of your exclusive rights. In contrast, without a registration, establishing your priority (i.e., the date you started using the mark) can be challenging if a conflict arises with another party claiming prior use.
4. Benefits of Registration: Registering your trademark with the relevant intellectual property office provides several advantages. It offers nationwide or international protection, strengthens your legal position, deters potential infringers, and provides a basis for legal action in case of infringement.
While you can use an unregistered trademark, it’s generally advisable to seek registration if you want to secure stronger legal protection and exclusive rights to your mark. Registering your trademark with the appropriate intellectual property office provides clearer and broader protection, making it easier to enforce your rights and prevent others from using similar marks in connection with similar goods or services.
Can I Trademark a Phrase?
Yes, it is possible to trademark a phrase under certain conditions. Trademarks can protect various types of intellectual property, including phrases, slogans, and taglines that are used to identify and distinguish goods or services in the marketplace. However, not all phrases are eligible for trademark protection.
To successfully trademark a phrase, it must meet the following criteria:
1. Distinctiveness: The phrase should be distinctive and not merely descriptive of the goods or services it represents. Phrases that are generic or too common are generally not eligible for trademark protection. Distinctiveness can be categorized into four levels: generic, descriptive, suggestive, and arbitrary/fanciful. The stronger the level of distinctiveness, the more likely the phrase is to be eligible for trademark protection.
2. Use in Commerce: You must use the phrase in commerce in connection with the goods or services you provide. This means the phrase should be used in a commercial context to identify and distinguish your offerings from those of others.
3. No Conflicts: Your chosen phrase should not conflict with any existing trademarks or prior rights. It’s important to conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure that the phrase you want to trademark is not already in use or too similar to existing trademarks in the relevant industry.
4. Functionality: Phrases that serve a purely functional purpose or are essential to the goods or services being offered are generally not eligible for trademark protection. Trademarks are intended to identify the source of goods or services and should not impede fair competition.
It’s worth noting that obtaining trademark protection for a phrase can sometimes be more challenging compared to distinctive words, logos, or designs. The distinctiveness and uniqueness of the phrase play a crucial role in determining the likelihood of successful registration.
If you’re considering trademarking a phrase, it’s advisable to consult with a trademark attorney who can guide you through the process, assess the distinctiveness of your phrase, conduct a comprehensive trademark search, and assist with the application process to maximize your chances of obtaining trademark protection.
Can I Trademark a Logo?
Yes, you can trademark a logo. In fact, logos are one of the most common types of trademarks that are registered with intellectual property offices worldwide. A logo can be a unique and valuable representation of your brand, and trademark protection helps you establish and safeguard your rights in that logo.
To successfully trademark a logo, it should meet the following requirements:
1. Distinctiveness: Your logo should be distinctive and capable of identifying and distinguishing your goods or services from those of others. A distinctive logo is more likely to receive trademark protection. Logos that are too generic or merely descriptive may face challenges in obtaining trademark registration.
2. Use in Commerce: You must use the logo in commerce to identify and promote your goods or services. The logo should be associated with the goods or services you provide in a commercial context. Actual use of the logo in commerce is generally required for obtaining trademark registration.
3. No Conflicts: It’s important to conduct a thorough search to ensure that your logo does not conflict with any existing trademarks or prior rights. The search helps identify any similar or identical logos already registered or in use in the relevant industry.
4. Design Format: When applying for a trademark registration, you will need to submit a representation of your logo in a specific design format. This could be a stylized or graphic representation of your logo. The design format should accurately depict the distinctive features of your logo.
Trademark registration provides several advantages for your logo, including:
1. Exclusive Rights: Trademark registration grants you exclusive rights to use the logo in connection with the goods or services specified in the registration.
2. Legal Protection: Registered trademarks receive stronger legal protection and are easier to enforce against potential infringers.
3. Brand Recognition: A registered trademark helps establish brand recognition and can be a valuable asset for your business.
To ensure the successful trademark registration of your logo, it’s advisable to consult with a trademark attorney or intellectual property professional. They can assist you in conducting a comprehensive search, preparing the necessary application documents, and guiding you through the registration process to maximize your chances of obtaining trademark protection for your logo.
Can I Trademark a Color?
Yes, it is possible to trademark a color under certain circumstances, but it is generally more challenging compared to trademarking a word, phrase, or logo. To successfully trademark a color, you must demonstrate that the color has acquired distinctiveness or secondary meaning in the minds of consumers, associating it specifically with your goods or services.
Here are a few key points to consider when seeking to trademark a color:
1. Acquired Distinctiveness: To obtain trademark protection for a color, you must show that the color has acquired distinctiveness or secondary meaning. This means that consumers have come to recognize the color as an identifier of the source of the goods or services. Typically, this requires evidence of long and exclusive use of the color in connection with your brand.
2. Inherently Distinctive Colors: In some cases, certain colors may be considered inherently distinctive, such as a unique color that is not commonly associated with the goods or services in question. However, it is generally more challenging to argue for inherent distinctiveness for a single color.
3. Functionality: Colors that serve a functional purpose or are commonly used in an industry may not be eligible for trademark protection. Trademarks are intended to identify the source of goods or services and should not hinder fair competition.
4. Trade Dress: In some instances, a color may be protected as part of a broader trade dress claim. Trade dress refers to the overall appearance and packaging of a product or service that can be distinctive and recognizable. If the color is an integral part of the overall trade dress and consumers associate it with your brand, it may be eligible for protection.
It’s important to note that trademark laws vary between jurisdictions, and the requirements for color trademarks can differ. In some countries, like the United States, color trademarks have been granted in certain cases, while in other jurisdictions, they may be more difficult to obtain.
If you are considering trademarking a color, it is recommended to consult with a trademark attorney who can guide you through the process, assess the distinctiveness of the color, provide advice on the legal requirements, and assist with gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim of acquired distinctiveness.
Can I Transfer My Trademark to Someone Else?
Yes, it is possible to transfer or assign your trademark to someone else. Trademark ownership can be transferred through a process called trademark assignment. This allows you to transfer your rights, title, and interest in the trademark to another party, whether it’s an individual or a business entity.
Here are the key points to consider when transferring your trademark:
1. Written Agreement: The transfer of a trademark typically requires a written agreement between the current owner (assignor) and the new owner (assignee). This agreement is often referred to as a trademark assignment agreement or assignment deed. It should clearly state the details of the transfer, including the mark being assigned, the rights being transferred, and any conditions or limitations associated with the transfer.
2. Recordation with Trademark Office: In many jurisdictions, including the United States, it is advisable to record the trademark assignment with the relevant trademark office. While recordation is not always mandatory, it helps establish a public record of the transfer, ensuring that the new owner’s rights are recognized by the trademark office and third parties.
3. Goodwill and Associated Assets: When transferring a trademark, the assignment agreement may also cover the transfer of associated goodwill and other assets related to the mark, such as customer lists or domain names. This helps ensure a more comprehensive transfer of the trademark rights.
4. Verification of Ownership: Before transferring a trademark, it’s important to verify that you are the rightful owner of the mark and have the authority to assign it. This typically involves confirming that the trademark is registered in your name or that you have valid common law rights in the mark.
5. Consultation with Professionals: It is advisable to consult with a trademark attorney or intellectual property professional when transferring a trademark. They can guide you through the legal requirements, assist in drafting the assignment agreement, and ensure a smooth and valid transfer of the trademark rights.
By transferring your trademark to someone else, you are relinquishing your rights in the mark, and the new owner will assume those rights and responsibilities. It’s important to ensure that the transfer is properly documented and legally recognized to protect the interests of both parties involved in the assignment process.
Can I License My Trademark to Others?
Yes, you can license your trademark to others. Licensing allows you, as the trademark owner (licensor), to grant permission to another party (licensee) to use your trademark in connection with specific goods or services, while still retaining ownership of the trademark.
Here are some important points to consider when licensing your trademark:
1. Licensing Agreement: A licensing agreement is a legally binding contract that governs the terms and conditions of the trademark license. It outlines the rights and obligations of both the licensor and the licensee. The agreement should clearly define the scope of the license, including the specific goods or services covered, geographic territory, duration, quality control provisions, and any royalties or fees associated with the license.
2. Quality Control: As the trademark owner, you have the right to maintain quality control over the goods or services associated with your trademark. The licensing agreement should include provisions that allow you to monitor and enforce quality standards to protect the integrity and reputation of the trademark.
3. Exclusive or Non-Exclusive License: You have the option to grant an exclusive or non-exclusive license. An exclusive license gives the licensee the sole right to use the trademark within the defined scope, while a non-exclusive license allows multiple licensees to use the trademark simultaneously.
4. Recordation with Trademark Office: While it may not be mandatory in all jurisdictions, it can be beneficial to record the trademark license with the relevant trademark office. Recording the license helps establish a public record of the license and ensures that the licensee’s rights are recognized by the trademark office and third parties.
5. Consultation with Professionals: It is advisable to consult with a trademark attorney or intellectual property professional when drafting a licensing agreement. They can assist in ensuring that the agreement complies with applicable laws, protects your interests as the licensor, and helps you establish proper control over the use of your trademark.
Licensing your trademark can be a strategic way to generate revenue, expand your brand’s reach, and leverage the value of your trademark while maintaining ownership. A well-drafted licensing agreement helps establish clear guidelines and protects both parties’ rights, ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship.
How Do I Enforce My Trademark Rights?
Enforcing your trademark rights is important to protect your brand and prevent unauthorized use of your trademark by others. Here are the key steps to take when enforcing your trademark rights:
1. Monitoring and Detection: Regularly monitor the marketplace for any potential infringement or unauthorized use of your trademark. This can include conducting online searches, monitoring competitors, reviewing industry publications, and keeping an eye on relevant marketplaces.
2. Gather Evidence: If you identify a potential infringement, gather evidence to support your claim. This may include collecting examples of the unauthorized use of your trademark, such as screenshots, photographs, or samples of the infringing products or services. Document the date and location of the infringing activities.
3. Consult with a Trademark Attorney: It is advisable to consult with a trademark attorney who specializes in intellectual property law. They can provide legal advice, assess the strength of your case, and guide you through the enforcement process.
4. Cease and Desist Letter: A cease and desist letter is a formal communication sent to the infringing party, demanding that they stop using your trademark. The letter should outline your rights in the trademark, provide evidence of infringement, and request that they immediately cease all infringing activities. It is often a first step in attempting to resolve the issue without resorting to litigation.
5. Negotiation and Settlement: In some cases, negotiation and settlement discussions may be initiated to resolve the dispute. This can involve discussions with the infringing party to reach an agreement that includes ceasing the unauthorized use of the trademark, potentially paying damages or royalties, or entering into a licensing arrangement.
6. Trademark Opposition or Cancellation: If the infringement persists or the parties are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution, you may consider filing a trademark opposition or cancellation proceeding. This is a formal legal process that challenges the validity or registration of the infringing party’s trademark.
7. Legal Action: In situations where negotiation or administrative procedures are not successful, you may need to initiate legal action by filing a trademark infringement lawsuit in the appropriate court. This is typically a last resort and should be done in consultation with your trademark attorney.
Enforcing trademark rights can be a complex process, and it’s important to seek professional legal advice to navigate the specific circumstances of your case. A trademark attorney can guide you through the enforcement options available, help you develop a strategy, and take the necessary steps to protect and defend your trademark rights.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Los Angeles Businesses
Los Angeles has long been a hub for commerce, making it an attractive location for entrepreneurs and new business owners. Many young business owners in the Bay Area have big dreams, but limited funds to launch their new venture. They may be tempted to skip the trademark registration process in order to save some money. However, that usually turns out to be a costly mistake.
Consider this scenario: Devon is a bike enthusiast and loves the Bay Area. He decides to combine his passions into a new business. He moves forward with opening up a bike rental shop. He’ll rent bikes to tourists and also conduct guided bike tours. Devon comes up with the perfect name, Bay Area Bikes.
A friend asks Devon if he’s going to trademark the name, but Devon says he’s got too much work to do and he’ll worry about that later. He gets to work ordering signage for his store, adding his logo to his fleet of bikes, creating a website, and printing maps of the city with his logo on it.
Devon is in business for 4 months and he’s doing quite well. He’s thinking that he may hire an employee to help conduct tours but then gets some upsetting news. There is a custom bike shop called Bay Area Bikes opening up near Devon’s shop in the next month. The custom bike shop secured the trademark to their name a year ago when they started planning their venture. They send Devon a cease-and-desist letter and even threaten legal action.
Now Devon must shut down his new business, create a new name, and rebrand everything. That’s an expensive and time-consuming proposition. Plus, he’ll likely lose many of the customers he’s gained.
It’s never too early to register your trademark. 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 Los Angeles and yet it can assist businesses from California in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Los Angeles 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.