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Lubbock, Texas Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal, PLLC is a law firm that focuses on providing startups in Lubbock, Texas, and all 50 states with outstanding legal counsel and guidance on trademark and intellectual property rights and protections. Our experienced trademark attorneys absolutely love helping entrepreneurs build and protect their brands. Whether it’s trademark prosecutions, transactional work, or any other intellectual property law matters, we’re here for you.
Top Questions Lubbock Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
If I Only Provide My Services in Lubbock, Texas, 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 Lubbock, Texas, 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 a form of intellectual property that helps protect and distinguish a company’s products or services from those of others. It can be a word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these elements that serves as a unique identifier for a business. By registering a trademark, the owner obtains exclusive rights to use that mark in connection with their goods or services, and can take legal action against others who infringe upon those rights.
Trademarks play a crucial role in building brand recognition and reputation. They allow consumers to identify and differentiate products or services in the marketplace. For example, think of famous trademarks like the Nike swoosh or the Apple logo. These instantly recognizable symbols represent the respective companies and their associated quality and reputation.
Trademarks are essential assets for businesses as they can be protected not only in the country of registration but also in other jurisdictions. They provide legal protection against unauthorized use, counterfeiting, or confusingly similar marks that may dilute the brand’s distinctiveness or deceive consumers.
It’s important to note that trademarks are distinct from copyrights and patents. Copyrights protect original works of authorship such as literary, artistic, or musical creations, while patents protect inventions and new technologies. Trademarks specifically focus on protecting the branding elements that identify and distinguish goods or services.
In summary, a trademark is a valuable asset that helps companies protect their brand identity, build customer loyalty, and prevent others from using similar marks that could create confusion in the marketplace. By registering a trademark, a business gains exclusive rights to use that mark and can take legal action against infringement.
Why should I register my trademark?
Registering your trademark has many benefits:
- The trademark gets listed in the USPTO’s database of registered and pending trademarks. If anyone searches for a mark that’s similar to yours, they’ll find your mark and know that they’ll have to create a more unique mark before trying to file an application.
- You’ll have the right to bring a lawsuit concerning your trademark to federal court. That means, if you believe someone is infringing on your mark anywhere in the 50 U.S. states, you can sue them without having to leave your home state.
- You are the presumed owner of the trademark. Your trademark registration alone is sufficient proof in federal court that you own the trademark. There’s no need to gather a large volume of evidence.
- You can use your trademark registration as the basis for registering your trademark in countries outside of the United States.
- You have the right to use the trademark registration symbol, ®, with your trademark. This shows that your mark is registered with the USPTO and serves as a deterrent to anyone who may attempt to infringe on your mark.
Is there a difference between a trademark and service mark?
Yes, there is a difference between a trademark and a service mark, although the underlying concept is similar. Trademarks and service marks both serve to identify and distinguish the source of goods or services. The main distinction lies in the type of offering they represent.
A trademark is typically associated with products or goods. It is used to protect brand names, logos, or symbols that are used in connection with tangible goods. For instance, a trademark can be used to protect a specific brand of clothing, electronics, or food products. When you see a trademark on a product, it indicates the origin of that product and assures consumers of its quality and authenticity.
On the other hand, a service mark is specifically used to identify and distinguish services provided by a business. It covers services offered by professionals, consultants, businesses, and other service providers. Examples of service marks include the logos or names associated with legal services, accounting firms, advertising agencies, and consulting companies.
The distinction between trademarks and service marks is important because different registration classes and application forms may be required depending on whether you are seeking protection for a product or a service. However, it’s worth noting that in some jurisdictions, including the United States, the term “trademark” is often used generically to refer to both trademarks and service marks.
In summary, the main difference between a trademark and a service mark lies in the type of offering they represent. Trademarks are associated with products, while service marks are specifically used for services. Both provide legal protection and help businesses establish their unique identity in the marketplace. When seeking protection, it’s important to determine whether your business falls under the category of goods or services to ensure you file the appropriate trademark or service mark application.
What’s the difference between the ® and TM symbols?
The ® symbol and the TM symbol are used to indicate different levels of trademark protection and registration status.
The TM symbol, which stands for “trademark,” is commonly used to indicate that a particular word, phrase, logo, or symbol is being claimed as a trademark, even if it hasn’t been officially registered with the appropriate trademark office. It can be used freely by individuals or businesses to put others on notice that they consider a certain mark to be their trademark. While the TM symbol doesn’t confer any legal rights on its own, it still helps establish a claim of ownership and provides some level of protection against potential infringers.
On the other hand, the ® symbol, which stands for “registered trademark,” is used to indicate that a trademark has been officially registered and approved by the appropriate trademark office, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The ® symbol can only be used for marks that have undergone the registration process and have been granted formal legal protection. It serves as notice to the public that the mark is registered and provides the owner with exclusive rights to use the mark in connection with the registered goods or services.
Using the ® symbol without a valid registration can be misleading and potentially illegal, as it implies that the mark is officially registered when it is not. Doing so may result in penalties or legal consequences. It’s important to note that the availability of the ® symbol may vary depending on the jurisdiction, as some countries may have different symbols or requirements for registered marks.
In summary, the TM symbol is used to indicate that a mark is being claimed as a trademark, even if it is not officially registered. It provides some level of protection and establishes a claim of ownership. The ® symbol, on the other hand, is used exclusively for marks that have been officially registered with the appropriate trademark office and indicates full legal protection and exclusive rights for the owner. It’s essential to use these symbols accurately and in accordance with the applicable trademark laws in your jurisdiction.
How can I determine if a trademark is available?
Determining the availability of a trademark involves conducting a comprehensive trademark search to assess the likelihood of conflicts with existing trademarks. This is a crucial step before proceeding with the registration process. Here are some key steps to help you determine if a trademark is available:
- Preliminary Search: Begin by conducting a preliminary search on online databases, such as the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), to identify any identical or similar trademarks already registered or pending. This search will give you a general idea of existing marks that could potentially conflict with your proposed mark.
- Comprehensive Search: To perform a more thorough search, consider engaging the services of a professional trademark attorney or a specialized trademark search firm. They have access to extensive databases and resources to conduct a comprehensive search, including searching for similar marks, variations, or phonetically similar marks across multiple jurisdictions. They can also provide a detailed analysis of the search results.
- Trademark Clearance Opinion: Based on the search results, a trademark attorney can provide a clearance opinion that assesses the availability and potential risks associated with your proposed mark. They can identify potential conflicts and advise on the likelihood of successfully registering and protecting your mark.
- Considerations: When evaluating the availability of a trademark, it’s important to consider factors such as the similarity of the marks, the relatedness of the goods or services, and the likelihood of confusion in the marketplace. Trademark law considers both identical and similar marks that could cause consumer confusion.
- International Considerations: If you plan to expand your business internationally, it’s crucial to conduct searches in the relevant jurisdictions to ensure your mark is available and not infringing on existing trademarks in those countries. International trademark searches can be complex, and consulting with an attorney experienced in international trademark law is recommended.
Remember, a comprehensive trademark search is a crucial step to minimize the risk of infringing on existing trademarks. Consulting with a trademark attorney throughout the process can provide valuable guidance and ensure that you make informed decisions regarding the availability and registration of your trademark.
In summary, determining the availability of a trademark requires conducting both a preliminary search on online databases and a comprehensive search with the assistance of a trademark attorney or search firm. A thorough search and clearance opinion will help identify potential conflicts and provide guidance on the likelihood of successfully registering and protecting your mark.
Do I need to sell a product or service to obtain a registered trademark?
No, you do not necessarily need to sell a product or service in order to obtain a registered trademark. Trademark protection can be obtained for both goods and services, but the requirement to demonstrate actual sales or use of the mark can vary depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances. Here are a few key points to consider:
Intent to Use (ITU) Application: In some countries, including the United States, you can file an Intent to Use (ITU) application. This allows you to secure a priority filing date for your mark before you have actually used it in commerce. However, you will need to provide evidence of actual use before the mark can be registered. This approach is beneficial if you are in the process of developing a product or service and want to secure trademark rights early on.
Actual Use Requirement: In many jurisdictions, including the United States, actual use of the mark in commerce is generally required for registration. This means you must provide evidence that the mark is being used in connection with the sale of goods or the provision of services in the marketplace. The level of use required may vary, but typically it involves using the mark in a consistent and bona fide manner to identify your goods or services.
Specimen of Use: When applying for trademark registration, you may be required to submit a specimen of use. This is a sample or evidence that shows how the mark is being used in commerce. For goods, a specimen may be a label, packaging, or a photograph showing the mark displayed on the actual product. For services, a specimen may be a website screenshot, advertising materials, or other documentation that demonstrates the mark’s use in connection with the services offered.
It’s worth noting that even if you haven’t made any sales or provided services yet, but you have a genuine intention to do so in the future, you may still be able to obtain trademark protection. However, it’s important to consult with a trademark attorney to ensure compliance with the specific requirements of your jurisdiction and to develop an appropriate trademark filing strategy based on your business plans.
In summary, while actual use of a mark in commerce is generally required for trademark registration, it is possible to obtain trademark protection even if you haven’t started selling products or providing services. Intent to Use applications and other strategies can be used to secure priority filing dates, allowing you to protect your mark while you develop your business. Consulting with a trademark attorney can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation and jurisdiction to ensure you meet the necessary requirements.
If I only provide my services locally, can I still obtain a federal trademark?
Yes, it is possible to obtain a federal trademark even if you only provide services locally. In the United States, trademark rights are primarily based on use rather than geographic scope. Therefore, as long as you meet the other requirements for trademark registration, you can seek federal protection for your service mark, regardless of whether your services are limited to a specific geographic area.
When filing a trademark application, you will need to specify the geographic scope of your services. If your services are limited to a particular locality, you can indicate that in your application. However, keep in mind that obtaining a federal trademark registration provides broader protection and benefits, even if your services are primarily local. Here are a few key points to consider:
- Basis for Registration: In the United States, you can file a trademark application based on either actual use in commerce or intent to use (ITU). If you are currently providing services locally, you can file an application based on actual use, as long as you can demonstrate that the mark is used in connection with the services you provide.
- Intra-state Commerce: While federal trademark protection is not contingent on engaging in interstate or international commerce, it is important to note that the U.S. Trademark Act regulates commerce that may impact interstate or international trade. Therefore, even if your services are limited to a specific local area, if there is any impact on interstate commerce (e.g., customers or clients from other states), you may still qualify for federal trademark protection.
- Expanding Services: If you plan to expand your services beyond your local area in the future, securing federal trademark registration early on can provide broader protection as you grow your business. It also prevents others from using confusingly similar marks in a broader geographic scope.
- State Trademark Registration: If your services are strictly confined to a specific state or locality, you may also consider obtaining state-level trademark registration to supplement your federal protection. State registrations can provide additional rights and remedies within the specific jurisdiction where the mark is registered.
Consulting with a trademark attorney is highly recommended when seeking federal trademark protection. They can guide you through the application process, evaluate the scope of your services, and help you understand the implications of both federal and state registration options based on your specific circumstances and future business plans.
In summary, even if you provide services locally, you can still obtain federal trademark protection in the United States. Geographic limitations can be indicated in your application, but obtaining federal registration offers broader protection and benefits, especially if there are any connections to interstate or international commerce. Consulting with a trademark attorney will ensure that you navigate the registration process effectively and understand the best strategy for your specific situation.
What should I register first: the name of my business or my brand logo?
When it comes to trademark registration, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you should register the name of your business or your brand logo first. The decision depends on various factors, including your business goals, the distinctive elements of your brand, and how you plan to use them in the marketplace. Here are some points to consider:
- Brand Identity: Assess the core elements of your brand identity. Is your business name more important in establishing your brand recognition, or is it the visual representation of your brand through the logo that plays a significant role? Understanding which element carries more distinctiveness and recognition can help prioritize which one to register first.
- Name Availability: Conduct a comprehensive search to determine the availability of both your business name and logo. This search will help identify potential conflicts with existing trademarks. If either the name or logo faces significant obstacles in terms of availability, it may be wise to prioritize the registration of the more distinctive and available element.
- Business Activities: Consider how you plan to use your brand elements in your business activities. If your business name will be displayed prominently in marketing materials, signage, and advertising, registering the name can provide broader protection. On the other hand, if your logo is a unique and recognizable design that will be prominently displayed on products, packaging, or digital platforms, registering the logo may be more crucial.
- Flexibility and Adaptability: Evaluate the flexibility and adaptability of your brand. If you anticipate potential changes to your business name or plan to introduce variations of your logo in the future, it may be beneficial to prioritize registering a more adaptable and versatile element first. This can provide a foundation for protecting different iterations of your brand identity.
- Comprehensive Protection: Ideally, you should eventually aim to register both your business name and your brand logo to ensure comprehensive protection. Registering both can provide broader coverage and prevent others from using similar names or logos that may cause confusion in the marketplace. However, budget and timing considerations may influence the order in which you pursue registration.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to register your business name or brand logo first depends on your specific circumstances and priorities. Consulting with a trademark attorney can provide valuable guidance tailored to your situation. They can help assess the distinctiveness and availability of your brand elements and develop a registration strategy that aligns with your business goals and future plans.
In summary, there is no definitive answer to whether you should register your business name or brand logo first. Consider the distinctiveness, availability, and importance of each element to your brand identity. Ultimately, the goal should be to register both to achieve comprehensive protection for your brand. Consulting with a trademark attorney can help you navigate the registration process and make informed decisions based on your unique circumstances.
What is a fanciful trademark?
A fanciful trademark is a type of trademark that consists of a made-up or coined word, phrase, or symbol that has no dictionary meaning or connection to the products or services it represents. Fanciful marks are considered to be the strongest and most distinctive types of trademarks because they are inherently unique and have a high level of inherent distinctiveness.
Unlike descriptive or generic marks, which directly describe the products or services they represent, fanciful marks are created solely for the purpose of functioning as a trademark. They are often unique, creative, and easily distinguishable from other marks in the marketplace. Fanciful trademarks can be highly memorable and can effectively build brand recognition and consumer association.
Examples of fanciful trademarks include well-known brands like Xerox, Kodak, and Exxon. These words had no prior meaning before they were adopted as trademarks, and they have no connection to the products or services they represent. The distinctiveness and uniqueness of these marks allow the companies to establish a strong brand identity and prevent others from using similar marks that could cause confusion among consumers.
From a legal perspective, fanciful trademarks are considered to have a high degree of inherent distinctiveness and are afforded a higher level of protection under trademark law. They are easier to register and enforce because they are less likely to be similar to existing marks or to be considered descriptive or generic.
When considering a fanciful trademark for your business, it’s important to ensure that the mark is not confusingly similar to any existing trademarks in your industry. Conducting a comprehensive trademark search and consulting with a trademark attorney can help determine the availability and registrability of your fanciful mark.
In summary, a fanciful trademark is a unique and coined word, phrase, or symbol that has no prior meaning and is specifically created to function as a trademark. Fanciful marks are highly distinctive and provide strong brand recognition and protection. They are inherently unique and easier to register and enforce compared to descriptive or generic marks. When considering a fanciful mark for your business, conducting a thorough search and seeking legal advice is recommended to ensure its availability and protectability.
What is TEAS?
TEAS stands for the Trademark Electronic Application System, which is an online platform provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for submitting trademark applications and related documents electronically. It is the primary system used for filing trademark applications in the United States.
The TEAS system offers several different application forms tailored to various types of trademarks and filing scenarios. The main types of TEAS forms include:
- TEAS Plus: This form is the most cost-effective option for applicants who meet certain requirements. It has specific filing requirements and fees that are lower compared to other TEAS forms. To use TEAS Plus, applicants must agree to certain conditions, such as submitting all documents electronically and selecting goods or services from pre-approved USPTO lists.
- TEAS RF: This form is used for filing a regular TEAS application, which offers more flexibility in terms of the goods and services descriptions. It requires slightly higher fees compared to TEAS Plus but does not have the same strict requirements.
- TEAS Regular: This form is used for filing a regular TEAS application, similar to TEAS RF, but with paper correspondence instead of electronic correspondence.
- TEAS Renewal: This form is used for renewing existing trademark registrations.
The TEAS system provides a user-friendly interface that guides applicants through the trademark application process, allowing them to enter information, upload necessary documents, and pay application fees online. It also provides resources and assistance to help applicants understand the requirements and procedures for filing a trademark application.
Using the TEAS system offers several advantages, such as faster processing times, immediate filing date confirmation, and the ability to track the status of the application online. It also facilitates electronic communication with the USPTO, making the application process more efficient.
It’s important to note that while the TEAS system is primarily used for trademark applications in the United States, other countries may have their own electronic application systems specific to their respective trademark offices.
In summary, TEAS is the Trademark Electronic Application System provided by the USPTO. It is an online platform that allows applicants to electronically file trademark applications, renewals, and related documents. The TEAS system offers different forms tailored to various filing scenarios and provides several advantages, including faster processing times and online tracking. It simplifies the trademark application process and facilitates communication with the USPTO.
How do I register a trademark?
In order to register a trademark, you need to submit a trademark application through the Trademark Electronic Application System, or TEAS.
After the application is submitted, the examining attorney at the USPTO will evaluate the distinctiveness of your desired mark. If your mark isn’t distinctive enough, then it won’t be eligible for trademark protection.
Then, the attorney will search the USPTO database to see if there are any other marks that are similar to your desired mark already in existence. If a similar mark is found, then your application will be denied.
Assuming that your mark is distinct and unique, the attorney will approve the application. Next, the trademark will get published in the USPTO’s Official Gazette for a 30-day opposition period. During that 30 days, any party that can come forward with a legitimate complaint about your mark may file an “opposition” complaint.
If no oppositions are filed, then your trademark will move to the final stages of the trademark registration process.
How long does the trademark application process take?
The duration of the trademark application process can vary and depends on various factors, including the jurisdiction in which you are filing, the complexity of the application, and any potential legal issues that may arise during the examination process. While it is difficult to provide an exact timeframe, I will outline the general stages and estimated timelines involved in the trademark application process in the United States.
- Filing the Application: After submitting your trademark application through the TEAS system, you will receive an immediate filing date. This is the starting point of the application process.
- Examination: The USPTO examines the application to ensure it meets the formal requirements and does not conflict with existing trademarks. The examination process typically takes several months, ranging from three to six months on average. During this period, the application is reviewed by an examining attorney who assesses its compliance with trademark laws and checks for potential conflicts.
- Office Actions: If the examining attorney identifies any issues or conflicts during the examination, they may issue an office action. An office action outlines any objections, refusals, or requirements that must be addressed for the application to proceed. You typically have six months to respond to an office action, although extensions may be available.
- Publication: If the examining attorney approves the application or any outstanding issues are resolved, the application is published for opposition in the Official Gazette, a weekly publication by the USPTO. This allows third parties to review the application and file an opposition if they believe it conflicts with their existing rights. The opposition period typically lasts 30 days.
- Registration: If no oppositions are filed or if opposition proceedings are resolved in favor of the applicant, the USPTO will issue a registration certificate. The registration process can take several months after the opposition period, depending on the workload of the USPTO and any administrative delays.
The overall timeline for the trademark application process in the United States can range from several months to a year or more, depending on the complexity of the application and any potential obstacles that may arise.
It’s important to note that timelines can vary in other countries, as each jurisdiction has its own trademark registration processes and procedures. Consulting with a trademark attorney experienced in the specific jurisdiction can provide a better understanding of the timelines involved.
In summary, the trademark application process duration can vary depending on factors such as the jurisdiction and complexity of the application. In the United States, the process typically takes several months to a year or more. It involves stages such as filing the application, examination, responding to office actions if necessary, publication, and registration. Understanding and being prepared for potential timelines will help manage expectations during the trademark application process.
How long does a trademark last?
Trademark rights can last indefinitely as long as the mark is being used in commerce and the necessary maintenance requirements are met. However, the duration of trademark protection depends on several factors, including the jurisdiction in which the mark is registered and the ongoing use of the mark.
In the United States, once a trademark is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it initially receives protection for a period of ten years. However, to maintain the registration, the trademark owner must file certain maintenance documents. Specifically, between the fifth and sixth year following registration, an affidavit of continued use or excusable non-use must be submitted to the USPTO. Additionally, within the year prior to the tenth anniversary of registration and every ten years thereafter, a combined declaration of use and application for renewal must be filed. By fulfilling these maintenance requirements, the trademark protection can be renewed indefinitely.
It’s worth noting that trademark protection and the duration of rights can vary in different countries. In some jurisdictions, trademarks may need to be renewed more frequently, such as every five or seven years. Additionally, some countries require evidence of use to maintain trademark rights, while others do not have such requirements.
To ensure that your trademark rights are properly maintained and protected, it is essential to stay informed about the specific requirements and deadlines in the jurisdictions where you have registered your mark. Consulting with a trademark attorney or utilizing the services of a trademark management company can help you stay organized and ensure timely renewal and maintenance of your trademark registrations.
In summary, trademark protection can last indefinitely as long as the mark is actively used in commerce and the necessary maintenance requirements are met. In the United States, initial registration provides protection for ten years, with the need for maintenance filings every five to ten years. Duration and maintenance requirements may vary in different countries, so it is important to stay informed about the specific regulations in each jurisdiction where you have registered your trademark.
What is required for me to maintain my federal registration?
After your trademark is registered, you must do a few things to maintain its registered status:
- Keep using your trademark in interstate commerce.
- File the appropriate maintenance documents by the deadlines given and pay the associated fees.
- Make sure the USPTO has your current contact information on file. This is so you will always receive important updates and notices from them.
If you fail to follow through on any of the above, then you run the risk of having your registration canceled. Many business owners choose to hire trademark attorneys who can stay on top of the various requirements and deadlines for maintaining your trademark.
Can I use a trademark without registering it?
Yes, you can use a trademark without registering it. Trademark rights are generally acquired through use in commerce, even if the mark is not registered with a trademark office. This is known as common law trademark rights. However, there are important distinctions and limitations to be aware of when using an unregistered trademark.
Unregistered Trademark Rights: Using a mark in connection with goods or services establishes common law rights in the geographic areas where the mark is actually used. These rights are limited to the specific geographic regions where the mark has gained recognition and where consumers associate the mark with your goods or services. Common law trademark rights can provide some level of protection against others who attempt to use a confusingly similar mark in the same or related industry.
Limited Legal Protection: Unregistered trademarks generally have limited legal protection compared to registered trademarks. If someone infringes upon your unregistered mark, enforcing your rights can be more challenging and costly. To enforce your common law rights, you may need to rely on state laws and pursue legal action through the courts. Registered trademarks, on the other hand, provide stronger legal protection and various benefits, such as the presumption of validity and nationwide recognition.
Benefits of Registration: Registering your trademark with the appropriate trademark office, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), provides several advantages. It grants you exclusive rights to use the mark nationwide and establishes a legal presumption of ownership and validity. Registered trademarks also have the potential for broader protection, including the ability to block imports and access to federal courts. Furthermore, registration acts as public notice of your ownership, which can deter others from adopting similar marks.
International Considerations: If you plan to expand your business internationally, it’s important to understand that common law trademark rights are typically limited to the specific geographic areas where you have established use. To obtain protection in other countries, it is generally necessary to register your mark with the trademark office in each jurisdiction.
In summary, while you can use a trademark without registering it, there are limitations to the legal protection and benefits available to unregistered marks. Registering your trademark provides stronger protection, nationwide recognition, and various advantages. It is recommended to consult with a trademark attorney to assess your specific situation and determine the most appropriate strategy for protecting your trademark rights, whether through registration or common law usage.
When should I hire a trademark lawyer?
Hiring a trademark lawyer can be beneficial at various stages of the trademark process. While it is possible to navigate the trademark application process on your own, consulting with a trademark lawyer can provide valuable guidance and expertise, especially in the following situations:
- Trademark Search and Clearance: Conducting a comprehensive trademark search is a crucial step to assess the availability and registrability of your proposed mark. A trademark lawyer can perform a thorough search and provide a legal opinion on potential conflicts and risks associated with your mark. They can help you interpret search results and make informed decisions regarding the registrability of your mark.
- Application Preparation: Filing a trademark application involves careful attention to detail and adherence to specific requirements. A trademark lawyer can assist you in preparing the application, ensuring all necessary information and documentation are included. They can help you accurately describe your goods or services, navigate the classification system, and meet the formalities required by the trademark office.
- Responding to Office Actions: If you receive an office action from the trademark office, a trademark lawyer can help you understand the issues raised and guide you in crafting an appropriate response. They can provide legal arguments, address objections, and overcome refusals to increase the chances of successfully moving forward with your application.
- Trademark Infringement and Enforcement: If you believe your trademark rights are being infringed upon, a trademark lawyer can assist you in enforcing your rights. They can help you understand the legal options available, including sending cease-and-desist letters, negotiating settlements, and pursuing litigation if necessary. Similarly, if you are accused of infringing someone else’s trademark, a lawyer can help you navigate the situation and protect your interests.
- Trademark Portfolio Management: If you have multiple trademarks or plan to expand your brand internationally, managing your trademark portfolio can become complex. A trademark lawyer can help you develop a comprehensive strategy, ensure timely renewals, monitor for potential infringements, and guide you through the intricacies of international trademark registration.
In summary, hiring a trademark lawyer can provide numerous benefits throughout the trademark process. They can assist with trademark searches, application preparation, responding to office actions, infringement issues, and portfolio management. A trademark lawyer’s expertise and guidance can help you navigate the complexities of trademark law, protect your rights, and make informed decisions regarding your brand.
What is a trademark’s specimen?
A trademark’s specimen is a sample or evidence submitted with a trademark application to demonstrate how the mark is actually used in commerce. The purpose of the specimen is to show that the mark is being used in connection with the goods or services specified in the application.
The type of specimen required depends on whether the mark is associated with goods or services:
- Specimen for Goods: If your trademark is used in connection with tangible goods, an acceptable specimen may include labels, tags, packaging, product displays, or photographs showing the mark applied to the actual goods. The specimen should clearly display the mark in a manner that consumers would encounter in the marketplace. It should demonstrate that the mark is associated with the goods and serves as a source identifier.
- Specimen for Services: If your trademark is used in connection with services, an acceptable specimen may include advertising materials, brochures, website screenshots, signage, or photographs that show the mark used in conjunction with the services being provided. The specimen should demonstrate that the mark is associated with the services and indicates the source of those services.
It’s important to note that the specimen submitted must reflect the actual use of the mark in commerce and must be in the form that consumers would encounter. Specimens that are mere mock-ups or placeholders are generally not acceptable. Additionally, the specimen should be submitted in a format that is acceptable to the trademark office where the application is filed, such as a digital image or physical sample.
The selection and submission of an appropriate specimen are crucial for a successful trademark application. Consulting with a trademark attorney can help ensure that you choose the correct specimen that accurately represents the use of your mark in commerce and complies with the requirements of the trademark office.
In summary, a trademark’s specimen is a sample or evidence submitted with a trademark application to demonstrate the actual use of the mark in commerce. The type of specimen required depends on whether the mark is associated with goods or services. The specimen should accurately represent the use of the mark and demonstrate its association with the specified goods or services. Choosing and submitting the correct specimen is essential for a successful trademark application.
Can I request an expedited approval of my trademark registration?
Yes, in certain circumstances, it is possible to request an expedited or accelerated examination of a trademark application to potentially obtain a faster approval of your trademark registration. However, it’s important to note that expedited examination programs may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific rules and procedures of the trademark office.
In the United States, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers a program called the “USPTO’s Accelerated Examination Program.” This program allows applicants to request expedited examination of their trademark applications by meeting specific requirements and paying an additional fee.
To be eligible for expedited examination under this program, applicants must satisfy the following conditions:
- Filing Basis: The application must be based on actual use (rather than intent to use) in commerce or a foreign registration. Intent-to-use applications are not eligible for expedited examination.
- Specification of Goods and Services: The application must have a narrow specification of goods and services. The identification of goods and services must be limited to one or more specific subclasses within the international classification system.
- Statement of Use: For applications based on foreign registration, a statement of use in U.S. commerce must be submitted.
- Fee: An additional fee for expedited examination must be paid at the time of filing the application.
It’s important to note that even if you meet the eligibility criteria, the USPTO still has discretion in deciding whether to grant expedited examination. They will assess the completeness and accuracy of the application and the availability of resources at the time of the request.
In addition to the USPTO’s Accelerated Examination Program, other jurisdictions may have their own expedited examination programs or options available. It is recommended to consult with a trademark attorney or review the guidelines of the respective trademark office to understand the specific requirements and procedures for requesting expedited examination in your jurisdiction.
In summary, expedited examination of a trademark application may be possible in certain jurisdictions, such as the United States, by meeting specific criteria and paying additional fees. The availability and requirements for expedited examination vary by jurisdiction and trademark office. Consulting with a trademark attorney or reviewing the guidelines of the relevant trademark office can provide clarity on the options and procedures available for expedited approval of your trademark registration.
Can I trademark a phrase?
Yes, it is possible to trademark a phrase under certain conditions. In general, trademark protection can be obtained for words, phrases, slogans, or combinations thereof that are used to identify and distinguish goods or services in the marketplace. However, it’s important to understand the specific requirements and limitations associated with trademarking a phrase.
Distinctiveness: To obtain trademark protection for a phrase, it is crucial that the phrase has a sufficient level of distinctiveness. Generally, phrases that are considered to be merely descriptive or generic are more difficult to register as trademarks. The more unique, creative, and arbitrary or fanciful the phrase is, the stronger its chances of being registered as a trademark.
Secondary Meaning: If the phrase is initially descriptive or lacks inherent distinctiveness, it may still be eligible for trademark protection if it has acquired a secondary meaning in the minds of consumers. This means that the phrase has become associated with a particular source of goods or services due to extensive use and promotion. Establishing secondary meaning typically requires evidence of long-term and substantial use of the phrase.
Specimen of Use: As part of the trademark application process, you will need to provide a specimen of use that demonstrates how the phrase is being used in connection with the goods or services. The specimen should show the phrase prominently displayed and associated with the relevant products or services.
Scope of Protection: It’s important to note that trademark protection is specific to the goods or services for which the mark is registered. This means that trademark protection for a phrase may only apply to those specific goods or services and not to unrelated ones.
Trademark Search: Before attempting to trademark a phrase, it is advisable to conduct a comprehensive search to determine if similar phrases or marks are already registered or in use. This search helps assess the availability and potential conflicts with existing trademarks.
Consulting with a trademark attorney can provide valuable guidance in the process of trademarking a phrase. They can help determine the distinctiveness and registrability of the phrase, guide you through the application process, and ensure compliance with the specific requirements of the trademark office.
In summary, it is possible to trademark a phrase if it meets the criteria of distinctiveness and is used to identify and distinguish goods or services in the marketplace. Factors such as distinctiveness, secondary meaning, specimen of use, and scope of protection should be considered. Conducting a trademark search and consulting with a trademark attorney will help ensure that your phrase is eligible for trademark protection and increase the chances of a successful registration.
Can I trademark a logo?
Yes, you can trademark a logo. In fact, logos are one of the most common types of trademarks registered with trademark offices worldwide. A logo can be a valuable asset for your brand, serving as a visual representation and identifier of your goods or services in the marketplace.
To successfully trademark a logo, it is important to consider the following factors:
Distinctiveness: Like any trademark, the distinctiveness of the logo is crucial. A logo that is unique, creative, and not merely descriptive or generic is more likely to be eligible for trademark protection. The more distinctive the logo is, the stronger its chances of being registered as a trademark.
Representation: When filing a trademark application for a logo, you will need to provide a visual representation of the logo. This can be in the form of a digital image, such as a JPG or PNG file, or a physical sample in certain cases. The representation should accurately depict the logo and its specific design elements.
Specimen of Use: Along with the application, you will generally be required to submit a specimen of use that demonstrates how the logo is being used in connection with the goods or services. The specimen should show the logo prominently displayed on products, packaging, or in association with the services.
Scope of Protection: It’s important to note that trademark protection for a logo applies specifically to the goods or services for which it is registered. This means that the protection may not extend to unrelated goods or services. If you use your logo in different areas of business, you may need to consider filing separate trademark applications for each class of goods or services.
Trademark Search: Before proceeding with trademarking your logo, it is advisable to conduct a thorough search to ensure that similar logos or trademarks are not already registered or in use. This search helps assess the availability and potential conflicts with existing marks.
Consulting with a trademark attorney is highly recommended when seeking to trademark a logo. They can guide you through the process, assess the distinctiveness and registrability of your logo, conduct a comprehensive search, and ensure compliance with the specific requirements of the trademark office.
In summary, logos can be trademarked and serve as visual identifiers of your brand. The distinctiveness, accurate representation, specimen of use, scope of protection, and trademark search should all be considered when seeking to trademark a logo. Consulting with a trademark attorney will help ensure that your logo is eligible for trademark protection and increase the chances of a successful registration.
Can I trademark a color?
Yes, it is possible to trademark a color under certain circumstances. However, it is important to note that obtaining a trademark for a single color can be challenging because colors are generally considered to be inherently non-distinctive. Trademarks are typically associated with words, logos, or a combination of elements that can uniquely identify the source of goods or services.
To successfully trademark a color, you need to demonstrate that the color has acquired what is known as “secondary meaning.” This means that the color has become closely associated with a particular brand or source of goods or services in the minds of consumers.
Here are some key considerations when seeking to trademark a color:
- Distinctiveness: The color must be used in a way that sets it apart from other competitors in the industry. It should not be a commonly used color or a color that is generally associated with the type of goods or services being offered.
- Secondary Meaning: You must provide evidence to establish that consumers recognize the color as an indicator of a specific brand or source of goods or services. This can be demonstrated through long-term and extensive use of the color in connection with your brand, marketing materials, packaging, or other visual representations.
- Trade Dress: In some cases, a color may be protected as part of a broader trade dress claim. Trade dress refers to the overall visual appearance and packaging of a product or service. If the color is used in a distinctive and non-functional manner as part of a unique trade dress, it may be eligible for protection.
It’s important to note that obtaining a trademark for a color can be a complex and subjective process. The burden of proof is typically higher than with other types of trademarks. Working with a trademark attorney experienced in color trademarks can help guide you through the application process, gather the necessary evidence, and navigate the challenges associated with color trademark protection.
In summary, while it is possible to trademark a color, it can be challenging because colors are inherently non-distinctive. Demonstrating secondary meaning and distinctive use of the color is crucial. It may be necessary to establish that the color has become closely associated with your brand in the minds of consumers. Consulting with a trademark attorney will provide guidance on the specific requirements and strategies for successfully trademarking a color.
Can I transfer my trademark to someone else?
Yes, it is possible to transfer ownership of a trademark from one party to another. Trademark ownership can be transferred through a legal process known as an assignment. An assignment involves transferring the rights, title, and interest in a trademark from the current owner (assignor) to another party (assignee).
Here are some key points to consider regarding trademark transfers:
- Assignor and Assignee: The assignor is the current owner of the trademark who wishes to transfer ownership, while the assignee is the party who will receive ownership of the trademark. The assignor and assignee must enter into a formal agreement documenting the transfer of rights.
- Agreement: The transfer of a trademark is typically accomplished through a written assignment agreement. This agreement outlines the details of the transfer, including the mark(s) being assigned, the rights being transferred, and any terms or conditions agreed upon by both parties.
- Recordation: To ensure the transfer is legally recognized, it is advisable to record the assignment with the appropriate trademark office. This helps establish a public record of the change in ownership. In the United States, for example, trademark assignments can be recorded with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
- Goodwill and Assignability: When assigning a trademark, it is important to consider whether the associated goodwill of the mark is also being transferred. Goodwill refers to the reputation and customer recognition associated with the mark. In some jurisdictions, the assignability of trademarks with goodwill may be subject to additional requirements or restrictions.
- License Agreements: If you wish to transfer certain rights to use the trademark without completely assigning ownership, a license agreement may be more appropriate. A license grants permission to another party to use the trademark while maintaining ownership. License agreements specify the scope, duration, and conditions of the license.
It is highly recommended to consult with a trademark attorney when transferring ownership of a trademark. They can assist in drafting the assignment agreement, ensuring compliance with legal requirements, and guiding you through the recordation process.
In summary, trademark ownership can be transferred through a legal process called an assignment. This involves a written agreement between the current owner (assignor) and the receiving party (assignee). The assignment should be recorded with the appropriate trademark office to establish a public record. Additionally, if only certain rights are being transferred, a license agreement may be more suitable. Consulting with a trademark attorney will help ensure a smooth and legally sound transfer of trademark ownership.
Can I license my trademark to others?
Yes, it is possible to license your trademark to others through a trademark licensing agreement. Licensing your trademark allows another party to use the mark while you retain ownership and control over its use. This can be a beneficial arrangement for both parties involved.
Here are some key points to consider regarding trademark licensing:
- Licensing Agreement: A trademark licensing agreement is a legally binding contract that outlines the terms and conditions of the license. It specifies the scope of the license, including the nature of the goods or services, geographical area, duration, and quality control measures. It also addresses financial arrangements, such as royalties or license fees.
- Quality Control: As the trademark owner, it is essential to maintain control over the use and quality of the licensed mark. The licensing agreement should include provisions that require the licensee to adhere to certain quality standards and guidelines to ensure the mark’s integrity is upheld. Regular monitoring and auditing of the licensee’s use of the mark may be necessary.
- Protection of Rights: The licensing agreement should address issues related to intellectual property rights and infringement. It should include provisions for enforcing the trademark rights, handling potential infringements, and resolving disputes between the licensor and licensee.
- Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive License: A license can be exclusive or non-exclusive. An exclusive license grants the licensee the sole right to use the mark within a specific territory or for specific goods or services. A non-exclusive license allows the licensor to grant multiple licenses to different parties.
- Termination: The licensing agreement should specify the conditions under which the agreement can be terminated, such as breach of contract or failure to meet quality standards. It is important to include provisions for termination and the consequences of termination, such as the return of licensed materials or discontinuation of use.
It is strongly recommended to consult with a trademark attorney when entering into a licensing agreement. They can help draft the agreement, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and protect your rights as the trademark owner.
In summary, licensing your trademark allows you to grant others the right to use your mark while retaining ownership and control. A licensing agreement specifies the terms of the license, quality control measures, and financial arrangements. It is crucial to protect your rights through quality control provisions and to address issues of infringement and termination. Seeking the guidance of a trademark attorney will help ensure a legally sound and beneficial licensing arrangement.
If my trademark is registered in the United States, is it protected in other countries as well?
No, a trademark registered in the United States does not automatically receive protection in other countries. Trademark rights are generally territorial, meaning they are specific to the country or region where the mark is registered or used.
If you wish to protect your trademark in other countries, you will need to file separate trademark applications in each country where you seek protection. This process typically involves engaging with the trademark office of each country, paying the required fees, and complying with the specific rules and procedures of each jurisdiction.
It’s important to note that there are international agreements and treaties that can facilitate the trademark registration process across multiple countries. One such agreement is the Madrid System, which allows for the centralized filing of trademark applications and the management of trademark rights in multiple countries. By filing an international application through the Madrid System, known as an International Registration, you can seek protection in multiple countries that are members of the Madrid Agreement or the Madrid Protocol. However, it’s important to understand that not all countries are members of the Madrid System, and the requirements and procedures can vary among participating countries.
To effectively protect your trademark internationally, it is advisable to consult with a trademark attorney who specializes in international trademark law. They can guide you through the process, assess the requirements of each country, and assist with the filing and management of your international trademark applications.
In summary, trademark protection in one country, such as the United States, does not automatically extend to other countries. To obtain trademark protection in other countries, separate trademark applications must be filed in each jurisdiction. International agreements and systems, such as the Madrid System, can facilitate the process of seeking protection in multiple countries. Consulting with a trademark attorney is recommended to navigate the complexities of international trademark registration and ensure your mark is protected globally.
Is there such a thing as an “International Trademark”?
While there is no single “International Trademark” that provides universal protection across all countries, there are mechanisms in place that can facilitate the process of seeking trademark protection in multiple countries.
The most notable system for international trademark registration is the Madrid System, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Madrid System allows for the filing of an International Registration, which simplifies the process of seeking trademark protection in multiple countries that are members of the Madrid Agreement or the Madrid Protocol.
Under the Madrid System, a trademark owner can file a single application, known as an international application, with their national or regional trademark office. This application is then transmitted to the International Bureau of WIPO, which acts as the central authority for the Madrid System. The International Bureau examines the application for formalities and then forwards it to the trademark offices of the countries designated by the applicant.
Each designated country examines the international application based on their national laws and procedures. If approved, the trademark receives protection in that specific country. The international registration has the advantage of centralizing the filing and management process, reducing administrative burdens, and potentially saving costs compared to filing individual applications in each country.
It’s important to note that not all countries are members of the Madrid System. However, many countries around the world participate in the system, including the United States, European Union member states, China, Japan, and many others. The Madrid System offers a convenient option for trademark owners seeking protection in multiple countries that are part of the system.
It’s worth mentioning that while the Madrid System streamlines the filing process, the examination of the trademark application is still conducted by each individual country’s trademark office. This means that the international registration is subject to the examination standards and requirements of each designated country.
In summary, while there is no universal “International Trademark,” the Madrid System provides a mechanism for streamlined international trademark registration. Through the system, trademark owners can file an international application, which is transmitted to the trademark offices of designated countries. This facilitates the process of seeking trademark protection in multiple countries that are members of the Madrid Agreement or the Madrid Protocol. Consulting with a trademark attorney experienced in international trademark law can provide valuable guidance and assistance when considering international trademark registration.
What is a trademark office action?
A trademark office action is an official communication sent by the trademark office to the applicant of a trademark application. It serves as a response to the initial filing and examination of the application. The purpose of an office action is to inform the applicant of any issues or deficiencies found during the examination process that may prevent the mark from being approved for registration.
There are two main types of office actions:
- Non-Substantive Office Action: A non-substantive office action typically addresses minor issues related to formalities or technicalities in the application. It may include requests for clarification or corrections regarding the identification of goods or services, the mark’s description, or the format of the application. Responding to a non-substantive office action usually requires amending or providing additional information to address the specific requirements outlined by the trademark office.
- Substantive Office Action: A substantive office action raises more significant issues related to the registrability of the mark. It may involve objections or refusals based on potential conflicts with existing marks, lack of distinctiveness, descriptiveness, or other legal grounds. Responding to a substantive office action typically requires more substantial arguments or evidence to overcome the objections raised by the trademark examiner.
The office action will provide a detailed explanation of the issues identified by the examiner and a deadline by which the applicant must respond. It is crucial to carefully review the office action and understand the specific objections or requirements outlined by the examiner.
Upon receiving an office action, the applicant has the opportunity to respond and address the issues raised. This typically involves submitting a written response that provides arguments, evidence, or amendments to overcome the objections or refusals.
It is important to note that the response to an office action is a critical step in the trademark application process. A well-prepared and persuasive response can increase the chances of overcoming the examiner’s objections and ultimately obtaining registration for your mark. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a trademark attorney who can assist in formulating a strong response and navigating the complex legal considerations involved.
In summary, a trademark office action is an official communication from the trademark office that identifies issues or deficiencies in a trademark application. There are non-substantive and substantive office actions, each requiring a specific response. Responding to an office action is a crucial step in the trademark application process and seeking guidance from a trademark attorney can help address the examiner’s objections effectively.
What should I do if I receive an office action on my trademark application?
Receiving an office action on your trademark application can be a critical moment in the trademark registration process. It is important to carefully review the office action and take appropriate steps to address the issues raised by the trademark examiner. Here are some steps to consider:
- Read and Understand the Office Action: Begin by thoroughly reading and understanding the content of the office action. Take note of the specific objections, requirements, or refusals outlined by the examiner. Understanding the issues raised is crucial in formulating a proper response.
- Consult with a Trademark Attorney: Consider seeking the advice of a trademark attorney who can provide expert guidance and assist you in crafting an appropriate response. They can help you assess the strength of the objections, formulate legal arguments, and navigate the complex trademark application process.
- Research and Gather Evidence: Conduct a comprehensive analysis to evaluate the validity of the examiner’s objections. Research precedents, case law, and relevant trademark registrations to support your arguments. Gather evidence, such as sales data, market surveys, or consumer testimonials, to demonstrate the distinctiveness or consumer recognition of your mark.
- Prepare a Well-Structured Response: Craft a clear and persuasive written response to address each objection raised in the office action. Ensure that your response provides legal arguments, evidence, and amendments as necessary. Follow the instructions provided in the office action regarding the format and deadlines for your response.
- Amend the Application, If Required: If the office action identifies deficiencies or errors in your application, make the necessary amendments. This may involve clarifying or modifying the identification of goods or services, the description of the mark, or the format of the application. Ensure that any amendments align with the requirements of the trademark office.
- Submit Your Response: Prepare and submit your response to the trademark office within the specified timeframe. Ensure that your response is complete, accurate, and addresses all the issues raised. Retain copies of all correspondence and proof of submission for your records.
- Monitor the Application Status: After submitting your response, monitor the status of your application to track any further actions or communications from the trademark office. Be prepared to address any additional requirements or objections that may arise during the examination process.
Remember, the response to an office action is crucial for the success of your trademark application. Taking proactive steps, seeking professional guidance, and crafting a well-structured response can significantly increase the chances of overcoming objections and obtaining registration for your mark.
In summary, when receiving an office action on your trademark application, carefully review the content, seek the guidance of a trademark attorney, research and gather evidence, prepare a persuasive response, make amendments if necessary, and submit your response within the specified timeframe. By following these steps, you can effectively address the issues raised by the examiner and navigate the trademark application process with the goal of obtaining registration for your mark.
How do I enforce my trademark rights?
Enforcing your trademark rights is an essential step in protecting your brand and preventing others from infringing upon your mark. Here are some key considerations for enforcing your trademark rights:
- Monitoring and Surveillance: Regularly monitor the marketplace for any unauthorized use or potential infringement of your trademark. This can involve conducting online searches, monitoring industry publications, and keeping an eye on competitor activities. It’s important to be proactive in detecting potential infringements.
- Cease and Desist Letters: If you discover unauthorized use or infringement of your trademark, one of the initial steps is to send a cease and desist letter to the infringing party. The letter should clearly state your rights, provide evidence of your trademark registration or use, and demand that the infringing party immediately cease using the mark. Consulting with a trademark attorney can help ensure that the cease and desist letter is legally sound and effectively communicates your position.
- Negotiation and Settlement: In some cases, it may be possible to resolve trademark disputes through negotiation and settlement. This can involve discussions with the infringing party to reach an agreement that may include ceasing use of the mark, modifying their branding, or entering into a licensing arrangement. Settlement agreements should be carefully drafted to protect your rights and ensure compliance.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution: If negotiation and settlement attempts are unsuccessful, alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration can be pursued. These processes provide a forum for parties to resolve disputes outside of litigation. They can be more cost-effective and expedient alternatives to traditional court proceedings.
- Litigation: If all other avenues for resolving the dispute have been exhausted, litigation may be necessary. Trademark litigation involves taking legal action against the infringing party in a court of law. It can be complex and costly, but it can also provide a means to enforce your trademark rights and seek remedies such as injunctions, damages, or the transfer of infringing domain names.
It is important to consult with a trademark attorney experienced in trademark enforcement to guide you through the process. They can assess the strength of your case, help develop a strategy, and advocate for your rights in any enforcement actions.
In summary, enforcing your trademark rights involves monitoring the marketplace, sending cease and desist letters, negotiating settlements, considering alternative dispute resolution methods, and pursuing litigation when necessary. Consulting with a trademark attorney is crucial to effectively enforce your trademark rights and protect your brand from unauthorized use or infringement.
Do I need to hire a trademark attorney?
If you are a trademark applicant or owner of a trademark who lives outside of the United States, then you must hire a U.S.-licensed attorney to represent you in all matters before the USPTO.
If you are a trademark applicant or owner of a trademark who lives within the United States or its territories, then there’s no requirement for you to have an attorney. You may represent yourself before the USPTO if you choose.
What are the benefits of hiring a trademark attorney?
There are many benefits to hiring an attorney even if you aren’t required to. Your attorney will:
- Conduct a robust clearance search before filing your application to ensure no similar marks exist.
- Help you prepare and submit your application accurately.
- Respond to inquiries, requests, and correspondence from the USPTO on your behalf.
- Ensure your trademark maintenance documents are filed by the required deadlines.
- Protect your mark against infringement.
- Represent you in federal court and before the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
- Give you sound legal advice and guidance about your trademarks and intellectual property.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Lubbock Businesses
Lubbock, Texas is a friendly and hospitable town that has something for everyone—a burgeoning wine industry, exciting rodeos, competitive college football, craft coffee roasters, and much more. It’s easy to see why entrepreneurs set their sights on Lubbock when looking to start new businesses.
Small business owners in Lubbock have a solid work ethic and are natural “do-it-yourselfers.” However, the one thing they shouldn’t handle themselves is trademark registration.
Imagine the following: Juan and Benny are friends with a dream of opening their own tile installation business. They’ve worked for tiling contractors for years, saved their money, and are now ready to strike out on their own.
They choose the name Texas Tile Professionals for their business. A quick Google search for that name in the Lubbock area doesn’t pop up, so they assume they’re free to use the name for themselves.
The friends get to work creating a logo, developing a website, and ordering postcards to mail to all local residents. They even purchase a new van and have their logo painted on the side.
Juan and Benny start getting a lot of business thanks to their postcard mailing campaign. In fact, just 6 months after opening their business, they’re thinking that they might need to hire some help.
However, their good fortune is about to come to an end. One day, a cease-and-desist letter arrives. It turns out that one of their postcards reached the home of another entrepreneur planning to start a tile installation business with a very similar name. However, he submitted a trademark application with the USPTO that was pending approval. A Google search would have never found that.
Only a proper clearance search would have revealed to Juan and Benny that their desired trademark was unavailable to them. Now, they must shut down their business and rebrand before reopening. It will be a costly and time-consuming process.
Don’t rely on Internet searches to let you know if your desired trademark is available to you. Make sure that you work with a trademark attorney who can conduct a comprehensive trademark search early on.
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 Lubbock and yet it can assist businesses from Texas in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
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