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Oakland, California Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Serving Oakland, California companies, Cohn Legal, PLLC is a boutique law firm that focuses on intellectual property protection for startups and entrepreneurs. Our goal is to provide our clients with exceptional legal guidance and support at cost-effective rates. We are proud to offer outstanding service to clients around the country, and indeed, around the globe.
Top 8 Questions Oakland Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
What exactly is a trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, sound, or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods or services as being from a particular company. It allows consumers to tell which company manufactures the product or provides the service compared to others who provide goods or services in the same category.
How do I register a federal trademark?
In order to get a business or product name trademarked, you need to first file a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. The trademark application should include your name and address, the piece of intellectual property you want to be trademarked, the goods or services you want the trademark for, and a specimen. You should also indicate if the logo or name is “in commerce” or if you are filling it with “intent to use.”
Once received by the USPTO, an examining attorney will thoroughly evaluate the application and search the USPTO database to verify that your mark is not too similar to other trademarks that already exist.
If no similar trademarks are found and the examiner approves your application, the trademark will be published in the USPTO’s Official Gazette for 30 days. During that time, anyone can come forward and “oppose” the application. If no oppositions are submitted, then your trademark will go to final registration.
Do I need to have a registered trademark before I start selling my goods or services?
You can start selling a product or service before obtaining a registered trademark. However, keep in mind that doing business without registering your trademark first, means that a third party can not only use your trademark but become the rightful owner by registering it with the USPTO before you do. If you are serious about your business, then take the proper steps to ensure that your trademark is properly protected against infringement.
How long does a trademark last?
Trademarks actually do not expire. But you do need to renew the trademark with the USPTO. The first renewal will be required approximately 5 years from the date of registration, another 5 years after that, and every 10 years thereafter. Please note that you run the risk of having your trademark cancelled if you miss a renewal deadline. Talk to a trademark attorney who can help you stay on top of the renewal deadlines.
What is a “specimen” and when do I need one?
You will need to include a specimen as part of your trademark application. A specimen is a sample of how you are actually using your trademark in commerce. A specimen could be a product label, product packaging, or a photo of signage that clearly displays the trademark being used in commercial activity. If you’re selling a service as opposed to a product, then the USPTO will accept flyers, brochures, advertisements, etc. that display the trademark. If you are unsure about what would constitute an acceptable specimen, then speak to a trademark attorney.
Can I file a trademark if I’m not currently selling any products but intend to in the future?
If you’re not ready to bring your goods or services to market, then you can file what is known as an Intent-To-Use (ITU) trademark application. Once the ITU application has been accepted, you’ll receive a Notice of Allowance (NOA) from the USPTO. You’ll have 6 months to either submit your Statement of Use or file an extension. Each extension request will give you another 6 months to submit the Statement of Use. an additional 6 months to provide the Statement of Use.
Will my trademark protect my brand in other countries?
Your trademark will only protect your intellectual property within the United States. If you do business outside of the Unites States, then you should consider registering your trademarks in those countries as well. An experienced trademark attorney will be able to help you get trademark protection in other countries.
What is TEAS?
TEAS stands for the Trademark Electronic Application System. This online portal enables you to submit your trademark application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and pay your application fees.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Oakland Businesses
Oakland is a bustling city with plenty of tourist attractions including Old Oakland’s restored Victorian architecture and boutiques, and the Oakland Museum of California displays state history. It’s a compact city that’s easy to navigate on foot so businesses in the downtown area tend to get a lot of walk-in business.
If you are thinking about opening a business in Oakland, then don’t forget to contact a trademark attorney and ask about trademark registration.
Imagine the following: Jeremy is a dog lover and has developed a new all-natural, organic line of dog treats that he bakes himself. His friends tell him how much their dogs love his treats and they encourage him to go into business.
Jeremy decides to take the plunge and moves forward. In addition to selling his homemade treats, he’ll sell dog toys, leashes, collars, and other accessories for dogs. He names his new store The Doggie Depot. He does a quick Google search just to make sure that no other businesses in Oakland have the same name. No matches pop up and Jeremy assumes that he’s good to go.
Next, he leases a small storefront, purchases a sign to hang out front, develops a website, and hires 2 employees. Three months after his grand opening, the business is doing quite well. However, Jeremy receives a cease-and-desist letter in the mail. It turns out that there is another store in Austin with a similar name. They’ve been in existence for 18 months, and they took the time to ensure that they registered their business name with the USPTO.
Now, Jeremy has to close his doors and not reopen until he’s rebranded. That is a costly and time-consuming endeavor.
A Google search is never an acceptable substitute for hiring a trademark attorney to conduct a proper trademark search. There’s nothing more important to your new business than ensuring you own the trademark to your intellectual property.
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 Oakland and yet it can assist businesses from California in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Oakland 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.