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Reno, Nevada Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Serving clients in Reno, Nevada, Cohn Legal Group is a boutique firm that focuses on trademark and intellectual property law. We help our clients navigate through time-sensitive deals and convoluted contracts quickly. We’ll jump into an existing deal or help you build your brand from scratch. We’re here for you.
Top 6 Questions Reno Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a word, combination of words, design, logo, phrase, symbol, design, or even a sound that identifies your products or services amongst your competitors. It tells consumers who are manufacturing or selling the product. Having a registered trademark helps prevent others from infringing on your trademark.
Does having a trademark mean I own the word?
One common misconception is that having a registered trademark means you legally own the word or phrase you’ve trademarked and you can prevent others from using it in all instances.
The reality is that you do have the rights to how the word or phrase is used in conjunction with your specific goods or services. However, you can’t prevent others from using the word or phrase in all instances.
For example, Apple® would certainly prevent any other technology company from using the word apple as a trademark. But, they don’t own the word apple in its generic form.
What are some examples of strong trademarks?
Strong trademarks are ones that are creative or unique and instantly recognizable to consumers. Strong trademarks typically fall into one of these categories:
- Fanciful trademarks: These are invented words that only have meaning when applied to an underlying product. Exxon® gasoline, Kleenex® tissue, and Pepsi® soft drinks are examples of fanciful trademarks.
- Arbitrary trademarks: These are actual words, but have no association with the products they are branding. Guess® Jeans and Comet® cleanser are both examples. Registering just the words “guess” or “comet” would not be acceptable, but when used in association with the underlying products, they become unique.
- Suggestive trademarks: These are words that suggest a quality or feature of the product, but don’t state it outright. One example is Coppertone® for sun-tan lotion. The trademark is suggesting that the product will help your skin glow.
What is the difference between “use in commerce” and “intent to use”?
When filing your trademark application with the USPTO, you can file it on a “use in commerce” basis or on an “intent to use” basis.
Use in commerce means that you’re currently using your trademark in in interstate commerce. You’ll need to provide evidence to the USPTO that you’re currently using the mark and information about the dates the mark went into use.
Intent to use means that you haven’t started using your trademark in commerce yet, but you intend to in the near future. For example, you may be in the planning stages of opening a business, but you’re not ready to start selling. Or, you may only be selling your product or service within your state, but you’re planning to expand to neighboring states in the near future.
Once you do start selling your goods in significant numbers across state lines, you’ll have to follow up with the USPTO letting them know that your mark is now in commerce.
What is a trademark Office Action?
If your trademark application is rejected for any reason, you’ll receive what is called an Office Action from the USPTO. An Office Action lists the reasons why your trademark application was rejected. If you receive an Office Action, try to respond to it as quickly as possible. Even better, contact a trademark attorney who can help you draft an appropriate response to the Office Action.
What is a “specimen” and when is it required?
When submitting a trademark application to the USPTO, you’ll be required to provide a specimen. A specimen is just a sample of how your trademark is being used in commerce. It could be a product label, a tag, packaging material, etc. If you are trademarking a service, then you can supply brochures, flyers, advertisements, etc. as specimens.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Reno Businesses
Reno, Nevada is known as “The Biggest Little City in the World” and for good reason. This destination offers outdoor adventures, fantastic nightlife, and world-class dining. With lots of tourist activity, there’s plenty of opportunities for small business owners to thrive in Reno. One thing that’s crucial to their success is trademark registration.
Imagine the following: Jan is an expert kayaker and spent her summers kayaking on Lake Tahoe. She’s recently decided to turn her passion for kayaking into a small business. She wants to take visitors to the region on kayak tours along Lake Tahoe. She has a 9-to-5 job during the week, so this will just be a weekend side gig.
Jan calls her new venture Western Kayaking Adventures. She knows about trademark registration but ultimately decides that her business is too small to worry about that. She gets to work on a logo, a website, and advertising. She purchases 10 kayaks and has the business name stenciled on the side of each one.
Two months later, Jan is doing great business. She’s conducting several tours each weekend. She’s starting to think she could turn this part-time project into a full-time gig when she received some upsetting news in the form of a cease-and-desist letter in the mail.
It turns out that there’s another company that conducts kayak and boat tours along lakes in Nevada, California, and Oregon with a name that’s similar to Jan’s. They trademarked the name years ago so they have every right to demand that Jan shut down her operations and not resume her business until she rebrands. That’s an expensive proposition and Jan might not be able to do it.
If Jan had spoken to a trademark attorney from the start she would have learned about the other business and could have chosen a name for her venture that was truly unique. This whole situation could have been avoided.
All businesses, no matter how big or small, need to protect their trademarks by applying for registration with the USPTO.
If you have questions about trademark registration, then contact the attorneys at Cohn Legal for a no-cost trademark consultation.
** Cohn Legal, PLLC is not located in Reno and yet it can assist businesses from Nevada in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Reno 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.