Trademark Attorney Services
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for San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, California Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal, PLLC is focused on providing clients in San Francisco, California, and around the globe with outstanding legal counsel and guidance on trademark and intellectual property rights and protections. Our trademark attorneys absolutely love helping companies build their brands from the ground up. At the end of the day, we strive to make our clients’ lives easier.
Top 8 Questions San Francisco Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a word, logo, slogan, design, or even a sound that is attached to a product or service. That trademark identifies to the consumer who is producing or selling the product or service.
How does registering my trademark protect my business?
Registering your trademark is an essential step when it comes to protecting your business and your brand. Once you register your trademark, it’s protected from infringement in all 50 states. If you find that someone is using your trademark or something similar without your permission, then you can take legal action.
How do I register a federal trademark?
The first step in registering your business name or logo as a trademark is to submit a trademark application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
The trademark application will ask for basic information about you, your business, and the piece of intellectual property that you want trademarked. You will also need to indicate if the desired trademark is already “in commerce” which means you’re using it currently in business. If you are filing a trademark application for a trademark that will be used in commercial activity in the near future, then be sure to complete an “intent to use” application.
Once the application is submitted, an examining attorney at the USPTO will thoroughly evaluate the application and search the USPTO database for any marks that may be similar to the one you wish to register.
If no similar trademarks are found and everything else is in good order, then the examiner will likely approve your application and publish it in the USPTO’s Official Gazette for 30 days. During that 30-day period, anyone can come forward and oppose your trademark. Assuming no one challenges your mark, then it will move onto final approval.
If you have any doubts or concerns about this process, then consult with a trademark attorney.
How will the USPTO alert me if someone is infringing on my registered trademark?
Actually, the USPTO won’t alert you if someone is infringing on your trademark. They don’t play a role in enforcing trademark rights, nor do they give legal advice.
As the owner of the trademark, it is entirely your responsibility 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.
Do I have to hire a trademark attorney in my state?
If you live in the United States, then you can hire a trademark attorney from anywhere in the 50 states. Trademarks are federal matters so if you live in California and you want to hire an attorney based in New York, then that’s completely fine.
What is the role of the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board?
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) exists to help resolve conflicts among trademark owners. You may be called to appear before the TTAB if:
• A competitor thinks your existing trademark is harming their business and should be cancelled.
• You want to appeal an examining attorney decision to reject your trademark application.
• You want to challenge a competitor’s existing trademark or pending trademark.
If you must appear before the TTAB, then it’s in your best interest to hire a trademark attorney who can help you navigate these complex proceedings and protect your best interests.
Are there differences between the ® and TM symbols?
Use of the ® symbol after your mark is allowed after your trademark application is approved and finalized by the USPTO. You cannot use it before then. The TM symbol can be used while your trademark application is pending. It’s not as legally strong as the ® symbol. However, it does signal that you have “common law” rights to your mark.
Will I require multiple trademarks?
Most likely yes. For example, you may want to trademark your business name, your logo, and the name of your product. You’ll need to submit a separate trademark application for each. Consult with the trademark attorneys at Cohn Legal to determine what parts of your business need to be trademarked.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for San Francisco Businesses
If you’re ready to start a business in San Francisco, then you probably have some idea of how much work it will take to get your new business venture off the ground. You have to create a business plan, find commercial space, develop a website, and so much more. However, make sure you don’t overlook the trademark registration process. Not registering your trademark can mean that all of your hard work will go to waste.
Imagine the following: Juan has plans to open a car detailing shop in the San Francisco area. He’s going to call his new business Road Ready Auto Detailing. A friend of his loves the name and asks if Juan is going to have it registered as a trademark. Juan says there will be plenty of time for that down the line. For now, he’s focused on tightening up his business plan, getting his shop ready, advertising in local papers, and creating a website.
Juan’s new business is going great for the first 6 months. He’s bringing in more money than he had forecasted and is seeing a lot of repeat customers. Unfortunately, Juan gets some disappointing news in the form of a cease-and-desist letter. It turns out that there’s a business called Road Ready Auto Body in the Santa Clara section of San Francisco.
The auto body shop registered its trademark with the USPTO about 6 years ago. They believe the name of Juan’s business is too similar to their own and will cause confusion among customers. As the owners of the trademark, the auto body shop have every right to ask Juan to close his business and not reopen until he’s rebranded his shop. This will require lots of time and money on Juan’s part. Plus, he risks losing the loyal customer base he’s built if he closes his doors for even a few weeks.
If you are opening a new business or growing an existing one, don’t put off trademark registration. Your brand is worth investing in right from the start.
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 San Francisco and yet it can assist businesses from California in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for San Francisco 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.