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Toledo, Ohio Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Cohn Legal is a boutique legal firm that is focused on providing superior counsel to startups and entrepreneurs in Toledo, Ohio, across the United States and around the world. Think of us as your legal consigliere for all things related to trademarks, copyrights, and intellectual property.
Top 8 Questions Toledo Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
What is the USPTO?
USPTO stands for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO maintains records of existing and pending trademarks. When you are ready to register your trademark, it’s the USPTO that reviews your application and approves or denies it.
Keep in mind, however, that the USPTO does not enforce trademark rights. It is your responsibility as the trademark owner to protect your trademark against infringement.
How does registering my trademark with the USPTO protect my business?
Registering your trademark is actually one of the most important ways to protect your business and your brand. That’s because, once you register your trademark with the USPTO, your trademark is protected from infringement in all 50 states. If there’s a competitor or a third party using your trademark or something similar, you can take legal action against them.
Should I wait until my business is up and running before registering my trademark?
Any trademark attorney will tell you that trademark registration one of the first things you should while you’re planning on starting your business. There’s no need to wait until your business is up and running.
If you wait until your business is established to register your mark, you may find that you’re infringing on an existing trademark after you’ve already spent time and money on logo design, marketing material, a website, store signage, etc. You want to register your mark early on so you know that you can proceed with branding and marketing with confidence.
What is the Trademark Electronic Application System?
The Trademark Electronic Application System (also called TEAS) is an online portal where you can submit your trademark application to the USPTO and pay any associated fees. TEAS is available 24/7.
What is a trademark Office Action?
You’ll receive an Office Action from the USPTO if your trademark application is rejected or the USPTO requires more information from you before they make a final determination.
It may be that your mark is too similar to a trademark that already exists. It could be that you simply forgot to fill out a small section of the application. No matter what, it’s extremely important that you not ignore the Office Action. Your best bet is to contact a trademark attorney as soon as possible if you receive an Office Action. He or she can advise you on what to do next and draft a response to the USPTO, if needed.
Am I required to hire a U.S.-licensed attorney to represent me at the USPTO?
If you are a trademark applicant or registrant who lives in a country outside of the United States, then you must be represented at the USPTO by an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the United States.
If you are a trademark applicant or registrant who lives in the United States or its territories, you actually don’t need to be represented by an attorney. However, the USPTO strongly recommends that you do hire a U.S.-licensed attorney who specializes in trademark law to ensure you are always acting in your own best interests.
What is the Official Gazette?
The Official Gazette (OG) is the official publication of the USPTO. It comes out weekly and includes information about trademarks that have been approved. Once a trademark is published in the Official Gazette, anyone has 30 days to come forward and oppose the trademark. If no one opposes the mark, then it is officially registered.
Once your mark is registered, it’s a good idea to review the Official Gazette to ensure no one is trying to register a mark that is similar to yours.
What is a “specimen” and why does the USPTO want one?
The USPTO requests a “specimen” as part of your trademark application. A specimen is simply a sample of how you intend to use your trademark in commerce. Product labels, signage, packaging, flyers, brochures, website screenshots, etc. are all acceptable specimens.
If you are unsure about what you should submit to the USPTO as a specimen, then consult with a trademark attorney.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Toledo Businesses
Toledo, Ohio has some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Many young entrepreneurs are hoping to start their dreams of business ownership in the Centennial State. Most of them may not realize that it’s important to protect their business and their brand identity by registering their trademarks.
Some young business owners want to jump right into the “fun stuff” when it comes to opening a business. Finding a location, getting the Instagram account going, creating a dynamic marketing campaign, and hiring staff. But registering their trademark? For some, it’s the last thing on their minds. There’s plenty of time to take care of that boring stuff, right? The truth is registering a mark properly is one of the first things you should do when starting a new business.
Imagine the following: Jackie loves the outdoors and she’s a skiing fanatic. Where better to open up her new ski shop than in Toledo? She plans on selling and renting skis and giving cross-country skiing tours every weekend. She decides to call her new shop Cross Country Queen. She tells her friends about the idea and they support her 100%. Her best friend asks her when she’s going to trademark the name. Jackie says that she has plenty of time for that and wants to start designing the shop.
Jackie pours her heart and soul into her new business. She secured a small business loan and used the money to order inventory, create a website, and hire a sign maker to create a custom sign to hang over her shop.
She got the shop open just in time for the tourist season and she quickly attracted lots of customers. She was giving 4 tours every weekend and was thinking of adding a Friday night cross country tour to her offerings.
A few days later Jackie’s friend stopped by with some bad news. Apparently, there was an existing ski shop in Cleveland called The Cross Country King and they were planning on opening a second shop in Toledo. Jackie wondered if the name of her shop was too similar to her competitor.
Sure enough, a few weeks later Jackie received a cease-and-desist letter in the mail from The Cross Country King. Now she has to close the shop and rebrand which will cost time and money. By the time she’s ready to re-open with a new name, the tourist season will be over.
Had Jackie made registering her trademark a priority early on, she wouldn’t have this problem. 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 Toledo and yet it can assist businesses from Ohio in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
Trademarks Services for Toledo 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.