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Tulsa, Oklahoma Businesses Use Cohn Legal for Trademark Services
Serving in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cohn Legal, PLLC specializes in intellectual property protection and corporate law for startups, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Our trademark attorneys absolutely love helping companies protect their brand names and logos. We offer excellence in legal representation and take great pride in our ability to create lasting bonds with our clients.
Top Questions Tulsa Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
If I Only Provide My Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 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 Tulsa, Oklahoma, 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 type of intellectual property that provides legal protection to distinct names, logos, slogans, symbols, or designs used to identify and distinguish the source of goods or services provided by a specific individual or company. Essentially, a trademark serves as a brand identifier, helping consumers recognize and associate products or services with a particular business or entity. By registering a trademark, owners gain exclusive rights to use the mark and can take legal action against others who attempt to use a similar mark in a way that could cause confusion among consumers.
Trademarks play a vital role in business as they build brand recognition, instill trust and credibility, and allow companies to establish a unique identity in the marketplace. When customers encounter a trademark, they often expect consistent quality associated with the products or services bearing that mark.
To protect a trademark, it must be distinctive and capable of identifying the source of goods or services clearly. Generic terms (e.g., “Computer” for computers) cannot be trademarked as they describe the product or service rather than distinguishing it from others. The strength of a trademark varies from weakest to strongest in the following order: generic, descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful.
Registering a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or a relevant agency in other countries enhances protection and provides numerous legal benefits. However, even without registration, common law rights may still exist in some jurisdictions based on actual use of the mark in commerce.
Overall, trademarks are invaluable assets for businesses, protecting their brands and helping consumers make informed choices in the marketplace.
Is there a difference between a trademark and service mark?
Yes, there is a difference between a trademark and a service mark, although both serve the same fundamental purpose of identifying the source of goods or services.
A trademark is used to protect the identity of goods, meaning physical products such as electronics, clothing, or food items. For example, if a company produces smartphones, the name and logo associated with those smartphones would be protected as a trademark.
On the other hand, a service mark (often denoted as “SM”) is specifically used to protect services rather than tangible goods. Services are intangible offerings provided by businesses, such as legal services, consulting, or hospitality services. For instance, if a law firm offers legal advice and representation, the name and logo associated with the law firm’s services would be protected as a service mark.
In essence, the distinction between a trademark and a service mark lies in the type of offering they protect. Trademarks safeguard products, while service marks protect services. However, from a legal standpoint, both trademarks and service marks share the same protection and enforcement mechanisms.
When filing an application to protect a mark, whether for goods or services, the process and requirements are generally the same. The main difference is the identification of the goods or services associated with the mark in the application. It’s important to select the appropriate category for the mark based on the nature of the business and the offerings provided.
It’s worth noting that some countries, like the United States, use the term “trademark” to cover both trademarks and service marks. In these jurisdictions, the term “trademark” is used as an umbrella term encompassing both types of marks, simplifying the registration process for businesses offering both goods and services.
In summary, while trademarks and service marks differ in the nature of the offerings they protect, they are both essential tools for businesses to establish and safeguard their brand identity, whether for tangible goods or intangible services.
When exactly am I allowed to use the ® symbol?
There are 3 important rules to follow when using the ® symbol:
1. It may only be used after the mark is officially registered by the USPTO; not during the application process.
2. It may only be used on or in connection with the goods and services listed in the federal registration.
3. It may only be used while the registration is active; you may not use it if the registration expires.
What’s the difference between the ® and TM symbols?
The ® symbol and the TM symbol serve different purposes and carry different legal implications concerning the status of a trademark.
- TM Symbol (™): The TM symbol is used to indicate that a word, logo, slogan, or other mark is being used as a trademark. It is often used before a trademark is officially registered with the appropriate trademark office. Placing the TM symbol next to a mark informs the public that the owner claims rights to that mark and is using it to distinguish their goods or services from others in commerce. While the TM symbol does not confer the same level of legal protection as a registered trademark, it serves as a notice of ownership and can act as a deterrent to potential infringers.
- Registered Trademark Symbol (®): The ® symbol is used exclusively with trademarks that have been officially registered with the relevant trademark authority, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the United States. It indicates that the mark has been federally registered and is afforded certain legal protections under the law. Using the ® symbol without proper registration is illegal and can result in penalties.
In most countries, including the United States, using the ® symbol without having a registered trademark is prohibited and considered false representation. Penalties for misuse can include fines and other legal consequences. Therefore, it’s essential to use the ® symbol only once the mark has been officially registered.
Registering a trademark provides numerous benefits, including a presumption of ownership, the exclusive right to use the mark nationwide (in the case of federal registration in the U.S.), and the ability to take legal action against infringers in federal court.
Before using the TM or ® symbols, it is crucial to conduct a comprehensive trademark search to ensure that the mark is not already in use by another entity. This helps avoid potential conflicts and legal issues in the future. Additionally, consulting with a trademark attorney can be beneficial in the process of selecting, protecting, and maintaining a trademark to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the mark receives the appropriate level of protection.
Can registering my trademark help protect my brand?
Registering your trademark is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your business and your brand. Once your trademark is registered with the USPTO, your trademark is protected from infringement in all 50 states. Therefore, if there’s a competitor or a third party using a trademark that’s similar to yours, you can take legal action.
I did an internet search for my desired trademark. Is that sufficient?
Simply conducting a trademark search on Google to find if your desired trademark is available for use is not sufficient. Most internet searches will only identify exact trademark matches, such as identical business names or identical product names. Most trademark issues, however, arise when one trademark is similar to another but isn’t an exact match. The trademark attorneys at Cohn Legal can provide you with a much more comprehensive search that will help you avoid potential legal issues.
How can I determine if a trademark is available?
Determining if a trademark is available involves conducting a comprehensive search to assess whether a similar or identical mark is already in use by another individual or business. This step is crucial to avoid potential conflicts, legal disputes, and rejection of the trademark application.
Here are the steps to perform a thorough trademark search:
- Preliminary Search: Start with a preliminary search on search engines, social media platforms, and business directories to check if the desired trademark or a similar one is already in use by others. This can give you a basic idea, but it may not uncover all potential conflicts.
- USPTO Trademark Database: If you are in the United States, search the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database. You can use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to look for registered and pending trademarks. Pay attention to marks that are similar in sound, appearance, or meaning to your proposed mark.
- International Search: If you plan to use the trademark internationally, consider conducting searches in other countries’ trademark databases. Each country typically has its own trademark office or database.
- Professional Search Services: Hiring a professional trademark search company or an intellectual property attorney who specializes in trademark law can be highly beneficial. These experts have access to more extensive databases and can perform in-depth searches to identify potential conflicts that may not be readily apparent.
- Common Law Search: Remember that some rights may exist under common law even if a mark is not federally registered. A common law search involves checking for unregistered marks that may have acquired rights through usage in a particular geographical area.
- Domain Name Search: Conduct a search to see if the desired domain name associated with the trademark is available. Securing both the trademark and the corresponding domain name can help reinforce your brand’s online presence.
- Industry-Specific Directories: Check industry-specific directories or trade publications to see if similar marks are being used in your field.
- Trademark Attorney Consultation: Consulting with a trademark attorney is highly recommended, especially before filing an application. They can provide valuable insights, help you interpret search results, and advise on the best course of action.
By performing a thorough trademark search, you can reduce the risk of potential conflicts and strengthen your chances of successfully registering your trademark. Remember that trademark law can be complex, and consulting with an experienced trademark attorney will help ensure you make informed decisions throughout the process.
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 to obtain a registered trademark. In many jurisdictions, including the United States, trademark registration is not dependent on the actual sale of goods or services. Instead, the focus is on the intended use of the mark in commerce.
In the United States, you can seek trademark registration based on one of two grounds:
- Actual Use Basis: If you are currently using the trademark in commerce to sell goods or offer services, you can file a trademark application based on actual use. This means you are actively using the mark in connection with the goods or services specified in the application.
- Intent-to-Use Basis: If you have a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce but have not yet started using it, you can file an intent-to-use (ITU) trademark application. This allows you to secure priority for your mark while you are still in the planning stages or awaiting regulatory approvals or production of the goods/services.
The intent-to-use application is particularly beneficial when you have not yet launched your product or service but want to secure the rights to the trademark early in the development process. Once the mark is approved, you will need to submit a “Statement of Use” or an extension request within a certain period, indicating that you have begun using the mark in commerce.
It’s important to note that, for both actual use and intent-to-use applications, the mark must be used in commerce in a lawful manner. Additionally, you must ensure that the mark meets the requirements for trademark protection, such as being distinctive and not confusingly similar to existing marks.
By seeking trademark registration before launching your product or service, you can protect your brand name or logo from potential infringers and establish your exclusive rights to use the mark in connection with your goods or services.
Before starting the trademark registration process, it is wise to conduct a comprehensive search to ensure that the desired mark is available and does not conflict with existing trademarks. Consulting with a trademark attorney can help you navigate the complexities of trademark law, ensuring that your application is filed correctly and increasing the likelihood of a successful registration.
If I only provide my services locally, can I still obtain a federal trademark?
Yes, even if you only provide your services locally, you can still obtain a federal trademark in the United States under certain conditions. The key factor for obtaining a federal trademark is the use of the mark in interstate commerce, which means the mark must be used in connection with services that are offered across state lines or have an impact on commerce between different states.
There are two main bases for filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO):
- Actual Use in Interstate Commerce: If you are already using the mark in connection with your services across state lines or in commerce that involves multiple states, you can file a trademark application based on actual use. This means that the mark has been used in a way that reaches beyond the borders of your local area and has become associated with the services you provide.
- Intent-to-Use Basis: If you have a bona fide intent to use the mark in interstate commerce, you can file an intent-to-use (ITU) trademark application. This means that you plan to use the mark in connection with your services across state lines, but you have not yet commenced using the mark in that manner. Once your mark is approved, you will need to provide evidence of actual use in interstate commerce to complete the registration process.
It’s important to understand that obtaining a federal trademark offers several advantages, even if your services are currently localized:
- Nationwide Protection: Federal registration provides exclusive rights to use the mark nationwide, regardless of the geographic scope of your current services. This means that, if your business expands to other states in the future, your trademark rights are already protected.
- Enhanced Enforcement: Having a federally registered trademark strengthens your position in enforcing your rights against potential infringers, even if they operate outside your local area.
- Credibility and Brand Recognition: A federal trademark registration adds credibility to your brand and may enhance recognition among consumers, making it easier to expand beyond your local market.
If you’re uncertain about the interstate commerce aspect of your services or need guidance on the trademark application process, consulting with a trademark attorney is highly recommended. They can assess your specific situation, advise you on the best course of action, and ensure that your application meets all the legal requirements for federal registration.
What should I register first: the name of my business or my brand logo?
Deciding whether to register the name of your business or your brand logo first depends on several factors, including your business goals, marketing strategy, and budget. Both options offer distinct advantages, and the ideal approach may vary depending on your specific circumstances.
- Registering the Business Name:
Registering the name of your business as a trademark is a common starting point for many entrepreneurs. Your business name is often the primary identifier for your brand and is likely to be used in various marketing materials, websites, and advertisements. Registering the business name provides protection for the name itself, ensuring that others cannot use a similar name in the same industry, which can prevent confusion among consumers.
– Cost-Effective: Registering a text-based trademark (business name) is often less expensive than registering a complex logo.
– Flexibility: A text-based trademark provides flexibility to use the name in various ways, such as in slogans or taglines.
– Broader Scope: Protects the name across different font styles and design variations.
- Registering the Brand Logo:
If your brand logo is unique and serves as a prominent visual representation of your business, you may consider registering it as a trademark. A logo-based trademark provides protection for the specific design, colors, and visual elements of the logo.
– Visual Identity: Logo trademarks help establish a strong visual identity for your brand, making it easily recognizable to consumers.
– Differentiation: A distinctive logo can set your brand apart from competitors, even if they have similar business names.
– Product Packaging: If your logo is used on product packaging, registering it can prevent competitors from imitating the packaging design.
For many businesses, it is beneficial to pursue both types of trademarks eventually. The business name protects the textual aspect, while the logo protects the visual aspect of your brand. By doing so, you gain comprehensive protection for your brand identity, covering both the name and the logo.
Additionally, if your budget allows, you may consider filing for a composite trademark, which includes both the business name and the logo together in one application. This can be a cost-effective approach compared to filing separate applications.
Before proceeding with trademark registration, conducting a comprehensive search to ensure the availability of the name and logo is essential to avoid potential conflicts with existing trademarks. Working with a trademark attorney can streamline the registration process, ensure legal compliance, and increase the likelihood of a successful trademark application.
What is a fanciful trademark?
A fanciful trademark is a type of trademark that possesses a high level of distinctiveness and creativity. Unlike descriptive or generic marks, which describe the product or service they represent, fanciful trademarks are invented, made-up, or completely unrelated to the goods or services they identify. These trademarks are considered the strongest and most protectable marks under trademark law.
Fanciful trademarks are typically created words, combinations of letters, or unique symbols that have no inherent meaning before their adoption as trademarks. They are coined terms deliberately crafted to serve as brand identifiers, allowing businesses to build strong and memorable brand recognition. Since fanciful marks are entirely unique and unrelated to the products or services they represent, they are inherently distinctive and less likely to be confused with other trademarks.
Examples of fanciful trademarks include:
- Kodak: A well-known brand for photography products, which was a coined term created for the company’s unique identity.
- Xerox: A brand known for photocopying machines and services, also a coined term without any pre-existing meaning.
- Google: A company name and search engine, derived from the mathematical term “googol” to emphasize the vastness of its search capabilities.
- Exxon: A coined term used by a major oil and gas company, completely unrelated to the products it sells.
Obtaining trademark registration for fanciful marks is generally straightforward because their unique nature and lack of association with common words or phrases mean there are usually no existing conflicting trademarks.
The strength of a fanciful trademark lies in its inherent distinctiveness, making it easier for the trademark owner to enforce their exclusive rights against potential infringers and protect their brand identity in the marketplace.
When choosing a trademark for your business, a fanciful mark can be a compelling option if you have the resources to build brand recognition and educate consumers about the meaning and association of the coined term with your products or services. However, it’s essential to conduct a comprehensive trademark search to ensure that your chosen fanciful mark is available and does not infringe upon existing trademarks. Consulting with a trademark attorney can help navigate the registration process and provide guidance on building a strong and distinctive brand identity.
What is TEAS?
TEAS stands for the “Trademark Electronic Application System,” and it is an online platform provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to facilitate the electronic filing of trademark applications and related documents. The TEAS system streamlines the application process, making it more efficient and accessible to applicants and their representatives.
TEAS offers different types of trademark application forms, each tailored to specific filing scenarios. These include:
- TEAS Plus: This form is the most cost-effective option, but it has strict requirements and limitations. It requires applicants to meet specific criteria, such as using pre-approved identifications of goods and services and agreeing to use only electronic communication throughout the application process. In return, the application fee is lower than other options.
- TEAS Reduced Fee (TEAS RF): This form offers a middle-ground between TEAS Plus and TEAS Standard. It allows some flexibility in the goods and services descriptions while still offering a reduced application fee.
- TEAS Standard: This is the most flexible option, allowing applicants to submit a broader range of identifications of goods and services. The application fee is higher than TEAS Plus but lower than TEAS RF.
- TEAS Regular: This form is used for applications filed on paper, as opposed to electronic filing. It is the most expensive option and is generally not recommended due to the extra fees and longer processing times associated with paper submissions.
TEAS provides several advantages to applicants:
– Convenience: The system allows applicants to file applications, review documents, and manage correspondence with the USPTO online, eliminating the need for paper forms and physical mail.
– Real-Time Validation: TEAS performs real-time checks for errors or omissions in the application, reducing the likelihood of filing mistakes that could delay the process.
– Immediate Filing Date: Upon successful submission, the application receives an immediate filing date, establishing priority for the mark.
– Faster Processing: TEAS applications are generally processed more quickly than paper submissions.
– Online Status Checking: Applicants can easily monitor the status of their application and receive electronic notifications of any updates or office actions.
– Secure Transactions: TEAS provides a secure platform for electronic transactions and communications with the USPTO.
When applying for a trademark in the United States, using TEAS is the preferred method due to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, it’s essential to ensure that the application is accurate and complete before submission to avoid potential issues during the examination process. Consulting with a trademark attorney can provide valuable guidance and increase the likelihood of a successful trademark registration.
How long does the trademark application process take?
The duration of the trademark application process can vary depending on several factors, including the filing basis, the accuracy of the application, the complexity of the mark, and the workload of the trademark examining attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). On average, the trademark application process can take anywhere from several months to more than a year.
Here is a breakdown of the typical stages and timeframes involved in the trademark application process:
- Filing the Application: The initial step is submitting the trademark application through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) or, in some cases, by mail. The application is assigned a filing date upon receipt.
- Formal Examination: The USPTO conducts a formal examination to ensure the application meets the minimum filing requirements. This typically takes several weeks to a few months.
- Publication for Opposition: If the application passes the formal examination, it is published in the Official Gazette, a weekly publication by the USPTO. This opens a 30-day window for third parties to oppose the registration of the mark. If no opposition is filed, the application proceeds to the next stage.
- Substantive Examination: A trademark examining attorney reviews the application to determine if the mark complies with all statutory requirements, including distinctiveness and likelihood of confusion with existing trademarks. The substantive examination can take several months.
- Office Actions: If the examining attorney finds any issues with the application, they issue an office action detailing the objections or requirements that must be addressed. The applicant has a limited time (usually six months) to respond to the office action. Depending on the complexity of the issues, this back-and-forth process can add several months to the overall timeline.
- Approval and Registration: Once the examining attorney approves the application, or any issues have been satisfactorily addressed, the mark is allowed for registration. The applicant must then pay the required registration fee. After payment, the mark is officially registered, and a registration certificate is issued.
Overall, the trademark application process can take around 8 to 12 months if there are no significant issues or oppositions. However, it can take longer if challenges or office actions need to be resolved. Additionally, the timeframe may be longer for intent-to-use applications since evidence of actual use must be submitted later in the process.
It’s essential for applicants to monitor their application status regularly and respond promptly to any requests from the USPTO to expedite the process. Seeking the assistance of a trademark attorney can also help navigate the complexities of the application process, potentially reducing processing times and increasing the likelihood of a successful registration.
How long does a trademark last?
Once a trademark is registered, it can last indefinitely, as long as the owner continues to use the mark in commerce and meets the necessary renewal requirements. Unlike some other forms of intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks do not have a fixed expiration date.
In the United States, trademark registrations are initially granted for a period of ten years. However, to maintain the registration and keep the trademark in force, the owner must file a renewal application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) between the ninth and tenth years of the registration. This renewal application confirms that the mark is still in use and that the owner has continued to use it in connection with the specified goods or services.
The renewal process can be repeated indefinitely, with each renewal lasting for another ten-year period. As long as the owner properly maintains and renews the trademark registration, it remains valid and provides ongoing protection for the brand.
It’s essential for trademark owners to be diligent in monitoring renewal deadlines to avoid inadvertently losing their trademark rights. Failure to renew the registration can result in the mark becoming abandoned, which means it is no longer protected, and others may be able to use the mark freely.
In some countries or regions outside the United States, trademark renewal periods and requirements may differ, so it’s crucial for trademark owners to be aware of the specific rules and regulations in the jurisdictions where they have registered their trademarks.
In summary, once a trademark is registered and actively used in commerce, it can potentially last indefinitely through the renewal process. Consistent use and proper maintenance are key to preserving the exclusive rights associated with the trademark and ensuring its ongoing protection as a valuable asset for the brand. Seeking advice from a trademark attorney can be beneficial in managing the renewal process and maintaining the trademark’s validity.
Can I use a trademark without registering it?
Yes, you can use a trademark without registering it. Trademark rights in many countries, including the United States, are primarily established through actual use of the mark in commerce. This means that as soon as you start using a mark to identify your goods or services in connection with your business, you may acquire what are known as common law trademark rights.
Common law trademark rights offer some level of protection in the geographic areas where you use the mark. However, these rights are limited compared to the protections provided by federal or state registration. Here’s what you need to know about using a trademark without registering it:
- Limited Geographic Scope: Common law trademark rights are typically confined to the geographic areas where you have been using the mark in commerce. If someone else starts using a confusingly similar mark in a different region, you may have difficulty enforcing your rights against them.
- Less Protection: Unregistered trademarks have weaker legal protection than registered trademarks. In case of trademark infringement, enforcing common law rights can be more challenging and may involve a costly legal battle to prove prior use and establish consumer recognition.
- Priority of Use: In some jurisdictions, including the United States, common law rights are based on the principle of “first to use.” This means that the first party to use the mark in commerce may have superior rights over others who started using the mark later, even if they obtained federal registration.
- Benefits of Registration: Registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or a relevant trademark authority offers significant advantages. Federal registration provides nationwide protection, a presumption of ownership, the right to use the ® symbol, and easier enforcement of your rights in court.
- Trademark Symbol (™): Even if you have not registered your trademark, you can still use the ™ symbol to indicate that you claim rights to the mark as a common law trademark. This symbol serves as notice to others that you consider the mark to be a trademark and assert ownership.
While using a trademark without registration is possible, obtaining federal or state registration is highly recommended. It provides stronger protection, wider geographic reach, and greater legal advantages in case of infringement. Before using a trademark, conducting a thorough search to ensure no conflicting marks exist is crucial to avoid potential legal issues. Consulting with a trademark attorney can help you understand the best strategy for protecting and leveraging your trademark rights effectively.
When should I hire a trademark lawyer?
Hiring a trademark lawyer is a crucial step when you are considering applying for a trademark, planning to use a trademark, or facing any trademark-related issues. A trademark lawyer specializes in trademark law and can provide invaluable guidance throughout the entire trademark process. Here are several situations in which you should consider hiring a trademark lawyer:
- Trademark Search and Clearance: Before adopting and using a trademark, conducting a comprehensive trademark search is essential to ensure that the mark is available and does not infringe upon existing trademarks. A trademark lawyer can perform a thorough search and analyze the results to identify potential conflicts and risks.
- Trademark Application Preparation: Filing a trademark application requires careful attention to detail and adherence to legal requirements. A trademark lawyer can assist in preparing the application, ensuring that it is accurately filled out, and that the mark is properly classified under the correct goods or services categories.
- Application Filing Strategy: A trademark lawyer can advise on the best filing strategy, such as whether to file under an actual use basis or an intent-to-use basis, depending on your business plans and timeline.
- Responding to Office Actions: If the trademark examining attorney raises objections or issues an office action, a trademark lawyer can guide you in crafting a well-crafted response to address any concerns and overcome potential rejections.
- Trademark Registration Maintenance: After obtaining trademark registration, you must adhere to renewal and maintenance requirements. A trademark lawyer can help you navigate these processes and ensure that your mark remains protected.
- Trademark Enforcement and Infringement: If you discover that someone is using your trademark without permission or you receive a cease and desist letter for alleged infringement, a trademark lawyer can advise you on the appropriate course of action and represent your interests in resolving the dispute.
- Trademark Licensing and Assignment: If you wish to license or assign your trademark to others, a trademark lawyer can assist in drafting and negotiating agreements to protect your rights and ensure compliance with trademark laws.
- International Trademark Protection: If you plan to expand your business internationally, a trademark lawyer can guide you through the process of obtaining trademark protection in other countries and navigating international trademark laws.
Overall, hiring a trademark lawyer ensures that you have expert guidance throughout the trademark process, helping you avoid costly mistakes, protect your brand, and maximize the value of your trademark. A trademark lawyer’s expertise and knowledge of trademark law can make a significant difference in the success and protection of your brand identity.
What is a trademark’s specimen?
In the context of trademark registration, a specimen refers to a sample or example of how the trademark is used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods or services associated with the mark. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires applicants to submit a specimen as part of the trademark application process.
The purpose of the specimen is to demonstrate that the trademark is in actual use in commerce and not merely an idea or intention to use the mark. Providing a valid specimen is essential for both actual use-based and intent-to-use trademark applications. Here are some key points about trademarks specimens:
- Types of Specimens: The acceptable type of specimen depends on whether the trademark is used for goods or services. For goods, acceptable specimens can include labels, tags, packaging, product displays, or photographs showing the mark directly on the product. For services, acceptable specimens may include website screenshots, advertising materials, brochures, or signage displaying the mark in connection with the offered services.
- Quality of Specimens: The specimen must show a clear and direct association between the mark and the goods or services provided. It should demonstrate how the mark is presented to consumers in the ordinary course of trade.
- Use in Commerce: For actual use-based applications, the specimen must show that the mark is used in commerce, meaning the mark is used in connection with the sale or transport of goods or the rendering of services across state lines or in interstate commerce.
- Intent-to-Use Applications: For intent-to-use applications, a specimen is not required at the time of filing. Instead, a “Statement of Use” with an acceptable specimen must be submitted later in the application process, after the mark is being used in commerce.
- Digital Specimens: In recent years, the USPTO has accepted digital specimens for many goods and services, reflecting the growth of e-commerce and digital marketing.
- Specimen Review: The USPTO examines the specimen to ensure it meets the requirements for valid use of the mark in commerce. If the specimen does not meet the criteria, the examining attorney may issue an office action requesting a proper specimen or further evidence of use.
Submitting a proper specimen is a critical part of the trademark application process. Providing an incorrect or insufficient specimen can delay the application’s progress or lead to its rejection. Therefore, consulting with a trademark attorney can be beneficial in selecting and preparing the appropriate specimen to support your trademark application. An experienced attorney can guide you through the application process and help ensure that your trademark registration is successful.
Can I request an expedited approval of my trademark registration?
Yes, it is possible to request an expedited or accelerated examination of a trademark application under certain circumstances. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers a program called the “TEAS Plus” with “TEAS RF” (Reduced Fee) that allows applicants to expedite the examination process for their trademark application.
Here’s how the expedited examination process works:
- TEAS Plus and TEAS RF Applications: When filing a TEAS Plus or TEAS RF application, the applicant agrees to use the USPTO’s electronic filing system (TEAS) and meet specific requirements. In return for adhering to these requirements, the application receives preferential treatment in the examination queue.
- Expedited Examination Fee: While standard trademark application fees apply, expedited examination involves an additional fee, which is lower than the fee charged for a full expedited service.
- Faster Examination: Applications filed under the TEAS Plus or TEAS RF option receive faster examination compared to regular applications. Typically, the USPTO will review these applications ahead of others in the examination queue.
- Response Time: If the USPTO issues an office action with objections or requirements, the applicant must respond within six months. If the applicant fails to respond within this period, the application will lose its expedited status.
It’s important to note that expedited examination does not guarantee registration, and the standard criteria for trademark registration still apply. The mark must be eligible for trademark protection, meet the requirements of distinctiveness, and not be confusingly similar to existing trademarks.
The decision to request expedited examination should be carefully considered. It is most beneficial when there is an urgent need for trademark registration or when the applicant needs to enforce their rights quickly. However, if the mark is not eligible for expedited examination or the applicant does not comply with the TEAS Plus or TEAS RF requirements, the application will proceed through the regular examination process.
Before pursuing expedited examination or any trademark application, it’s advisable to conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure the mark is available for registration and does not infringe on existing trademarks. Consulting with a trademark attorney can help you understand the best approach for your specific situation and increase the chances of a successful trademark registration.
Can I trademark a phrase?
Yes, it is possible to trademark a phrase under certain conditions. Trademark protection can be granted to a distinctive and non-generic phrase that is used to identify and distinguish your goods or services in the marketplace. However, not all phrases are eligible for trademark registration, and there are specific requirements that must be met to obtain trademark protection for a phrase.
Here are some key considerations when seeking to trademark a phrase:
- Distinctiveness: To be eligible for trademark protection, a phrase must be distinctive and not merely descriptive or generic. Descriptive phrases that directly describe the goods or services offered are generally not eligible for trademark registration. On the other hand, phrases that are creative, suggestive, or arbitrary in relation to the goods or services may be considered distinctive and eligible for protection.
- Secondary Meaning: If a phrase is initially descriptive but has acquired a secondary meaning through extensive use in commerce, it may become eligible for trademark protection. Secondary meaning refers to the public’s perception that the phrase specifically identifies your brand or source of goods or services, rather than describing the product itself.
- Use in Commerce: To obtain federal trademark registration in the United States, the phrase must be used in commerce in connection with the specified goods or services. This means the phrase must be used on or in connection with the actual products, packaging, or advertising materials, or in the provision of the specified services.
- Likelihood of Confusion: The USPTO examines trademark applications to determine if there is a likelihood of confusion with existing trademarks. If the proposed phrase is too similar to an already registered trademark or a pending application, the USPTO may refuse registration to avoid confusion among consumers.
- Generic Phrases: Generic phrases that describe the category of goods or services itself are not eligible for trademark protection. For example, you cannot trademark the phrase “Smartphone” to describe a mobile phone.
- Disparaging or Offensive Phrases: Trademark applications for phrases that are considered disparaging, offensive, or immoral may be refused registration by the USPTO.
If you believe your phrase meets the criteria for trademark protection, you can file a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the relevant trademark authority in your country. Conducting a comprehensive trademark search before filing is essential to ensure that the phrase is available for registration and does not infringe on existing trademarks. Consulting with a trademark attorney can provide valuable guidance in the process of selecting, protecting, and registering your phrase as a trademark.
Can I trademark a logo?
Yes, you can trademark a logo to protect its unique design elements and use it to identify and distinguish your goods or services in the marketplace. Registering a logo as a trademark provides you with exclusive rights to use that particular design in connection with the specified goods or services, preventing others from using a similar logo that could cause confusion among consumers.
Here are the key steps involved in trademarking a logo:
- Distinctiveness: To be eligible for trademark protection, a logo must be distinctive and non-generic. A distinctive logo is one that is unique, creative, and not commonly used in the relevant industry. Logos that are too generic or merely descriptive may not be eligible for trademark registration.
- Use in Commerce: In the United States, to obtain federal trademark registration for a logo, the logo must be used in commerce in connection with the specified goods or services. This means the logo must be applied to the actual products, packaging, or advertising materials, or used in providing the specified services.
- Search for Conflicts: Before filing a trademark application for your logo, it’s essential to conduct a comprehensive trademark search to ensure that there are no similar logos already registered or pending with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A trademark attorney can assist in conducting this search and analyzing the results.
- Logo Format: When filing a trademark application for a logo, you must provide a clear representation of the logo’s design. This can be in the form of a digital image or a drawing. The representation should accurately depict the elements of the logo that you seek to protect.
- Description of Goods/Services: The trademark application requires a description of the goods or services with which the logo is associated. It’s essential to provide a precise and accurate description to ensure proper classification.
- Filing the Application: You can file a trademark application with the USPTO through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) or by mail. The application will undergo examination by a trademark examining attorney to ensure it meets all legal requirements.
Once your logo is successfully registered as a trademark, you will have exclusive rights to use that logo in connection with the specified goods or services. This can help build brand recognition, establish consumer trust, and prevent others from using a confusingly similar logo that could dilute your brand’s identity.
As the process of trademarking a logo can be complex and requires adherence to legal guidelines, consulting with a trademark attorney is highly recommended. An attorney can guide you through the process, ensure that your logo meets the requirements 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 specific circumstances. However, obtaining trademark protection for a color is challenging, and the criteria for doing so are stringent. Trademarking a color involves demonstrating that the color has acquired distinctiveness and that consumers associate it exclusively with your brand or product.
Here are the key factors to consider when seeking to trademark a color:
- Distinctiveness: To be eligible for trademark protection, a color must be inherently distinctive or have acquired secondary meaning. Inherently distinctive colors are those that are unique and unusual in the context of the relevant industry. Colors that are commonly used in the industry or that serve a functional purpose are generally not eligible for trademark protection.
- Secondary Meaning: If a color is not inherently distinctive, it may still be eligible for trademark protection if it has acquired secondary meaning. Secondary meaning refers to the public’s perception that the color specifically identifies your brand or product, rather than merely serving a decorative or functional purpose.
- Use in Commerce: As with other trademarks, the color must be used in commerce in connection with the specified goods or services to be eligible for trademark protection. This means the color must be prominently displayed and associated with the product or service in a way that consumers recognize it as a trademark.
- Trade Dress: In some cases, a color may be protected as part of the overall trade dress of a product, which includes the product’s packaging or design. Trade dress protection extends beyond just the color itself and includes the combination of elements that make the product or packaging distinctive.
- Distinctive Packaging: A color used on product packaging may be protectable if the packaging as a whole is unique and non-functional, and consumers recognize the color as a distinctive identifier of the brand or source.
- Secondary Meaning Evidence: If you are claiming secondary meaning, you will need to provide evidence of consumer recognition and association of the color with your brand. This evidence may include consumer surveys, market research, or other documentation demonstrating the color’s distinctiveness in the minds of consumers.
Given the complexities and challenges involved in trademarking a color, it is highly recommended to work with a trademark attorney who has experience in handling non-traditional trademark applications. An attorney can help you assess the strength of your case, gather the necessary evidence, and navigate the trademark application process to increase the likelihood of success.
Can I transfer my trademark to someone else?
Yes, you can transfer your trademark to someone else through a process called trademark assignment. Trademark assignment is the legal term used when the ownership of a trademark is transferred from one party (the assignor) to another party (the assignee). This transfer of ownership must be recorded with the relevant trademark authority to ensure the new owner’s rights are officially recognized.
Here are the key points to consider when transferring a trademark:
- Assignment Agreement: The transfer of a trademark requires a written assignment agreement between the current owner (assignor) and the new owner (assignee). This agreement should outline the terms of the transfer, including the specific trademark being transferred, any associated goodwill, and any limitations or conditions on the use of the mark.
- Recordation with the Trademark Office: In most countries, including the United States, the assignment must be recorded with the trademark office to be effective. Filing the assignment with the appropriate trademark authority ensures that the new owner’s details are updated in the official trademark records.
- Goodwill Transfer: In some jurisdictions, the assignment of a trademark includes the transfer of associated goodwill. Goodwill refers to the reputation and recognition that the trademark has acquired in connection with the goods or services it represents.
- Restrictions and Conditions: The assignment agreement can include restrictions or conditions on the use of the trademark by the new owner. For example, the agreement may specify geographic limitations or restrict the use of the mark in certain industries.
- Trademark Office Fees: There are usually fees associated with recording the trademark assignment with the trademark office. The fees vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of assignment.
- License vs. Assignment: It’s important to distinguish between trademark assignment and trademark licensing. An assignment involves a complete transfer of ownership, while a license allows another party to use the trademark under specified conditions while the original owner retains ownership.
- International Considerations: If the trademark is registered in multiple countries, the assignment process may vary in each jurisdiction. It’s important to comply with the specific requirements of each country’s trademark office.
Trademark assignment is a legal process that requires careful attention to detail and adherence to the relevant laws and regulations. Working with a trademark attorney can help ensure that the assignment agreement is properly drafted, the transfer is recorded accurately, and the new owner’s rights are fully protected.
Can I license my trademark to others?
Yes, you can license your trademark to others through a trademark licensing agreement. Trademark licensing allows you, as the trademark owner (licensor), to grant permission to another party (licensee) to use your trademark in connection with specific goods or services, under certain conditions and for a defined period.
Here are the key points to consider when licensing your trademark:
- Licensing Agreement: A trademark licensing agreement is a legal contract between the licensor and the licensee. The agreement should outline the terms and conditions of the license, including the scope of use, geographic territory, duration, quality standards, and any royalty or payment arrangements.
- Quality Control: Trademark owners have a legal obligation to maintain quality control over the goods or services offered under the licensed trademark. This means that the licensor must ensure that the licensee maintains the same level of quality associated with the trademark to protect its reputation.
- Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive License: A trademark licensing agreement can be either exclusive or non-exclusive. An exclusive license means that the licensor agrees not to license the trademark to anyone else for the specified goods or services within the defined territory. A non-exclusive license allows the licensor to grant licenses to multiple licensees for the same goods or services.
- Geographic Scope: The licensing agreement should clearly define the geographic territory in which the licensee is allowed to use the trademark. It can be limited to a specific country, region, or worldwide, depending on the agreement.
- Duration of the License: The licensing agreement should specify the period for which the license is granted. It can be for a fixed term or renewable based on certain conditions.
- Royalties or Payments: If the licensor requires compensation for the use of the trademark, the licensing agreement should outline the royalty or payment structure, including the frequency and method of payment.
- Termination Clause: The agreement should include a termination clause that outlines the conditions under which either party can terminate the license.
- Trademark Office Notification: In some jurisdictions, the trademark office may require notification of the licensing agreement to maintain accurate records of the trademark’s ownership and use.
Licensing your trademark can be a strategic way to generate additional revenue, expand the reach of your brand, and increase brand visibility. However, it is essential to carefully consider the terms of the licensing agreement and ensure that the licensee complies with quality control standards to protect the integrity of your brand. Working with a trademark attorney can help you draft a comprehensive licensing agreement and navigate the legal aspects of trademark licensing to safeguard your rights as the trademark owner.
If my trademark is registered in the United States, is it protected in other countries as well?
No, trademark registration in the United States only provides protection within the borders of the United States. Trademark rights are territorial, meaning that they are generally limited to the country or region where the trademark is registered. Therefore, if you have a registered trademark in the United States, it does not automatically grant you trademark protection in other countries.
If you wish to protect your trademark in other countries, you will need to pursue trademark registration in each country where you seek protection. This process involves filing separate trademark applications with the trademark office of each country or utilizing regional trademark systems if available (e.g., the European Union’s trademark system).
International trademark protection can be obtained through various mechanisms, including:
- Madrid System: The Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks allows trademark owners to seek protection in multiple countries by filing a single international application with their home country’s trademark office. This system simplifies the process of obtaining protection in multiple jurisdictions.
- Regional Trademark Systems: Some regions, such as the European Union, have established regional trademark systems that allow for a single application to cover multiple countries within that region.
- National Applications: If the Madrid System or regional systems are not applicable or if you only need protection in a few select countries, you can file national trademark applications directly with the trademark offices of those countries.
- Paris Convention: The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property provides a mechanism for claiming priority rights in other member countries within six months of filing the initial trademark application in one member country. This can be useful if you plan to expand your trademark to other countries shortly after obtaining the first registration.
It’s important to note that trademark laws and requirements vary from country to country, and the registration process can be complex and time-consuming. Therefore, it is advisable to work with a trademark attorney who is familiar with international trademark law and can assist you in navigating the process of seeking protection for your trademark in multiple countries. A well-planned international trademark strategy can help safeguard your brand’s identity and reputation globally.
Is there such a thing as an “International Trademark”?
While there is no single “international trademark” that provides worldwide protection, there are mechanisms and treaties in place to facilitate the process of obtaining trademark protection in multiple countries. These mechanisms aim to simplify the registration process and offer a level of international protection for trademarks.
The two primary systems for seeking international trademark protection are:
- Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks: The Madrid System is a treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It allows trademark owners to seek protection in multiple countries through a single international application filed with their home country’s trademark office. This system is particularly beneficial for businesses looking to protect their trademarks in several countries simultaneously. The Madrid System enables the centralized management of trademark registrations and renewals across multiple jurisdictions, streamlining the administrative process and potentially reducing costs.
- European Union Trademark (now the European Union Intellectual Property Office – EUIPO): For businesses seeking trademark protection within the European Union (EU), the EUIPO offers a system for registering a European Union Trademark (EUTM). This single application covers all 27 EU member states, providing unified protection across the EU. However, it’s essential to note that with the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU (Brexit), EUTMs no longer cover the UK, and separate trademark applications may be necessary.
While these systems offer efficient ways to seek trademark protection across multiple countries, they are not entirely comprehensive. International trademark protection is still country-specific, and there are countries that are not part of these systems or treaties. As such, if your business operates or plans to operate in countries outside the scope of these systems, you will need to pursue national trademark registrations in those individual countries.
Additionally, individual countries have their own trademark laws and requirements, and the registration process can vary significantly from one country to another. It is essential to conduct thorough research and consult with a trademark attorney who has expertise in international trademark law to develop a comprehensive strategy for protecting your brand globally.
In summary, while there is no singular “international trademark,” there are international systems and treaties that facilitate trademark protection in multiple countries. These systems streamline the registration process and offer practical solutions for businesses seeking to protect their trademarks in various jurisdictions around the world.
What is a trademark office action?
A trademark office action is an official communication from the trademark office, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), issued to the applicant in response to a filed trademark application. The purpose of an office action is to inform the applicant of any issues or deficiencies identified during the examination of the application. It may request additional information, clarification, or corrections to ensure that the application complies with all legal requirements for trademark registration.
There are two main types of office actions:
- Substantive Office Action: This type of office action addresses substantive issues with the trademark application, such as conflicts with existing trademarks, lack of distinctiveness, or improper classification of goods or services. The examining attorney will provide a detailed explanation of the grounds for refusal and may request the applicant to submit arguments or evidence to overcome the objections.
- Non-Substantive Office Action: Non-substantive office actions typically pertain to formalities or administrative issues in the application. For example, the trademark office may request minor corrections to the application form, additional fees, or clarifications on specific details.
Common reasons for receiving a trademark office action include:
– Likelihood of confusion with an existing registered trademark
– Descriptive or generic nature of the proposed mark
– Lack of distinctiveness or failure to function as a trademark
– Improper classification of goods or services
– Incomplete or inaccurate information in the application
It’s essential to carefully review the office action and take appropriate action within the specified response deadline. Failure to respond to the office action within the given timeframe may result in the application being abandoned, and the applicant will need to start the filing process again.
In response to an office action, the applicant can choose to:
- Amend the Application: The applicant can address the issues raised in the office action by making amendments or providing additional information as requested.
- Submit Arguments: If the applicant believes the examiner’s objections are unfounded, they can provide legal arguments and evidence to support the registration of the mark.
- Abandon the Application: If the applicant decides not to pursue registration further, they may choose to abandon the application.
Navigating the trademark application process and responding to office actions can be complex, especially for substantive issues. Seeking guidance from a trademark attorney can help ensure that the application is handled properly, increasing the chances of successful registration and protecting the applicant’s trademark rights.
What is the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board?
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) exists to help resolve conflicts among trademark owners in these instances:
• A third party believes your existing trademark is harming their business and should be cancelled.
• A third party believes your pending trademark shouldn’t be approved because their business would be harmed.
• You want to appeal an examining attorney’s decision to reject your trademark application.
• You want to challenge a third party’s existing trademark or pending trademark.
All of these proceedings have specific procedures and strict deadlines that must be adhered to. A trademark attorney can help you navigate these complex and lengthy proceedings.
What should I do if I receive an office action on my trademark application?
Receiving an office action on your trademark application does not necessarily mean that your application will be denied. It is a common part of the trademark registration process, and how you respond to the office action can significantly impact the outcome of your application. Here are the steps you should take if you receive an office action:
- Carefully Review the Office Action: Read the office action thoroughly to understand the specific issues or objections raised by the trademark examiner. Identify the reasons for refusal or the requirements that need to be addressed.
- Consult with a Trademark Attorney: If you haven’t already done so, consider seeking advice from a trademark attorney. An experienced attorney can help you interpret the office action, determine the best course of action, and provide legal arguments and strategies to overcome any objections.
- Respond Promptly: Office actions have deadlines for response, typically ranging from six months to six months from the date of issuance. It is crucial to respond within the specified timeframe to avoid abandonment of your application.
- Gather Evidence and Information: If the office action requests additional information or evidence, gather the necessary documents to support your application. This could include evidence of use, consumer surveys, or legal arguments explaining why your mark should be registered.
- Amend the Application as Necessary: If there are formal or substantive issues with your application, make the necessary amendments to address the examiner’s concerns. This may include clarifying descriptions, disclaiming certain elements, or modifying the identification of goods or services.
- Provide Arguments and Evidence: If the office action raises substantive objections, such as a likelihood of confusion with an existing mark, provide strong legal arguments and evidence to support the distinctiveness and uniqueness of your mark. Show how your mark is different from any cited marks and explain why there is no likelihood of confusion.
- Seek Compromise: In some cases, a middle ground or compromise may be reached to resolve certain issues with the application. This could involve narrowing the description of goods or services or making slight modifications to the mark.
- Review and Submit the Response: Before submitting your response, carefully review all the information and arguments you’ve provided to ensure they are accurate and comprehensive. Submit the response through the appropriate channels, either electronically or via mail, and retain a copy for your records.
Remember that the response to an office action is crucial in determining the fate of your trademark application. A well-prepared and well-reasoned response can lead to successful registration of your mark. Engaging with a trademark attorney during this process can be highly beneficial, as they can guide you through the complexities of responding to the office action and increase your chances of obtaining a registered trademark for your brand.
How do I enforce my trademark rights?
Once your trademark is registered, it is essential to actively enforce your rights to protect the distinctiveness and reputation of your brand. Enforcing your trademark rights involves taking action against unauthorized or infringing use of your mark by others. Here are the key steps to enforce your trademark rights:
- Monitoring and Detection: Regularly monitor the marketplace, both online and offline, to identify any unauthorized use or potential infringement of your trademark. This can involve monitoring social media platforms, e-commerce websites, and industry publications.
- Investigate Infringement: If you detect any potential infringement, conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence of the unauthorized use. Document instances of infringement, including dates, locations, and copies of the infringing material.
- Cease and Desist Letter: The first step in enforcing your trademark rights is often sending a cease and desist letter to the infringing party. This letter demands that they stop using your trademark and may request additional actions, such as providing an assurance of compliance or recalling infringing products.
- Negotiation or Settlement: In some cases, the infringing party may be willing to negotiate a resolution to the issue. This could involve agreeing to change their mark, stop using your mark, or enter into a licensing agreement if appropriate.
- Administrative Proceedings: Depending on the jurisdiction, administrative procedures such as opposition or cancellation proceedings may be available to challenge conflicting trademark applications or existing registrations that are causing confusion with your mark.
- Litigation: If the infringement persists or negotiations are unsuccessful, pursuing legal action may be necessary. Filing a trademark infringement lawsuit can seek remedies such as injunctions, damages, and attorney’s fees.
- Customs Recordation (for International Protection): If you have registered your trademark in multiple countries, consider recording your trademark with customs authorities in those countries to help prevent the importation of counterfeit goods bearing your mark.
- Educate Employees and Partners: Ensure that your employees and business partners are aware of your trademark rights and the importance of proper usage. This helps prevent unintentional infringement and strengthens your overall brand protection efforts.
Enforcing trademark rights requires vigilance and consistent monitoring of the marketplace. It is essential to take prompt action when infringement is identified to prevent further harm to your brand and mitigate potential damages. Working with a trademark attorney can be beneficial during the enforcement process, as they can guide you through the legal aspects, strategize the most effective approach, and help you achieve the best possible outcome in protecting your valuable trademark rights.
What are the ways a trademark attorney can help me protect my trademark rights?
A trademark attorney can help you understand what your rights are and give you valuable advice about the best way to enforce those rights. He or she can help you monitor the market for possible infringement. Then, if you learn that competitors are using your trademark without your permission, your attorney can walk you through what legal options are available to you and represent you in court.
Why Trademark Registration Matters for Tulsa Businesses
Tulsa is an excellent location to start a new business. The locals are friendly and the downtown area is always bustling. There are many steps to opening a successful business in Tulsa, but one step that should never be overlooked is conducting a thorough trademark search and registration.
Nowadays, many people use Google or a similar search engine to check if any other businesses are using the name they want. This approach is appealing to business owners because it’s easy and doesn’t cost any money. But the truth is, hiring a trademark attorney and registering a trademark properly is the more cost-effective option in the long run.
Imagine the following: Brad has developed a line of men’s grooming products and is anxious to go to market. He’s going to sell his products exclusively online. A quick Google search reveals that his business name, Well-Groomed Gentleman, is not associated with any other hair care products on the market.
Brad jumps right into the logo development, branding, website creation, and ordering customized labels for his products. Brad was selling his products across the nation through his website for just a few weeks when he received a cease-and-desist letter in the mail. It turns out that a major hair care company had trademarked the name Well-Groomed Gentlemen for a line of men’s hair care products that had not been released yet.
If Brad had taken the step of hiring a trademark attorney to conduct a comprehensive search, he would’ve learned that the name he wanted was already taken. Because the product wasn’t released to the public, he never would have found it through a simple Google search.
Now Brad has to take down his website and go through a rebranding process. This will be an expensive undertaking and could have been avoided if Brad contacted a trademark attorney as soon as he had the idea for a new business.
When it comes to trademark rights, don’t rely on Google. If you’re starting a new business, then contact the attorneys at Cohn Legal for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
** Cohn Legal, PLLC is not located in Tulsa and yet it can assist businesses from Oklahoma in registering a federal Trademark because trademarks are governed under federal law.
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