Register A Trademark And Secure Your Brand Identity
What Are Trademarks?
A trademark can be a text based mark such as a word, characters including numbers, or visual symbols such as a logo. Trademarks can be anything that would be perceived by a consumer in association with products or services.
What Are The Limitations On Trademarks?
If there is any person who has a registered trademark in the same class of goods and services, then that conflict could limit your ability to trademark a similar word, character or symbol. For example, perhaps someone is selling clothing with a certain symbol that they are trying to trademark and there is another clothing brand that has a similar symbol, that would cause a conflict. However, similar symbols can often be trademarked across classes of goods and services. For example, if there was an automobile company with a certain symbol and you wanted to trademark a similar logo for a clothing company, then you could potentially register with a similar symbol. It will boil down to the trademark office and differentiating if something is going to cause consumer confusion. So if you had an automobile company that wanted to use the Nike swoosh, then you could potentially do that, but what the trademark office will look at is how well known the symbol is and if thats going to cause consumers to affiliate the auto company with the Nike brand. This is where you run into trouble with acquiring a trademark for that symbol. Theoretically it could work, but once a brand is so well known it would be extremely difficult to transfer the trademark across different boards.
When Should I Think About Trademark Protection?
You can’t register or use a trademark until you’re using it in commerce and selling your products or offering your service, but you can file an application with an intent to use which can be important to establish a date with a government body and protect your rights in case someone else goes after a similar trademark around the same time. Its a good idea if you think you carry a good brand or name to file a trademark right away.
What Is The Process?
With an intent to use, you must file the application saying what the mark, character, word or symbol is, you will describe the good or services associated with it, pay the government fees and submit the application.
If the symbol is already in use then you would submit an example of that symbol in use. This could be your website if you’re offering services or package if you’re selling goods.
Once you file that with the Us Patent & Trademark Office, they will assign an examiner to your application, which in this case will be an attorney. The examiner is going to do a search to look for any similar marks in those classes and they will either issue an office action of rejection based on other marks they’ve found or publish the mark in the USPTO Gazette. If no one opposes your mark at publication then your trademark will go through and be accepted becoming registered shortly after that process.
What Is The USPTO Gazette?
The USPTO is still somewhat stuck in the 20th century where every Tuesday they will publish a list of the trademarks that have issued that week. This is a publicly available opportunity for people to speak up and point out that a new trademark may indeed be infringing upon their own trademark and thus block the new trademark from issuing. At Genius Patent we closely monitor the Gazette to ensure that our clients have lasting protection from trademark infringement. If no one speaks up to block or challenge the published trademark, it will be accepted and registered 2-3 months later. If conflicting marks have been found, then we will need to determine if you want to continue to pursue it. If you do want to pursue it, then there could be approximately another 6-8 months of back and forth working to convince the USPTO as to why your trademark should be registered.
Do Text Based Marks Cover Any Fonts?
With a text based registered trademark, you’re trademark would cover any interpretation of that word wether it be different capitalizations or different fonts.
Trademark Protection & Litigation
Once you obtain a registered trademark, other companies are not allowed to use this mark, word, symbol or character within the same class that your trademark is associated with. You really have to stay vigilant to make sure that nobody else is infringing upon your mark. If you notice that somebody is using the same or very similar mark within your class then you would let them know about your trademark and possibility of infringement and potentially pursue litigation if you had to. The US Patent & Trademark Office will be constantly monitoring the Gazette and notify you if someone has filed an application with something similar and is about to publish so that you would have to opportunity to contest the application. Similar to patents, a trademark takes on an entirely new level of authority once it has been successfully defended. In fact, lack of defense can be construed as grounds for open use of your trademark and could complicate or reduce your ability to seek damages in an infringement case.
What Is The Term Of Trademark Protection?
Once you have a registered trademark, you must upkeep it by filing periodic “statements of use”. This can be a current picture of the trademark in use, along with a fee. The first statement of use must be filed within 5 years and the following statements of use must be filed every 10 years. Therefore, every renewal term thereafter lasts for 10 years and you are able to keep a trademark forever as long as you upkeep it accordingly.
Cost For Registering A Trademark
|US Trademark Search (State, Federal, Class)||$500||$0|
|Worldwide Trademark Search||$800||$0|
|Office Action Response||$750||$0|
|Statement Of Use||$200||$100|
|6 Month Extension For Statement Of Use||$0||$150|
|Trademark Declaration Of Use (6 years)||$100||$100|
|Trademark Renewal (every 10 years)||$350||$400|