Trademark FAQ:

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is any word, name, symbol or device, that is either currently in use or will be used in commerce by an individual or business in order to identify and distinguish their goods from the goods of another.

What can be trademarked?

Generally, any word, phrase, or device has the potential to achieve federal trademark registration. As long as the potential trademark identifies the source of the goods in order to distinguish them from the goods of another, then registration is typically available.

How does a service mark differ from a trademark?

While a trademark is used to distinguish goods used in commerce from one another, a service mark is used to identify and distinguish the services of one from the services of another.

How does a trademark differ from a patent or copyright?

The purpose of a trademark is to distinguish goods in order for the public to be able to determine the source of the goods, through the use of a mark, symbol, or device. A copyright affords protection of original works of an author. A patent is used to protect inventions and other discoveries.

Do I have to register my trademark?

While you are not required to register your trademark, many valuable benefits are obtained by federal trademark registration.

What are the benefits to having a federally registered trademark?

A federally registered trademark creates valuable benefits, including:

  • Public notice of your ownership in the trademark,
  • Creation of a legal presumption that you own the trademark and have the exclusive right to use the trademark nationwide in connection with the goods and/or services listed with your trademark registration,
  • Without a federal registration, trademark rights will be limited to the geographic area where the trademark is used, compared to rights nationwide,
  • A federally registered trademark allows the trademark owner a quicker process to expand their products to foreign nations and gain trademarks in those nations through use of the Madrid Protocol.

Who regulates federal trademark registration?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regulates the trademark application and registration of federal trademarks in the United States.

How long does a trademark registration last?

A federal trademark registration has the ability to last indefinitely, but the duration of an initial trademark registration is 10 years. Between year 9 and 10, you may submit a trademark application to renew your trademark registration for an additional 10 years. This process is repeated every 10 years. As long as the owner stays up to date on renewal deadlines and the trademark still serves its purpose, then a valid registration may continue.

Must I use an attorney to register a trademark?

You do not need to use a trademark attorney, however, just as you do not need to register your trademark, having a trademark attorney register your trademark provides several advantages:

  • A trademark attorney knows all the details and requirements of trademark law and what the USPTO examining attorneys look for in each trademark application;
  • A trademark attorney can give an applicant the likelihood of successful trademark registration and assist to increase these chances for a successful;
  • There are many deadlines that must be met in order for a registration to be successful from start to finish. Missing a deadline can result in your trademark being “abandoned.” A trademark attorney will be conscious of and on top of all deadlines;
  • A trademark attorney can quickly and effectively perform a Trademark Search to determine any conflicting trademarks prior to an application, resulting in saving a client from wasting money on an application that would likely be rejected if a conflicting trademark appears;
  • Having a trademark attorney can save you money. Failure to properly search for conflicting trademarks, or simply relying on popular online legal websites, can result in wasting hundreds of dollars in application fees or result in your business having to change the name of your product. A trademark attorney can save you from wasting money and evaluate if your trademark has a likelihood of a successful registration the first time around.

How long will it take to register my trademark?

The length from application to registration could be anywhere from a couple months to several years. Each trademark application is unique in the amount of time it takes to go through the entire registration process. Factors that alter the duration of the registration process include the basis for filing, is it an Actual Use or an Intent to Use application, does the examining attorney need additional requirements in the application, or the proposed trademark may need to be altered slightly.

How long will it take to search and file my trademark?

Our trademark attorneys can perform a a trademark search and return the analysis and results within 5 days. We will discuss the results from our trademark search with you and discuss the likelihood of success or any potential problems that may arise during the application process. Then, let us know if you would like to continue on with prosecuting your trademark.