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Benefits Of Trademark Registration
What can and cannot be trademarked
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Our 4 Step Trademark Registration Process
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Jaxon C. Munns has extensive experience in international trademark law, having served clients in 5 countries, conducting hundreds of clearance searches, and filing many trademark applications. Learn more about him or read one of his informational blog posts about business or trademark law by clicking below.
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Frequently Asked Questions About US Trademark Law
The most simple and sure-fire way to avoid plagiarism when it comes to your branding is to get trademark registration with the USPTO.
There are many steps required throughout this process and all of them are meant to ensure the integrity of trademarks registered in the US.
Getting your trademark registered with the USPTO can be difficult given the amount of brands on the market, but with a US trademark attorney helping you through the process—which includes a thorough trademark search—you can create and stick to a brand that is unique to your business.
The purpose of trademark law is to prevent unfair competition. This is done by applying tests of consumer confusion as well as putting in place rights, power, and solutions to the owners of trademarks from trademark infringement.
Trademark law maintains the integrity of US trademarks by ensuring that each trademark has a level of uniqueness that doesn’t lead to confusion with other trademarks, as well as giving the owners of trademarks the power to enact legal action in cases of trademark infringement, which, if the case arises, can be enforced legally and effectively with the help of a US trademark attorney.
Trademark law applies to anything involving “marks”—symbols, slogans, phrases, etc.—that identify the source of a good or service.
A trademark is a form of intellectual property and many things can be trademarked, including:
- Company and product names,
- Domain names that label products or services,
- Phrases or slogans,
- Colors and color schemes,
- Product designs, and
- Product packaging.
Trademark law protects marks registered with the USPTO, as well as some marks that are not officially registered (but the protection level in this case is very low).
There is a spectrum of distinctiveness in trademark law—in other words, not all trademarks get the same level of protection depending on where they fall on that spectrum. Categories include:
- Generic Marks—The common name for the product/service—Zero protection.
- Descriptive Marks—Mere descriptions of the product/service—Some protection is possible.
- Suggestive Marks—A name or phrase that suggests the product/service—Moderate protection.
- Arbitrary Marks—A completely arbitrary name with no intrinsic ties to the product/service (think: Camel Cigarettes)—A higher level of protection.
- Fanciful Marks—A completely made-up name, phrase, or symbol that represents the product/service (think: Xerox Computers)—The highest level of protection.
Generic marks get zero protection while fanciful marks get the highest level of protection—the categories in between get lower-to-higher levels depending on where they fall on the spectrum.
US Trademark attorneys can help you with everything involved in trademark law. Whether it’s performing a trademark search, filing your trademark with the USPTO, or taking action against someone who is infringing on your trademark, US trademark attorneys represent you and your brand.
Contact MZJ for a free consultation. Whether you’re a US citizen or a non-US citizen seeking a US trademark attorney, we can help you get registered with the USPTO.
In order to have your trademark registered, you need to submit a trademark registration to the USPTO where it will be reviewed by a US trademark attorney working for the government. He or she will compare your mark to similar registered trademarks to see if there is any conflict.
If your mark is approved, it will go on a 30 day “publication” period, in which time any third party can file an opposition to your mark. If none arrives, your mark is clear for final registration.
From start to finish, official trademark registration with the USPTO usually takes 8 to 10 months, considering there are no remodification requests (Office Actions).
US trademark attorneys typically go through the following steps:
- A thorough trademark search, ensuring that your mark is unique enough for submission;
- Response to an Office Action is one is issued;
- Publication period in which third party opposition may need to be disputed;
- Final certificate of registration from the USPTO.
Depending on a variety of issues, final registration with the USPTO can take over a year. However, with a competent US trademark attorney, the process can go much faster.
Yes, anyone can file a trademark application through the USPTO website. There are no special requirements and you don’t even have to own an official business.
However, this isn’t to say that doing so on your own is the wisest move. For one, your trademark may not even need official registration (such as marks for a product that you make and sell locally like beer you brew yourself). By the same token, if you are starting a business and plan to do business on an interstate or even international level, trademark registration is best done with the help of a US trademark attorney.
Not all trademarks need to be registered. By default, when you begin doing business, you have legal rights to your mark within the geographic area in which you operate—however, these protections are very limited in scope.
A mark doesn’t need to be registered in order to be valid, and an unregistered trademark can still be protected from infringement and dilution under common law.
That said, there are many instances in which a trademark should get official registration with the USPTO—whether you’re a US citizen or a non-US citizen looking to do business in the US—such as if and and when you do business on an interstate or international level.
Our US trademark attorneys can help you get started on this and see it through until the end. This process is typically complicated with revisions and unforeseen problems occuring—it will go much smoother with an attorney helping you out.