Protecting your brand is crucial for long-term success. One powerful tool in your arsenal is a trademark. Let’s delve into the key aspects of trademarks that will help you navigate the process.
1. What is a Trademark?
At its core, a trademark is a source identifier. Logos, slogans, business names, sounds, or designs can serve as trademarks. When attached to a product or service, these identifiers enable consumers to associate them with the company that produces them.
2. When Should I think of Getting a Trademark?
The attorneys at Wagner, Falconer & Judd suggest trademarking early in your business journey, especially when deciding on a business name. Early consideration not only enhances your chances of protecting your brand but also minimizes the risk of infringing on someone else’s trademark rights.
3. How Long Does it Take to Get a Trademark?
The timeline for obtaining a trademark varies, influenced by the workload at the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO). Currently, the USPTO estimates a timeline of 14-15 months from the application date to registration.
4. When Can I use the ® or TM symbols?
Us the TM symbol freely with any source identifier at any tie, and it may even assist your trademark application. The ® symbol is reserved for federally registered trademarks with the USPTO.
5. What are the Benefits of Registering a Trademark with the USPTO?
A registered trademark facilitates easier enforcement of your rights, protecting against scammers using similar domain names and offering advantages when working with online retailers like Amazon.
6. State Trademark vs. Federal Trademark
While a state trademark offers protection within a specific state, a federal trademark provides national coverage and generally stronger protections under federal law.
7. Where Do I Start?
Begin with a clearance search, exploring relevant federal and state databases to determine the availability of your desired trademark. Professional assistance, such as consulting with Wagner, Falconer & Judd, can streamline this process.
8. Do I have to Register a Trademark to Use it in Commerce?
No, registration is not mandatory before using a trademark in commerce. However, it’s advisable to register to strengthen your brand’s protection against infringement.
9. Do I Have to Offer the Product/Service Before Applying for the Trademark?
No-you can file on an Intent-to-Use basis. This allows you to reserve a trademark for six months after receiving a Notice of Allowance, with the option for up to five additional 6-month extensions.
10. Once Registered, What Does it Protect and for How Long?
A registered trademark protects the products in the listed classes of goods and services. After the initial registration, renewals are required every 10 years, with an additional filing after the first 5 years.
By taking proactive steps you can navigate the trademark landscape with confidence-and the attorneys at Wagner, Falconer & Judd are always standing by to support you on your journey. Reach out to one of our Intellectual Property attorneys today to learn more.