Is your logo or trade name protected?
In a nutshell here are the benefits of receiving trademark registration from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
(1) Your trademark bars other confusingly similar marks
(2) Your trademark will allow you to file a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court against any infringer.
(3) It grants you the right to use the trademark symbol; ®
(4) Your registration serves as notice of claim of ownership.
In order to file for your trademark you must submit an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There are two ways to file your initial application (1) In commerce (meaning the trademark is already in use) or (2) Intent to use in commerce (meaning that the trademark has not been used but as of the date you file you intend to use the trademark).
The main difference between the in commerce filing and the intent to use filing is an additional application process and fee ($100) for the intent to use filing. If your trademark is already in commerce the application process is not as complicated, however they do require that you show proof that that the trademark is in commerce by sending what the USPTO calls a "specimen", this is usually a website, business card, flyer, etc with the logo or trade name showing use. The specimen must show how the trademark is connected to your specified “class” and that it was in commerce from the date of the filing.
A class is the category the USPTO places your trademark so that consumers are aware of the goods and services your trademark covers. Please be aware that the importance of the trademark process is to ensure that there are no other trademarks similar in style, name, and class as your trademark. Prior to the application filing I suggest conducting a search of the USPTO, Internet, and secretary of state to ensure there are no other trademarks of your likeness.
Please be aware that the importance of the trademark process is to ensure that there are no other trademarks similar in style, name, and class as your trademark. Prior to the application filing I suggest allowing my firm to conduct a search of the USPTO, Internet, and secretary of state to ensure there are no other trademarks of your likeness. This will be an additional fee, however it will save you more money if there is a trademark registered that is similar to yours. The USPTO generally will not provide a refund of your fee if they deny it because there is a similar trademark in commerce.
Also be aware that the trademark process is not a speedy process. Generally it takes anywhere from 3-6 months for the USPTO to respond and usually they respond with an office action which requires some changes to the specimen, class, application, etc. So in all the process could take anywhere from 6 months to a year depending on the USPTO their workload and the complexity of the application.
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