Experienced Trademark Attorney Providing Legal Guidance Throughout the Trademark Process for Clients Across the Country
Your business or product is likely to have a name, a logo, and maybe a slogan or motto that you would like to keep others from copying. One way to do that is with a trademark. A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of those elements that identify your business or product in the marketplace and distinguishes your brand from other brands. Technically, a “trademark” is for goods and a “service mark” is for services, but both are generally referred to under the term “trademark.”
The purpose of a trademark is to distinguish your product, service, or company from others and to help guard against counterfeiting or fraud. While you are the owner of a trademark as soon as you begin using it to represent your product or service, your right to limit its use by others is limited to your geographical area. Only registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) gives you rights to your trademark nationwide. Deciding whether you need to register your trademark and going through the registration process can be complex and time-consuming. Let an experienced trademark attorney from Thompson Patent Law help you through the process. Call our office today at (512) 649-1046.
Why Would I Need to Register My Trademark?
Anytime you start to do business outside your limited geographical area, you may need to protect your trademark by registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to get nationwide trademark protection.
For example, if you are selling your handcrafted candles at your local annual craft fair and decide to expand to selling online through your own website or an Etsy shop, for example, you will need to register your trademark to keep others from outside your area from copying it and confusing or stealing your customers. An unregistered trademark is not protected outside your limited geographic area, but a registered trademark provides broader rights and protections, nationwide. You may use the symbols TM (trademark) or SM (service mark) for your unregistered trademark, but only registered trademarks may be used with the symbol ®.
What Are the Benefits of Registering My Trademarks?
In addition to expanding your trademark protection to the whole nation, registering your trademark can provide a number of other benefits. These benefits include a listing in the USPTO’s database of registered and pending trademarks, allowing others seeking to register a trademark to know when one is already taken and the legal presumption that you own the trademark freeing you from having to provide a lot of evidence in court if your trademark is infringed upon.
In addition, registering your trademark in the U.S. can give you the basis for filing to register your trademark internationally, and can give you the right to sue in federal court if your trademark is infringed upon. Registering your trademark also gives you the opportunity to record your registration with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, enabling them to stop goods with an infringing trademark from entering the country.
What Can be Included in a Registered Trademark?
Anything that identifies your goods or services and distinguishes it from competitors can be trademarked. Words, phrases, logos, designs, and even colors may qualify. We all recognize a particular shade of blue as representing the Tiffany jewelry brand, or the swoosh on a shoe as Nike. Those are registered trademarks. They are not the only trademarks of these companies, however. Most companies will have multiple trademarks for their name, their logo, their slogan or motto, a color. Google, for example, is trademarked as a word without special font, color, or characters, but is also trademarked as the multicolored logo in the particular font we see when we land on the Google search page.
Sometimes people will use the terms “trademark” and “copyright” interchangeably, but they are different things for different uses. Copyright applies to creative work such as books, music, or artwork. While a logo may be a piece of artwork subject to copyright by the artist, if it is used to distinguish a business or product in the marketplace, it should be trademarked by the company or entity selling the product or service it represents. Unsure if you need to register your trademark, if it is able to be trademarked, or If it should be copyrighted instead? Call Thompson Patent Law today at (512) 649-1046 to get knowledgeable answers to all your trademark questions from an experienced trademark attorney.
Why Choose Thompson Patent Law?
Our lead patent attorney, Craige Thompson, has over 20 years of experience helping businesses large and small with all aspects of patent law, including registering trademarks and service marks. His comprehensive knowledge of the USPTO and its requirements will help you to streamline your trademark registration process and ensure that everything is done right the first time. Contact our law firm today to get the help you deserve for your trademark needs.