Hire a Trademark Attorney to register a trademark the uncomplicated way.
Trademarks are a form of intellectual property that protects an image, word, or phrase that distinguishes the source of a product or a service from the offerings of other sources. There are two types of trademarks, known as “Standard Character Marks” and “Special Form Marks.” Standard Character Marks are a combination of characters forming words or phrases, such as “Nike,” “Gravis Law,” or “McDonalds.” Special Form Marks are the distinct identifying symbols, such as the Nike “Swoosh,” the McDonalds “M” or the Microsoft “Window.” There are two symbols commonly used to denote a trademark, the ™ symbol which asserts a common law claim to a trademark, and the ® symbol that denotes that the trademark has been federally registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
A trademark conveys exclusive rights to use the words or images in relation to certain products or services and provides the owner of the trademark with a method for preventing others from using the trademark or a confusingly similar trademark to promote their own products or services. The rights conveyed with the federal registration of a trademark are an important component of your branding strategy.
The Trademark Registration Process is Complicated
Due to multiple layers of rights that an owner may have in trademark, the standards for approval, and the creativity involved with selecting or creating a trademark, the process of registering a trademark can be a complicated one. Trademarks can be registered in a state with a state agency, or at the federal level, and occasionally these filings can conflict with one another. Sometimes, you may have priority of use, but someone may have beat you to filing for federal registration. There are a lot of steps where the process can potentially become complicated:
- The trademark process begins with a federal trademark search to ensure that no one already owns, or has applied to own, the right to your proposed trademark, or a confusingly similar image or phrase.
- Following the trademark search, those wishing to register a trademark must submit a complex application form that must be completed properly in order to avoid the application being denied by the USPTO or having a third party later challenge the validity of the trademark registration.
- Once the trademark application is submitted to the USPTO, it will be reviewed during a period of about six to nine months to ensure that your trademark is not identical or substantially similar to an already existing or applied-for trademark and would not create confusion on the part of customers or prospective customers with a different trademark or applied for trademark.
- If the trademark application is approved by the USPTO, it will undergo a 30-day period called “Publication for Opposition” in which parties who may be impacted negatively by its registration may file opposition to it. An opposition proceeding may be filed, at which time the Trademark Trial and Appeal board will consider the validity of the opposition or oversee opposition hearings. If no third-party files an opposition, the trademark may then be registered, and you receive a certificate of ownership.
- It’s not done there either! Trademarks require periodic maintenance filings twice during the first ten years of the registration, then renewals every ten years after that. If you miss one, you may be required to reapply, and you could lose the right to use the trademark and could lose all of the valuable goodwill that you have painstakingly built into your trademark.
Let Us Help
Our experienced attorneys in Muskegon can provide valuable services to those wishing to register a trademark, including:
- Conducting your trademark search for you, by searching the U.S. government's federal trademark database, applicable databases in any of the 50 U.S. states, and other internet searches to ensure that no one else owns the rights to your proposed trademark.
- Consultation about the strength of the trademark you are seeking and possible alternative ideas that would provide you with a stronger trademark and trademark program.
- An opinion based on the results of the search efforts as to your likelihood of being successful in registering your trademark.
- Proper completion of the trademark application according to U.S. trademark law.
- Helpful responses to any “Office Actions” issued by the USPTO requiring clarification or alteration of your trademark.
- Individual attention and legal guidance from the start of the trademark search to the approval of the registration in order to give you the peace of mind that you understand your rights within the process, that your application has been filed correctly and you will have a successful outcome to your trademark endeavors.
- Careful monitoring of renewal deadlines, so your trademark continues to protect your brand.
- Enforcement of your trademark against those who are using your trademark without your permission or using a trademark that is confusingly similar to yours.
The experienced trademark attorneys at Gravis Law in Muskegon understand the importance not only of your trademark but of approaching this often-confusing process properly and in a manner calculated to maximize your business value while identifying and mitigating risk. We also understand the value of your time and strive to complete your trademark process in a smooth and uncomplicated way — freeing up your time to focus on other things that are important to you. For more information on registering a trademark or to obtain a trademark registration package, contact Gravis Law online or by calling 616-207-4569.