If you own a business, your brand is an invaluable asset that you must build and protect from others piggy-backing of the good-will your brand has created. Registering and enforcing your trademark will create substantial value within your business. You create this value by using your trademark in advertising, packaging, products, services, and in your interaction with your customers. As your business expands and improves, so does the value of your trademark. Here are some of the most common questions people ask about trademarks:
What is a trademark or servicemark?
A trademark is your brand. Your trademark can be anything that you create to represent your brand and make your company’s goods or services stand out from those sold by others. You obtain rights under trademark law as soon as you start using it in commerce.
What can I register as a trademark?
Any word, name, phrase, symbol, design, or even color that you originate and use to market your company’s brand can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Can I trademark a catchphrase or slogan?
Yes, assuming the catchphrase or slogan is inherently distinctive or has developed enough secondary meaning to make people immediately associate a certain product or service with it.
Do I have to register my trademark to protect it?
No, you are not required to register your trademark to obtain protectable trademark rights. As soon as you start using your trademark in commerce you have what is called “common law” rights to your trademark. However, there are benefits in federally registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
What’s the difference between the ™ symbol and the ® symbol?
The ™ symbol denotes a trademark that is not federally registered with the USPTO, including marks that are going through the registration process. The ™ symbol can be used for both product marks and symbol marks. The ® symbol indicates the trademark is registered with the USPTO.
What are the benefits of registering your trademark?
One of the main benefits of registering your trademark is the right to bring action concerning your mark in federal court, and putting the public on notice that you have claimed ownership of the mark. Registering your trademark provides a legal assumption that you are the owner of the mark and you have the exclusive right to use the mark nationwide in connection to the goods/services listed within the registration. Additionally, the use of the U.S. registration is a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries and gives you the right to stop the importing of goods that infringe on your trademark.
Does my US trademark protect me in other countries?
No. You must file a trademark application in each country to receive protection there. However, registering in the US is a necessary first step if you want to protect your business internationally.
Can I register my company’s name and logo in the same application?
No, a trademark application is only for one name, logo, slogan, or other trademark. Each new name, logo, slogan, or other trademark must be filed separately in a new application of its own.
How much does it cost to register trademarks?
Trademark application fees typically cost between $250 and $350 per class per mark.
If I can only afford to register one trademark, is it better to register my company’s name or logo?
Your company’s name and logo are important for brand recognition, so you should register both if you can afford the cost. If you can’t, registering your name is generally better because word marks offer broader protection. Also, your company’s name will likely stay the same, whereas your logo may change over time.
Do I need to hire an attorney to apply for a trademark?
Though not required, hiring an attorney who specializes in trademark law can be helpful before, during, and after the application process. Your attorney can help you avoid litigation by conducting a thorough search of existing trademarks so that you don’t apply for a trademark that is already in use. Your attorney can also navigate the application process, which can be a lengthy and complicated legal proceeding. After registration, your attorney can help you enforce your trademark rights in court so that others don’t harm your business by copying your brand.
Still Have Questions? Contact HPS Law Group Today!
If you still have questions about trademarks or any other Intellectual Property concerns schedule your free consultation by calling 602.687.5851 or reaching us online.