Trademarks

When starting or running a business, your brand becomes an extremely important asset.  Just like incorporating to protect you personal assets, why not protect this business asset by filing a trademark application.  Registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office may be the difference between successfully protecting the brand name and losing it to a competitor.

What is the difference between registered and unregistered trademarks

You have seen them thousands of times over your life.  When a trademark is registered, it is identified by the ® symbol following the mark. There are common law rights to trademarks which are defined by case law and you can assert common law ownership of unregistered trademarks by placing the ™ symbol after the mark. Registered marks are those that have gone through the process from application to publication with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  By doing this, you are added an additional lawyer of protection to your asset.

What is the Trademark registration process like?

The trademark application process can take a bit of time.  Preparing the initial application  can be completed rather quickly with the concerted effort of the mark owner and their attorney.  However, once the application is filed with the USPTO, the waiting game begins.  Actual registration can sometimes take up to a year, as there are additional steps to take after the initial application is filed.  Having an attorney guide you through them will save you many headaches along the way.

If I have common law right, what are the benefits of trademark registration

According to the USPTO, the benefits of registration include:

  • Public notice of your claim of ownership of the mark;
  • A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration;
  • The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
  • The use of the US registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries;
  • The ability to record the US registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods;
  • The right to use the federal registration symbol ®; and
  • Listing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s online databases.

Additional frequently asked questions are answered at the USPTO website and we can help answer any other concerns you may have about the benefits.

What happens if someone is using my trademark?

You need to talk to an attorney right away to make sure you are not relinquishing your rights as a mark owner.  The onus is on the mark owner to protect their trademark and there are appropriate steps to take to do just that.  When it come to protecting your mark, we can help.

Call or email today to schedule a consultation: (412) 294-8444 or rcozza@cozzalaw.com