Why Should I Apply For A Trademark?
Starting a business or developing a service or product is stressful. A trademark can provide entrepreneurs with peace of mind by protecting the work and effort that goes into branding and identifying their business, service, or product. The Law Group has experienced Arkansas business attorneys who can help navigate the trademark process.
Why Do I Need An Attorney When Applying For A Trademark?
The trademark application process can be confusing, and the application fee paid to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a Trademark application is non-refundable. Failing to correctly fill out the form or research existing trademarks could cause an application to be denied. Having an attorney to help you through the process can save applicants time and money. The Law Group’s experienced attorneys have successfully secured trademark registration for clients looking to protect their rights and brand.
What Is A Trademark?
The USPTO defines a trademark as “any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of these things that identifies” an individual’s or business’s goods or services. The Lanham act of 1946 recognized trademark protections, and the act governs trademarks and protects individuals’ property rights over these identifiers while also restricting peoples’ use.
One famous trademark is the word “WALMART®”, which after being trademarked by the Walmart corporation restricts others’ use of the word when selling consumer goods or groceries. Walmart has also trademarked their spark’s yellow color and the phrase “GREAT VALUE®” as protected features of their business when used in online retail services. It may be beneficial for business owners to trademark logos or phrases that are unique to their business.
Trademark, Copyright, And Patent – What’s The Difference?
If an individual is looking to protect a logo, business name, or phrase associated with their business, then a trademark would be beneficial. Protecting something of artistic value like a song, poem, or photo might require a copyright to secure the creator’s rights. Useful and unique inventions, like a machine or plant genome, would likely be best protected by a patent.
Do I Have Rights If I Do Not Have A Trademark?
If a trademark has not been registered, then the good or service may be protected by common law rights which are established once the owner enters into commerce. Common law trademark rights are limited to the specific geographic location of use and provide less protection than state or federal registered trademarks. Arkansas recognizes marks acquired through common law in good faith.
How Do I Get A Trademark?
Before applying for a trademark, consider if you wish to use the mark within a state or across the United States. If you are operating within a single state, then you should check with your Secretary of State or a local attorney to determine if you can apply for trademark registration at the state level. However, be aware that many states may only register a mark if there is not a conflict with an existing state trademark or federally registered trademark.
If you are trying to provide a good or service in interstate commerce, you should register with the USTPO. This will protect a trademark across the United States because it is being registered with the federal government.
Common Trademark Application Mistakes
A common issue that will cause an application to be denied is trying to trademark something that has already been registered through the USTPO. A trademark could also be denied registration if it is too similar to a trademark that already exists. Before registering for a trademark, check USTPO’s Trademark Electronic Service System (“TESS”) for other registered trademarks. On TESS, applicants can search for registered words or design marks that already exist and may cause an application to be denied.
Another common mistake is failing to fill out the form properly. There are several steps, and the questions can be confusing. Just incorrectly checking a box could cause an application to be denied.
USTPO Application Form And Fees
If you do not locate a trademark that is similar to yours and are ready to begin the application process, this can be done online at USPTO.gov or through a paper application with USPTO. The initial application fee is $250, depending on the goods or services you want to protect that use in. There are a few basic questions you should be able to answer before applying for a trademark:
- Who will own the trademark – you individually or your business?
- Are you applying to protect a name (standard characters) or a special design for your trademark?
- Are you attempting to protect a specific color scheme with your trademark?
- What goods or services do you want your mark to be used with?
- Are you already using your mark, or will you be using it within a few months of filing your application?
Contact a Trademark Attorney in Arkansas for Help
Typically, it is recommended to have an attorney assist you with applying for a trademark. Not only can an attorney experienced in trademark work explain the USPTO application process in detail, but they will also be the primary point of contact with USPTO regarding your application. This will allow you the confidence of knowing you have someone on your team to answer any questions during the application process as well help you try to overcome any obstacles to registration.
Ultimately, filing for a Trademark application can be done by anyone, but having an experienced trademark attorney handle the process for you can prevent mistakes, save time and money, and relieve you of the stress and worry of trying to protect your branding and recognition efforts. Give The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas a call. We’d love to help. #practicinglawtherightway