Trademark Registration Attorneys
Guiding Clients Through the Process of Protecting Their Intellectual Assets
So, you’ve worked hard to create your brand, build a reputation in the marketplace, and set yourself apart from the competition. But how can you protect your brand identity and keep someone else from using it to sell inferior products? The attorneys at Katie Charleston Law, PC, explain what a trademark is, how to register for one, and why a trademark registration can be fundamental to protect your business in a competitive market. If you have questions about trademarks or would like to get help registering your trademark, contact Katie Charleston Law, PC, at (317) 663-9190.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is an intellectual asset used to distinguish the goods or services of one company from another through its unique branding identity. Trademarks can be words, symbols, designs, slogans, or a combination of these. For example, most of us are very familiar with the Nike swoosh, the McDonald’s golden arches, and the Coca-Cola logo. All of these are examples of famous trademarks that cannot be used by any other company without authorization.
Trademarks are important for businesses because they can protect the company’s unique brand identity, creating a positive reputation and helping customers easily identify the company’s products or services. When customers repeatedly purchase a product or service, they often associate it with the company’s trademark, which helps them distinguish the business in a crowded marketplace, which creates brand loyalty and positively impacts the company’s profits.
What Are the Differences Between Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents?
As explained above, a trademark is a unique symbol, design, phrase, or word that represents a company’s products or services and enables customers to easily distinguish them from similar items offered by competitors. In contrast, copyrights are another type of intellectual property meant to protect original works of authorship. These can include literature, music, plays, paintings, photographs, movies, and software. A copyright gives its owner the exclusive right to reproduce the work, create derivatives of it, and perform or display the work publicly.
Patents are designed to protect inventions such as machines, processes, and other technological advancements. Once a patent is registered, the patent owner has exclusive rights to make, use, license, or sell their invention. An invention must be novel, useful, and non-obvious in order to be eligible for patent registration with the USPTO.
In short, copyrights are meant to protect original works of authorship, while inventions such as processes or new technology should be protected by a patent. If you are seeking to protect your brand identity assets, such as logos, colors, name, slogan, or any unique visual asset that sets you apart from your competitors, you will probably need to register a trademark. An intellectual property attorney can help you make the right choice to protect your idea and assist you with the steps required for registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
What Are the Steps Required to Register a Trademark With the USPTO?
The registration process for trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires multiple steps and careful research before you can even submit your trademark application. First, you will want to verify that the mark you are looking to protect is registrable and the degree of difficulty that may be involved in protecting it once it is registered. Next, you will need to identify the mark format – whether it is a standard character mark, a sound, a stylized, or a design mark – and determine which goods or services the mark will identify.
Before filing, you will want to do a comprehensive trademark search to see if the mark you are hoping to register is already registered by someone else. You will also need to determine your trademark basis for filing. There are four main bases for filing trademark applications – use in commerce, intent to use, foreign registration, and foreign application. Use in commerce means you are already using your mark to sell your goods or services. Intent to use means you have the bona fide intention to use your mark in commerce in the near future. Foreign registration means you already have a trademark for the same assets in a foreign country. Foreign application means you have recently filed for registration of the same mark in another country and are seeking a priority date for your application in the United States.
After you have done your research and completed the steps described above, you may create an online account and begin filling out the application forms on the USPTO website. Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed by a USPTO officer. This process typically takes several months to complete and may require you to respond to letters from the USPTO called Office Action. The letters may require you to submit supporting documents and correct errors or may be used to notify you that your application has been refused and explain the reasons for the refusal. If your application is refused, you will want to submit a response in a timely manner, or your application will be considered abandoned.
Why Should You Hire a Trademark Attorney for Your Case?
Protecting your trademark by registering it with the USPTO is the safest strategy to help you safeguard your intellectual property. If your trademark is not registered and someone else decides to use your mark for their own business, you may not have any options to protect it and stop your competitors from using it and could potentially miss out on the opportunity to grow your business and strengthen your bottom line. As important as trademark registration is, many business owners get overwhelmed by the steps required to protect their mark and do not make it a priority. Doing so is a risky business decision, but with the help of a skilled trademark lawyer, the entire process can be completed easily and more efficiently.
If you reside in the United States, you are not required to hire an attorney in order to apply for trademark registration. However, it is strongly recommended to do so. A trademark lawyer can assist you with the entire application process, including the critical steps you need to take before sending your application to the USPTO, such as making sure that the assets you wish to trademark are registrable and conducting a thorough trademark search to ensure that the mark is not already in use.
In addition, your attorney can also help you complete the application forms and ensure that they are complete and error-free. If you receive an office action letter, your attorney can guide you on the steps you need to take to respond to the letter, such as gathering any additional information and attaching supporting documents as needed.
The trademark lawyers at Katie Charleston Law, PC, have helped countless entrepreneurs protect their businesses and obtain a successful trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We can help you with every aspect of your trademark application process so you can safeguard your ideas and help your business thrive. Contact us today at (317) 663-9190 to learn more.