A. A trademark is an item used to identify a good. A trademark is established by use. By using a logo or name to identify goods in interstate commerce-in more than one State-the trademark is created. A trademark can be created prior to use-but you will need to file for an Intent to Use Application as opposed to a Federal Trademark Registration. Some popular trademark symbols include the polo player on the Ralph Lauren apparel, Windows in the Microsoft software. It can include the name and logo in which case it is considered a combined mark.
A. A service mark is used to identify services. A trademark is used to identify goods. Goods are considered more tangible.
A. Prior to attempting to register a trademark or service mark you MUST obtain a QUALIFIED/COMPETENT SEARCH! First you intend on investing a lot of money in marketing your product or service. The last thing you want is to spend thousands or millions of dollars only to find out that the mark you have can not be continued or worse is infringing someone else’s mark. You may be liable for the opposing sides attorney fees in addition to your own, any lost profits, injunctive relief preventing you from selling and statutory remedies-remedies based on the law in addition to actual damages. However, there are even more important reasons why you MUST perform a Qualified/Competent search. If you successfully register your mark, use it for 8 years and then find out someone else is the owner, your trademark may be cancelled! Had you performed a comprehensive search reviewed by an attorney you could have avoided the expense and damages associated.
A. A corporate name is checked against the Corporation filing department’s database as to corporations. The name is not checked against the LLC database, the fictitious business name filings in any county, nor the Federal or State trademark office, or any other database. Thus, you may be able to incorporate under a name that you can not use to market your product or service.
A. The United Sates Federal Trademark will not respond for 180 days. If everything is perfect and there are no concerns at all, your mark would be filed for opposition for 90 days. During this 90 day time period anyone can challenge your trademark. If no opposition is filed the mark proceeds to registration which takes another 30 days resulting in a 300 day time period. However, a very small percentage of marks ever proceed so quickly. Typically, even an experienced attorney will expect a response after 180 days as to some potential issue or defect. If that’s the case then you need to add a minimum of 180 days to the total. Some marks may never be registered and some may take years.
A. As of November 30, 2004 the filing fee is $335.00 per class. There are over 42 classes and your mark may need to be classified in more than one class.
A. After your mark is registered may you uses the ® symbol. Once it is registered you must continue to use the ® symbol. Failure to continuously use the ® symbol will lead to termination/abandonment of your mark and the rights you have accrued.
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