A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or combination thereof, which serves to identify the source of origin for goods or service. If the mark identifies services it is called a service mark. Typically, a mark for goods appears on the product or its packaging, and a service mark appears in advertisements for the services. The federal trademark laws do not permit use and registration of a mark which is the same as or confusingly similar in appearance, sound or meaning to another mark for the same or similar product or service. A mark which is descriptive of the product or the service is not generally registerable. In addition, a surname is not generally registerable. The first to use the mark has the exclusive right to the mark as against anyone who subsequently attempts to use the mark. This right is limited to the geographical area where the mark is used, but by registering the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the right is extended to the entire United States.
The best method of evaluating whether to proceed with a trademark application is to conduct a trademark search in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We will conduct a search for appropriately classified U.S. registrations and pending applications for registration which might be considered to be confusingly similar.
Copies will be ordered for your records. We then review the search results and prepare an opinion letter indicating whether, in our opinion, the mark is registerable. Our search does not include unregistered marks, marks that are registered with the states only, domain names and business names. However, these can be searched at additional cost. If you wish to have a search made, you should prepare a document identifying the specific trademark to be searched, as well as the field of use, which information we will use in our search.
If the search does not yield a mark that is the same or confusingly similar to your mark, you then can file a federal trademark application. This will require submitting a specimen of your mark as well as the date of first use of the mark in interstate commerce (referred to a Statement of Use) to file an “In Use” trademark application. If you are not yet using your mark in interstate commerce, you can file an “Intent to Use” trademark application and, when you start using your mark in interstate commerce, file an Affidavit of Use. In either filing, the application will be examined (“prosecuted”) by a trademark Examiner. If your trademark is deemed registerable, you will receive a Notice of Allowance, followed by the issuance of a Certificate of Registration.
We also can register your mark internationally by filing an international application under the Madrid Protocol. Please contact us if you want more details regarding international trademark filings. Contact us to discuss our fixed-fee arrangements for preparing, filing and prosecuting your Trademark application.
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