Trademark Law

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rademark law is important. In order to strengthen and protect the value and image that a business has worked for, trademarks are a necessity.

Every year there are hundreds of thousands of applications for registering trademarks. A trademark can be any design, sound, smell, word, phrase, shape, or specific color. Anything that solely distinguishes or identifies one’s services or products from all others can become a registered trademark. The color of a shoe sole, the scent of a perfume, the shape of a phone, and the design of a building – all of these things can be trademarked if unique to the owner or creator.

Trademarks are one of a business’s or company’s most important assets. They symbolize the business’s role in the marketplace over the years. Applied and used correctly, a trademark can last indefinitely; but if it is abandoned it can lose its practical value and diminishes its protection under the law. A trademark needs to be distinctive in order to remain valuable.

One of the best examples of a trademarked item is a company’s logo. Think about all of the logos and symbols one sees on a daily basis, and how many are memorable just because of the shape or color. A trademarked logo can be descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, and even fanciful. Above all else, it must be unique.

The full rights to the use a trademark can be obtained through the regular use of the mark and via the completion and filing of a proper application to the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Unlike copyrights or patents, trademark rights can last indefinitely if the owner continues to use the mark. The term of a federal trademark registration is ten years, with an unlimited number of renewal terms available.

Once the registration process of a trademark has been completed, the owner will be the only authorized entity who may utilize the mark in the United States in conjunction with the products, or services for which it’s registered.

Upon the completion and approval of the trademark registration, a symbol of ® can be incorporated in conjunction with use of the mark. The added symbol helps to be a sign to others that unauthorized usage of the mark is infringement. Ill intent or false use of the trademark is not required for the finding of infringement. In fact, dilution or confusion in use of the mark by another entity can also be brought as a legal claim if substantial proof of the unlawful use can be provided.

Businesses and consumers both benefit when trademarks are used properly. They protect the owner’s rights and ensure the quality and authenticity of the product to the consumer. The trademark attorneys at Goldfinch Winslow, LLC can help you file for trademark registration and get prompt approval of your application.

Our law firm offers flat fee trademark registration to better serve our clients. We perform a diligent search using professional trademark search software to be sure that there are no pre-existing trademarks that could cause the denial or delay of your application.

We will draft and file your federal trademark application, and track it throughout the process once it is filed with the United States trademark office.

We will quickly respond to any non-substantive USPTO actions on your behalf, and mail your trademark registration certificate upon receipt.

A University of North Carolina study found fewer than 60% of individuals who filed a trademark application without the help of an attorney had received government approval of their application; however, over 80% of those who worked with a trademark lawyer received approval. A trademark attorney helps individuals achieve a higher level of success because of their training, expertise, and experience. Knowing what verbiage to use on the forms, and how to understand the language used by the USPTO is important.

Choosing Goldfinch Winslow, LLC for your trademark filing can save you time and money in the long run. Applications can be refused by the examining attorney and an opposition period in which the trademark registration application may be halted. Our attorneys continue to monitor and respond to any questions about your application throughout the entire process.

The majority of trademark registration applications are examined by an examining attorney at the USPTO within three to four months of the filing date. The examining attorney may approve the trademark for official publication or issue an “office action”, which will require a timely response. Often, the office actions will include a refusal to register the mark. It has been our experience that most unrepresented applicants fail to respond to the office actions and their trademark registration application then becomes classified as abandoned. Filers must understand the technical meaning of “use in commerce” under trademark law. Some will submit an “intent to use” application when they should have filed a “use in commerce” application, and vice versa. An unrepresented applicant may include vague descriptions of the goods and services, which may subject their trademark registration to cancellation. Others apply to register a company logo when their intent was to register the words, or the other way around. Some will apply for registration of the trademark in a variety of classes, but fail to show their use of the trademark in all of the classes – which means that they just wasted valuable time and money.

An erroneous trademark registration application cannot always be corrected, and the applicant would need to begin anew with a new application. Having an experienced attorney help you through the process can make all the difference. Contact us today.