This post and the video above are designed to look at some of the basic information surrounding a federal trademark. Including what a trademark protects, why you should obtain a federal trademark, a comparison of a trademark to a patent or copyright, and how our trademark attorneys can help you in the process of obtaining a federal trademark.

Some of the initial questions our clients ask us is, “what is a trademark and how is it different from a patent and a copyright?” While these forms of intellectual property rights can be similar in some aspects, they all protect a very distinct and different property right. A trademark protects a business name, company slogan or tagline, symbol, logo, design, and more. Protection arises as long as the trademark is used in commerce to distinguish products or services from one source, from the products or services from another source. Patents are technical and scientific in nature. They protect new inventions, like new products or a new process/way of producing something. Copyrights are used to protect artistic works, typically in the form of books, movies, music and paintings.

To use an example that showcases how each of these forms of intellectual property can work alongside of each other, imagine you just invented a new television. You would want to obtain a patent to protect the new television itself. Then, you would want to obtain a federal trademark registration to protect the brand name of your television. Lastly, you would want a copyright registration for the commercial or other advertising you would plan to use to sell your television.

The next question our clients ask is, “why would I want a federal trademark registration?” When you use a product or a service, you instantly expect a level of quality based on the trademark attached to it. Therefore, trademarks have strong and impressionable reputations. In the end, consumers will attach a level of quality to your trademark which you do not want third parties to be trading off of your trademark. This is why it is important to protect your products and services with a federal trademark registration.

How do you obtain a federal trademark registration?

By contacting one of our trademark attorneys, they will perform a trademark search and trademark clearance of your proposed mark. If it appears that your mark is available, then our trademark attorneys will file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which begins the trademark registration process. The process typically takes 8 – 14 months to complete. While a federal trademark registration is not required to assert certain trademark rights, obtaining one will provide maximum rights and protections. Such as:

  • The right to use Ⓡ symbol, signifying a trademark registration, which will itself deter others from using your trademark;
  • Nationwide priority of use;
  • Presumption of exclusive use to the trademark;
  • Incontestability status after 5 years of use;
  • Ability to sue in federal courts; and more.

Engaging our trademark attorneys can save you time and money to complete the federal trademark registration process. If you have any questions about obtaining federal protection for your trademark, contact us at 843-628-6298, or email us at contact@nextrendlegal.com.