Trademark AttorneyWho governs federal trademark registration?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) governs and oversees the application and registration of federal trademarks in the US.

What is a Federal Trademark?

A federal trademark is any word, name, symbol or device, that is either currently used or will later be used in commerce by an individual or business in order to identify and distinguish their goods from the goods of another.

What can be trademarked?

Generally, any word, phrase, or device can be trademarked as long as it identifies the source the goods in order to distinguish them from the goods of another. This could include: an acronym, colors, company name, a scent, a design, a made up word. The options can be endless as long as the requirements for Selecting your Trademark are met.

How does a trademark differ from a patent or copyright?

The purpose of a federal trademark is to distinguish goods in order for the public to be able to indicate the source of the goods, through the use of a mark, symbol, or device. A copyright protects the original works of an author. Lastly, a patent is to protect inventions and other discoveries. For additional information, visit our Trademark Comparison page.

How long does a trademark registration last?

A federal trademark could last forever. The length of an initial trademark registration is 10 years. Then there are renewal periods at the end of each registration for an additional 10 years. As long as a trademark owner stays up to date on renewal deadlines and the trademark still serves its purpose of distinguishing the goods from others, then the trademark registration will continue.

Is a service mark identical to a trademark?

A service mark is not identical to a trademark but is very similar. While a trademark is used to distinguish goods used in commerce, a service mark is used to identify and distinguish the services of one from the services of another. Otherwise the definition is the same.

Do I have to register my trademark?

While you do not have to register your trademark, it is a great benefit to have a federally registered trademark.

Federal Trademark AttorneyWhat are the benefits to having a trademark registered with the USPTO?

Having a federally registered trademark creates valuable trademark rights, including:

  • Public notice of your ownership in the trademark,
  • Creation of a legal presumption that you own the trademark and you have the exclusive right to use the registered trademark nationwide in connection with the goods and/or services listed with your trademark registration,
  • Without a federal trademark registration, trademark rights will be limited to the geographic area where the trademark is used, compared to rights nationwide,
  • A federally registered trademark allows the trademark owner a quicker process to expand their products to foreign nations and gain trademarks in those nations through use of the Madrid Protocol.

Do I need an attorney to register my trademark?

You do not need an attorney to register a trademark. However, just as you do not need to register your trademark, having an attorney register your trademark provides multiple benefits:

  • A federal trademark attorney understands the nuances and complexities of trademark law and what the USPTO examining attorney will require during the trademark registration;
  • A trademark attorney can provide a trademark owner an opinion on the likelihood of success that a trademark will be registered on the principal register;;
  • There are many important deadlines that must be met in order for a registration to be successful from start to finish. Missing a deadline can result in your trademark being “abandoned.” A federal trademark attorney will be conscious of these deadlines and notify you or your company accordingly;
  • A trademark attorney can quickly and effectively perform a Trademark Search to determine any conflicting trademarks prior to the trademark application begin filed;
  • Having a trademark attorney can save you money. Failure to properly search for conflicting trademarks, or simply relying on popular online legal websites such as Legal Zoom, can result in wasting hundreds of dollars in application fees or result in your business having to change the name of your product. A trademark attorney can save you from wasting money and evaluate if your trademark has a likelihood of a successful registration the first time around.

The USPTO has published a page on its website entitled “What a Private Attorney Could Do” for additional information.

Trademark Facts

How long will it take to register my trademark?

The length from application to registration could be anywhere from 8 months to several years. Each trademark application differs in the amount of time it takes to go through the registration process. Factors for the time length include the basis for filing, is it an Actual Use or an Intent to Use application, does the examining attorney need additional requirements in the application, or the proposed trademark may need to be altered slightly. More information on general timelines and the registration process can be viewed at our  Federal Trademark Registration Timeline.

Do I need to be a US citizen to file a federal trademark with the USPTO?

No. If you are not a US citizen, you can still file a federal trademark with the USPTO.

How long will it take NexTrend Legal to search and file my trademark?

NexTrend Legal can perform and complete a federal trademark search within 3 business days. We will discuss the trademark search results with you over the phone, via video or in person and opine on the likelihood of success for your trademarks registration.  Should our results produce any existing conflicts or possible rejections, refusals issued by the USPTO examining attorney, we will also discuss these matters with you or your company also.   In the event you determine to proceed with the prosecution of your federal trademark(s), the registration process will generally take around a year to complete.