A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods.
In short, a trademark is a brand name. For example, some of the well-known trademarks include Coca-Cola for soft drinks, Yahoo! for Internet Search Engine, Kodak for film, and Rolex for watches.
A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.
What are the benefits of federal trademark registration?
1. Constructive notice nationwide of the trademark owner’s claim.
2. Evidence of ownership of the trademark.
3. Jurisdiction of federal courts may be invoked.
4. Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries.
5. Registration may be filed with U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.
The federal registration symbol may be used once the mark is actually registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Even though an application is pending, the registration symbol may not be used before the mark has actually become registered. The federal registration symbol should only be used on goods or services that are the subject of the federal trademark registration. [Note: Several foreign countries use the letter R enclosed within a circle to indicate that a mark is registered in that country. Use of the symbol by the holder of a foreign registration may be proper.]
No. However, if you are a qualified owner of a trademark application pending before the USPTO, or of a registration issued by the USPTO, you may seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filing a single application, called an “international application,” with the International Bureau of the World Property Intellectual Organization, through the USPTO. For more information about the Madrid Protocol, click here.
Also, certain countries recognize a United States registration as a basis for filing an application to register a mark in those countries under international treaties. See TMEP Chapter 1000 for further information. The laws of each country regarding registration must be consulted.
The symbols ®, TM and SM provide notice to the world that you are claiming trademark rights in any mark using these symbols. You may use the TM on marks identifying goods, and the SM on marks identifying services. You need not have a federal or state registration to use the TM or SM symbols. However, the ® symbol, which provides “statutory notice” can only be used if your mark is federally registered.
It is not necessary to file all three “Red Widget”, “Red Widgets”, and “RedWidget” separately since there is a strong correlation by a dominant name, Red Widget. You, of course, can file all three if you want. However, when a trademark search is performed for conflicting names one looks not only for the exact match, but also anything similar in appearance and sound that might create confusion (i.e. cat, cats, kat, etc). Therefore, when you register a singular name, it is very hard for someone else to register the plural name. For example, if you file and register the wording “Red Widget” it would be strongly similar to the other two mark names.
You may receive an office action letter from the USPTO which will let you know why an application is rejected. We cannot guarantee your application will be accepted.
In many cases we will need to refer you to publicly available information. In some cases you will need to seek the help of a lawyer.
In most cases you will need to choose a new name or fill in some missing information. However, we will research on your behalf and let you know if your application is likely to be rejected and will continue to work with you to resolve the issue within reason.
Other companies charge hundreds of dollars more just to help you with an office action. We will provide you with unlimited help and support via phone, live chat and email regarding your application and any potential rejection to the best of our knowledge.
Decide on a mark to identify a product or service. For example, some of the well-known trademark names today include Microsoft® for software, Kodak® for film, and Rolex® for watches.
Complete an online Trademark Application Form to initiate the trademark process.
After receiving your finished online application, we’ll conduct a search, review your application for accuracy, and prepare your application documents.
We’ll send you via email the prepared electronic trademark application documents for your required signature and final approval.
Once the U.S. Trademark Office receives your application, they will send you a receipt and assign the application a serial number.
About three months after filing date, an examining trademark attorney will review your application and decide whether to grant you the mark, or request additional information from the applicant. The examining attorney may request more information to clarify certain parts of the mark and/or description language. If the examining attorney has questions, objections or recommended changes then you will receive an Office Action letter. The applicant must respond to any objections within six months of the mailing date of the letter or the application will be abandoned.
If there are no objections, then the examining attorney will approve the mark. If your application is based on intent to use, you will need to submit a formal statement that you have begun to use the mark in commerce before an official certificate will be issued.
The mark will then be published in the Official Gazette to allow anyone to oppose your mark if he or she believes that they will be damaged by the mark registration. If no opposition if filed within the time specified by Section 13(a) of the Statue or by rules 2.101 or 1.102 of the Trademark Rules, the Commissioner of the Patents and Trademarks will issue a Certificate of Registration.
Upon receiving a Certificate of Registration, you can begin to use the cherished ® federal trademark symbol on your mark.
You should receive an initial response from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) within approximately three months of filing the application. However, the total application processing time may be anywhere from 6 months to a year, or even longer.