If you are successfully able to register your United States federal trademark, you have navigated the trickiest part of the trademark process. However, you are not completely out of the woods. Simply because you register a trademark does not mean that it will remain valid and enforceable forever. For your trademark registration to remain valid or active, you must show the United States Trademark office that you have continued to use the mark in commerce after registration.
You are probably familiar with two small symbols commonly displayed after the use of a U.S. trademark, the ® and the ™ symbols. But you may wonder what the difference between them is. These two symbols indicate that the owner of a mark is asserting trademark rights in connection with the mark. These “trademark” symbols are intended as notice or a warning to third parties regarding the type of rights that accompany a mark.
Your business plan is set. You’ve thought long and hard about what your business name should be. Now you’re ready to trademark your business name. You begin your trademark application and lo and behold there are two options for filing your trademark – standard character mark and stylized/design mark. So which should you choose? If you aren’t concerned about protecting any distinct look or style for your business name, then you might consider going with the former. If you have a logo or a stylized font or script that you want to use together with your name, then you might consider the latter option. Of course, there is more to the decision than merely deciding if you only need to protect a word or slogan or if you also need to protect design aspects of your trademark; so you should seek the advice of a seasoned trademark lawyer.
Clients often ask if they can file for a trademark registration before they actually use their mark in commerce. The question usually comes up when they realize the way they have been using their mark may not technically constitute trademark usage. The short answer to this question is yes. Under the U.S. Trademark Act, Section 1(b) (i.e., 15 U.S.C. 1051(b)), it is permissible to file a trademark registration application before actually using a mark.
Trade names and trademarks are commonly confused by small businesses and young entrepreneurs. The confusion usually occurs because many businesses use the name of the company, at least in part, as a trademark. Reserving a company name or registering a business entity with the Secretary of State or Division of Corporations does not provide trademark rights in the registered company name. Registering a business with the Secretary of State does not provide you with a trademark registration. Assuming trademark protection from registering a business name with the state can be a costly mistake. To avoid this mistake, it is helpful to understand the difference between trademarks and trade names.
This article explains how you can register your trademark in four simple steps. You may first wonder: Why should I even register a trademark? The answer is simple. A valid trademark registration significantly improves your ability to protect and enforce your brand and can be critical to protecting the goodwill of your company. Valid U.S. trademark registrations provide additional legal rights that strengthen your trademark.