If you have invested time and advertising dollars into promoting your product, you may want to legally protect the name, logo, design, symbol, or phrase representing it. By getting a trademark, you can prevent companies from using a similar design and potentially confusing customers.
The best way to protect your brand is to register it under a trademark, making it uniquely yours. The registration process may seem daunting, but an Alpharetta trademarks lawyer at Sparks Law could advise you at every step of the way. Let our skilled attorneys handle your application and protect your hard work and innovation.
Trademarks protect identifiers connected to a company’s products. For instance, Coke is a trademark of the Coca-Cola Company, and the Nike swoosh is a trademark of Nike. Similarly, service marks protect services. For example, United Airlines’ advertising phrase “Fly the Friendly Skies” is a service mark because the company provides flight service instead of a product.
Some identifiers can be both. Amazon’s name is a trademark for its unique products, such as the Kindle reader, and a service mark because it offers online shopping services. A seasoned lawyer at our Alpharetta office could identify a client’s trade and service marks for registration.
Businesses often use the TM sign to represent their trademarks and SM for service marks. However, unless the marks are registered, owners have no real legal protection from others who copy them. Registered trademarks and service marks use the symbol R in a circle, a designation that tells others the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has reviewed and approved a trademark assigned to a specific owner.
Prior to submitting a trademark application to the USPTO, filers must make sure the marks they wish to register are not in use. This is done by accessing the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and searching for similar or identical marks before using one to brand a product. Failure to take this step could result in the USPTO rejecting a company’s application. Our local trademarks attorneys can also help with this review process.
It may seem like a good idea to submit one application for all of a company’s prospective trademarks, such as the company name, logo, and slogan. However, marketing campaigns change over time. By filing separate trademarks, changing one branding design—say, the company logo—will not affect the other trademarks. The company will only have to file a new application on the one mark that is changed.
Other tips to consider when filing a trademark application are:
USPTO has technical specifications in place that are critical to the trademark application process. Often, the filer must respond to detailed government requirements before an application is approved. This application is a legal document best handled by an experienced trademark attorney.
The USPTO sometimes rejects trademark applications or wants additional information. This can happen if the USPTO rules that an existing trademark is too similar to the one applied for. The situation could be further complicated if the registered mark is no longer in use. In this scenario, an experienced Alpharetta attorney could file an appeal and argue for the cancellation of a dormant trademark.
You can mark your products or services with the trademark or service mark symbol, but the only way to guarantee it will not be pirated is to register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This also gives you legal options for recourse if someone does copy your branding.
Trademarks and service marks help protect your unique ideas and marketing campaigns. As a business owner, you want to get your name out there with no confusion about other goods and services with similar marks. Call an Alpharetta trademarks lawyer at Sparks Law today to schedule an initial consultation.