You have marketed your business well, and consumers know your name or recognize your logo. Now is the time to protect the symbols representing your company by registering your trademark. This keeps others from using your unique name, logo, design, or catchy advertising phrase.
Registering a trademark can be confusing and complicated without help from a seasoned attorney at Sparks Law. Our Atlanta trademarks lawyers can review your company’s marks and branding and help file the necessary paperwork.
Anyone can use the TM sign to imply that logos, symbols, and advertising phrases are uniquely owned. However, unlike copyrights, a trademark offers no protection if it is not registered. The letter R in a circle denotes a registered trademark, which means the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has applied its stamp of approval.
The process begins by making sure nobody else is using the prospective mark. The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) is a search engine that will identify identical or similar marks. If an identical mark is submitted to the USPTO, the trademark application will be rejected.
Companies refresh marketing campaigns over time, so it is wise to file for separate trademarks to protect each logo, slogan, name, and symbol. If one application is filed to cover all items to be trademarked, a whole new application will have to be filed if just one thing is changed. By filing for separate trademarks, owners only have to refile for a new one on the symbol they change. For instance, if a logo is changed but the name, advertising slogan, and symbol remain the same, the new application would only encompass the logo.
Other pieces of advice when filing a trademark application include the following:
Additionally, an applicant must comply with technical specifications when applying for a trademark. USPTO often requires the filer to respond to its detailed questions before a trademark is approved. The application is considered a legal document, so it is recommended that business owners work with an experienced trademarks attorney in their area.
When the USPTO rejects trademark applications or requires additional information, it is usually because the mark is very similar to an existing one. This is even more difficult to deal with when the existing mark is no longer used. In these scenarios, a seasoned lawyer could help file an appeal to argue that the registered mark should be canceled.
Trademarks protect words and symbols that are connected to a company’s products. For example, Pepsi and its red, white, and blue logo is a trademark of the Pepsi-Cola Company. The letter L in a circle is Toyota’s trademark for its Lexus line of cars.
Service marks protect services instead of products. For example, FedEx, the logo for Federal Express, is a service mark because it provides delivery service. Some companies use both trade and service marks. McDonald’s has a service mark because it offers food service, but it also trademarks its golden arches and food names, such as Big Mac. A skilled lawyer could determine what products and services an Atlanta company should protect with trademarks and service marks.
Marking a product, advertising material, logo, or other identifiers with a trademark symbol is not enough to prevent piracy. You must register these representations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The registration process is complicated and technical, and there is no guarantee that your trademark will be approved without further inquiries from the USPTO. Let an experienced Atlanta trademarks lawyer handle the process and work toward a successful application on your behalf. Call Sparks Law today to learn more.