About Trademark Law.
Trademarks and service marks are often known as “brand names.” Having a unique and protected brand name ensures that your company and product are uniquely yours; that when the public purchases a product with that name, it will be reliably from the same company with the same standard of quality. This predictability is essential to growing a business's goodwill and developing a loyal following.
The main reasons to register a mark are:
To get a rebuttable presumption of ownership in that mark, and
To be able to obtain statutory damages and attorney's fees against infringing users of the mark.
Registering Your Trademark with the USPTO:
You can file an application for a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) either while using the mark on a product or service or in anticipation of using it on a product or service. Once you've filed the application, you have priority over any subsequent applicants as of the date of filing, assuming that the mark is eventually issued. We can help you file your trademark application, or teach you how to do it yourself.
Why Bother Registering Your Trademark?
Registering your mark gives you security that you have the exclusive right to use your mark. You won't have to worry about changing your product's name after you've invested capital in production, packaging, advertising, etc. If another company comes forward claiming it owns the rights to the mark, you will have a much easier time defending your use, and prohibiting theirs. It also protects your product from knockoffs and brand dilution.
Limited Protection for Unregistered Trademarks:
You can acquire trademark rights by using a mark in commerce on a product or in association with a service, without filing; in order to enforce your rights, however, you have to show that you were using the mark before any challengers. And, your rights to its exclusive use will be limited to your actual market and its “zone of natural expansion” if you had plans to expand before a dispute arose. Registering your mark is a more secure way of ensuring that you maintain the exclusive rights to your brand name.
Length of Trademark Protection:
Federal trademark registrations are valid for 10 years at a time, and can be renewed indefinitely, provided the mark is constantly used and protected. If you fail to use or protect a mark—for instance, by letting it become the standard nomenclature for the generic version of the product—you may not be allowed to renew it.
Res Nova Law can help you take steps to register, protect, and defend your mark against infringement or dilution.
Protect Your Brand.
We can help you with:
Trademark searches, clearance, and freedom to operate analysis;
Federal trademark applications;
Trademark advising and strategy;
Trademark portfolio management and evaluation;
Due diligence; valuation of a company's trademark assets;
Trademark licensing, assignment, and co-branding agreements;
Trademark monitoring and enforcement;
Drafting and responding to cease-and-desist letters;
Trademark litigation in federal court and before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB"); and
Settlement negotiations and alternative dispute resolution (e.g., mediation and arbitration).
Check out our other articles on trademark law, and click below to learn more about the other types of intellectual property: