What Do I Need to Know About Trademarks?


What Do I Need to Know About Trademarks?

It is common that a word, name, symbol, sound, or device may be recognized or famous for a certain good or service. This is made possible by trademarking. By obtaining a trademark, you are able to separate your business from others and prevent others from using that recognizable symbol for other purposes. Continue reading below to learn more about trademarks. 

What is a Trademark?

Simply put, a trademark is a word, sound, symbol, name, or device that a company uses to distinguish them and their goods from other businesses. For example, this can include the Apple symbol, any car symbols, the “Golden Arches” for McDonalds, etc. This allows consumers to know the difference between these companies and others that are in the same field as one another. 

How do I Get a Trademark?

In order to trademark something for your business, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who can assess the trademark and make sure it is worth purchasing. The attorney can then file a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The office will examine the trademark to be sure it does not infringe upon another party’s work and issue a decision to your attorney. Sometimes, they may request that changes are made to the trademark and allow you six months to respond. When an application is approved, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office can publish it in the official gazette. From here, people have 30 days to oppose it. If there are no oppositions, an official Notice of Allowance can be issued and your attorney can file a Statement of Use. Within weeks, the final trademark certificate should arrive.  

In order to keep a trademark, you are required to continuously notify the government that you need it for commercial use. Your attorney must file an affidavit of continued use as well as an affidavit of incontestability five years after the trademark is approved. After 10 years pass, another affidavit of continued use must be filed to protect the trademark for as long as you want to use it. 

What is a Trademark Register?

In order to help businesses protect their intellectual property, the Lanham Act of 1946 established registers for trademarks. This includes the following:

  • Principal Register: For trademarks that take on a second meaning over time. With this register, a trademark has constructive use and constructive notice. This means other people cannot use similar marks for their businesses.
  • Supplemental Register: This requires that your trademark can distinguish your goods or services from another’s. With this register, individuals are not given any rights besides common law. It does not have opposition proceedings but the protection can be canceled by the court at any notice.

Contact our Firm

The Law Offices of Richard E. Novak, LLC has over 25 years of experience helping clients through tough times when they need it most. If you need assistance with any intellectual property, traffic violations, or business law matters, our firm is here to help. It is critical that you pick the right attorney who can protect your rights. Contact The Law Offices of Richard E. Novak, LLC for a consultation.