Federal Trademark Registration FAQs

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  • What is a trademark and what does it do?

    One way to understand a trademark is that it is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of another party. A “service” mark distinguishes the source of a service, rather than a good, but the two are typically simply referred to as a “trademark” or “mark”. In more general terms, getting a trademark protects a brand. Many of the well-known brands, logos and slogans you love, know and trust have been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

    Generally, the registration of a trademark entitles the registrant to a presumption of ownership of the brand on a national level and a presumed right to use the brand nationwide. It may help prevent someone from registering a confusingly similar mark later and may also help the registrant bring a case in federal court if someone infringes on the brand. Once registered, a registrant can typically start using the ® symbol after the name, logo or slogan.

    After a mark is properly registered and used for a five-year period, Brand Mark Protect can also help file a “Declaration of Incontestability.” Considered by some the greatest protection under U.S. trademark law, this may help prevent others from contesting a trademark on the following grounds: (1) the mark is not inherently distinctive; (2) it is confusingly similar to another mark that someone else began using first; or (3) the mark is simply functional as opposed to identifying the source of the goods or services.

  • What’s the difference between copyright, patent and trademark?
  • What is a common law trademark and why bother to register a mark?
  • What makes a good name?
  • What information will I need?
  • What are the different kinds of marks?
  • Why run a search for similar trademarks?
  • What’s the difference between in use and intent to use?
  • Should companies trademark their name or logo?
  • The state allowed a company to incorporate using a particular name, is that the same as a trademark?
  • How does an applicant decide which category to use?
  • How does an applicant decide what description to use?
  • A company has a domain name, so why does it need a trademark?
  • Is it common to also register the web address or the plural version?
  • What about my slogan, do companies usually register that?
  • What is the USPTO filing fee?
  • What happens after a mark is submitted to the USPTO? How long does it take to receive the trademark?

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