Federally registered trademarks are important tools and have a lot of benefits. More details in this article…
Trademarks are brand names, logos, designs, words or phrases that can be used to distinguish the products and services of a manufacturer. Trademarks can be federally registered or common law trademarks. Collective trademarks are used by the members of a group, who together provide a particular service.
Applying for Trademark Registration
A trademark is an intellectual property, and it can assume the form of a word, phrase, logo, or a combination of the aforesaid. Intellectual property is a creation that has commercial value, and can be protected by patents, copyrights, and trademarks. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) accepts online applications for trademark registration through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Before choosing a particular word, phrase or logo as a trademark, a person should go through the USPTO database in order to ensure that the mark is not already in use. A detailed description of the goods and services provided by the business should accompany the application, since the mark is intended for use or is already being used with those goods or services. Online applicants receive a serial number immediately after applying for registration. The entire process can take anywhere between 6 months and 1 year, depending on the complexity of the situation and the legal issues involved. Trademark lawyers are available to help with the process. The details on the fee for reregistration can be obtained from the USPTO website. The application has to be filed by the person who controls the use of the mark. He is generally the manufacturer of the product/service.
Does a Trademark Need to be Registered?
According to federal law, registering the trademark is not mandatory. As per common law, any person who uses the mark first has the authority to continue using it. Whether common law or registered, a trademark is necessary to protect the reputation of a business by conveying to the public that its products are original, and helping them distinguish between counterfeits and original company products. This in turn will help the business build a solid reputation for quality and reliability with its customers, thus increasing its customer base.
Reasons to Apply
Proof of Use and Ownership: In case a common law trademark is registered by a person who is not the first user of the mark, he gets the right to use it, and the original user of the common law mark loses all rights. Hence, it is best if it is registered.
Right to Use it Nationwide: The trademark can accompany goods or services distributed nationwide.
Preventing Import of Counterfeit Products: A business can prevent the import of counterfeit products by registering its mark with the US Customs department.
Applying for Trademarks in Foreign Countries: A federally registered trademark can be used in order to expedite the process of obtaining a trademark from a foreign government. This is necessary in case the products of the firm are exported, because a trademark only has national validity.
Settling of Disputes: A registered trademark is helpful in settling any disputes in a federal court of law, regarding its use by others.
Selling the Business: In case of selling a business, it would be helpful if the owner has registered trademarks. This results in increasing the worth of the business, by helping to distinguish its products from others.
It is evident that registering a trademark is a necessity, rather than a convention. The benefits clearly outweigh the cost involved. Every business, however small, should protect its right to use its mark by registering it.