What to Know Now: Trademarks 101

Independently of the size of their business, owners must pay attention to the trademark basics.

Many business owners dedicate efforts and money to branding, but without the trademark protection, others can steal the brand. Without careful research, your branding may be infringing on other’s property.

Here are the Trademark Basics.

Trademarks are identifiers of your company, product, or service. These identifiers can be a logo, a name, or a slogan. For example, when you buy a computer with an apple logo, you know it is a trusted brand, created by Apple Inc.

The best trademarks are the ones that are arbitrary to the product. For example, the shape of a bird to represent a social media platform (Twitter). Or a stylized letter H letter for a car company (Hyundai).

Generic words cannot be protected.

Before committing to a brand, is best to research if any other company is not already using it. The basic searches can be done on Google, social media platforms, businesses databases, etc. A more in-depth search should include the USPTO site. However, this government site is not easy to navigate. Therefore, it is recommended a lawyer helps you with this task.

Common-Law and Trademarks

You can use your branding in the market without registering it. You have limited rights under this approach. Common law practices can become costly mistakes such as trademark infringement.

What is USPTO?

USPTO is an acronym for the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  This is the federal agency in charge to grant trademarks and patents. USTPO registers trademarks for all of the USA. If your product or service is offered in other geographical markets you must file with those entities. Examples: Mexico has its own trademark office, as well as the European Union, etc.

How Can I Register a Trademark?

You follow a filing process. First, request the use of a trademark to USPTO filing and paying for the application. Second, wait for the USPTO assessment. The agency accepts or rejects the mark based on several factors: another party already using the mark or the possibility that the public may confuse your company with others in existence with similar products. Third, once you are using the trademark even before approval you can add the TM symbol. Finally, can use the R symbol on your mark when the registration is finalized.

We suggest hiring a Trademark Attorney to conduct thorough research and to file a trademark. It will save you lots of time. We believe you will be happy with your investment.

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Attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta is a business and intellectual property attorney who serves a wide arrange of clients. Call Carmen to schedule a free 15 minutes phone consultation.

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