Trademark

How to File a Trademark Application

Your name, logo, or slogan are important parts of your business’s identity. To protect that identity—and your business’s reputation—it is important to file a trademark application form to start the process of registering your trademark. Doing so is relatively easy and can save you many legal headaches in the long run. Whether you file an application seeking registration of a trademark on your own or with an attorney’s help, here is what you need to know. If you are looking to register a trademark fill out the application below to get the process started. Step One: Trademark Clearance Search Also called a “knockout search,” we encourage you to take this step.  One purpose of conducting a search is to determine whether your trademark is eligible for registration in the first place. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) will not approve a trademark application for a mark that is confusingly similar to another mark.  The second purpose of a search is to determine whether the use of your mark may violate the rights of someone else that is using a confusingly similar mark. Conducting a clearance search can be difficult; knowing what to search to make sure you uncover any conflicting trademark registrations takes practice and experience. As a result, many business owners opt to hire a trademark lawyer to have the search conducted for them. Step Two: Complete the Trademark Application Form The USPTO offers registrations online through its Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). There are two different filing options you can choose from TEAS Plus or TEAS Standard. TEAS Plus applications cost less ($250 per class compared to $350 with TEAS Standard) but come with more requirements. Despite the higher cost, many people prefer TEAS Standard because it offers more flexibility overall. Regardless of which application you choose, every trademark application requires the same basic information. This is the same information an attorney preparing a trademark application for a client would ask for: The name, address, and entity information of the owner of the trademark (usually the business entity using the mark); The name, email, and mailing address of the person with whom the USPTO should communicate about the application (usually an attorney); An image or drawing of your trademark if you are registering more than a word or phrase (for example if there is a graphic design element you need to protect); A list of the goods or services your trademark represents and the relevant international class for each; and The date when your trademark was first used in commerce. At the end of the trademark application form, you will need to complete and sign a declaration that the information you’ve provided is true and not misleading. Understanding Trademark Classes Trademark law categorizes each trademark according to the goods or services it covers. There are currently 45 distinct classes, with each covering a particular set of goods or services. For example, Class 16 covers “paper goods and printed matter” while Class 45 covers legal and other professional services. Intent to Use vs. Use-Based Applications Trademark protection is unique in that you can get it only if you are actually using your trademark. A majority of trademark applications are use-based, meaning they cover a mark that is currently in use in commerce. By contrast, an “intent to use” application covers a trademark that you plan to use in commerce in the future. A key part of the intent to use applications is the honest intent to use the mark in the future. In most cases, you won’t be allowed to file an intent to use application simply to “reserve” your trademark for future use. Step 3: Submit the Completed Trademark Application Once you’ve completed the trademark application form, signed the declaration, and paid the fee, your application is ready to submit. After doing so, you will receive a serial number allowing you to check on the status of your application. Typically, the USPTO will assign your application to an examining attorney for review within approximately three months of the submission date. Because the USPTO receives a large volume of applications, however, it may take as long as six months. Can I File a Trademark Application for Free? No, federal (and even state-level) trademark applications always come with a fee. As explained above, the exact fee may vary depending on which application type you choose. If your budget simply cannot make room for the application fee, you may be able to take advantage of common law trademark rights. Simply using your trademark in commerce builds these rights. Keep in mind, however, that your protection is much more limited without a federal registration. For example, common law trademark protection extends only to the immediate geographic area in which you use your trademark, while a federal trademark is designed to cover the entire United States. Step 4: Monitor Your Application Over the next several months, it’s important to monitor your application and respond to any communications you get from the USPTO. If the examining attorney discovers any issues with your application, you will receive an office action explaining the issue and the reason for the application denial. Step 5: Maintaining Your Mark After It Is Registered If the USPTO approves your application, it will publish your mark for 30 days and thereafter you will obtain a Registration on Principal Register, giving you full federal trademark protection. Going forward, you will have to file additional documents to renew your registration. If you originally filed an intent to use application, your mark will not mature into a Registration right away. Instead, you’ll have to submit a “Statement of Use” with evidence that you’ve started using the mark in commerce before the USPTO registers your trademark in Principal Register. Need Help Filing a Trademark Application? Registering a trademark is not as simple as it may first appear. Even after you’ve successfully registered it, failing to follow the proper procedures may result in losing your trademark rights. The Polasek Law Firm (TPLF) has years of […]

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Trademark

Tips for Hiring an Affordable Trademark Attorney

Your brand name or logo is an important part of your business. Whether you sell goods or provide services, your brand is how customers identify you. Registering a trademark allows you to protect the association your customers have with the goods and services of your business. However, if you’ve spent any time researching how to file a trademark, you’ve probably seen that just the filing fee is going to cost a few hundred dollars.  Some attorneys will charge a flat fee for filing an application; others will bill by the hour. Fortunately, finding an affordable trademark attorney is easy if you know what to look for. What Is a Trademark? A trademark is any word, name, logo, slogan, or symbol used to identify the goods or services of the seller. Because trademarks are identified with an individual’s or business’s goods or services, it is important that individuals and businesses in the same or similar spaces do not use trademarks that are likely to confuse consumers. Tip #1: Figure Out How Much Help You Need There are many steps to registering a trademark, whether it is with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or with a state, such as the Texas Secretary of State. Knowing how much help you will need from an attorney is something to keep in mind when searching for an affordable trademark attorney. If you decide to consult an attorney, have the information ready.  Your attorney will want to know what the mark is, who is using the mark, the date the mark was first used (if it is being used) and the date it was first used in commerce.  If you are using the mark, your attorney will want a specimen of use of the mark.  If you can readily provide this information to your attorney, it will streamline the preparation of the application. A trademark attorney will generally charge a separate fee for each step, depending on its complexity. The general process includes: Conducting a search for other marks that may be confusingly similar; Determining whether your mark is confusingly similar to an existing registration or pending application; Preparing and filing the trademark application; Responding to office actions, if necessary; and After registration, monitoring the trademark and filing renewal statements. How Much Does a Trademark Registration Cost? The cost of registering a trademark has two main parts: USPTO fees and attorney fees. At a minimum, filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for one class of goods or services (i.e. one type of goods) costs approximately $350. When it comes to attorney fees, the exact cost will vary depending on the facts particular to your situation. Preparing and filing the application likely will cost several hundred dollars of attorney time.  After the application is filed, it will be examined by the USPTO. Depending on what, if any, issues are raised by the trademark examiner will have a large impact on additional attorney time.  Tip #2: Speak with Several Trademark Attorneys Many attorneys offer an initial free consultation. During this conversation, you have the opportunity to explain some basics of your situation and what legal services you need. Use this time to find out how much the attorney charges and what your specific needs will cost.  It will also give you an opportunity to evaluate whether you want to work with that person. Ask yourself, was this attorney willing to take the time to discuss your matter and explain the process?  Did the attorney return your inquiry/call timely? Tip #3: Consider the Attorney’s Experience How much experience they have can affect whether a trademark attorney is affordable. While more experienced attorneys are usually more expensive, this isn’t always the case. Experienced attorneys may be more efficient.  It’s important to speak with any attorneys you are interested in to make sure you don’t pass up an experienced attorney with affordable rates.   Hire an Affordable Trademark Attorney Before you search “affordable trademark attorney near me,” contact The Polasek Law Firm. If you’re looking for an attorney who won’t break the bank, look no further. Reach out today or give Polasek Law Firm a call at 832-485-3580 for a free consultation.

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