trademark registration questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Trademark Registration

If you want to protect the intellectual property of your business, there may be several trademark registration questions you may have in mind regarding the process. A Washington DC intellectual property attorney at War IP Law can be a valuable resource in answering questions on trademark registration and providing legal guidance and assistance throughout the trademark registration process. 

Whether you are a small business owner or a solo entrepreneur, trademark registration can be an essential investment in your brand’s long-term success and growth. This article will give you an overview of the frequently asked questions about trademark registration:

  • What is a Trademark?
  • What is Trademark Registration?
  • Why is it Important to Register a Trademark?
  • How Do I Register a Trademark?
  • How Much Does It Cost to Federally Register a Trademark?
  • The Role of a Washington DC Intellectual Property Attorney in Trademark Registration

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is any name, word, symbol, or anything representing your brand in the marketplace. It can be used in commerce to identify and distinguish a business’s product or merchandise and to indicate its source. Things like business names, product names, tag lines, logos, and slogans are commonly trademarked, but even colors, sounds, and smells can become registered trademarks. 

In addition to helping consumers identify products and services, trademarks can also be valuable assets for businesses. A business can build brand recognition and customer loyalty by establishing a solid trademark, leading to increased sales and profits. If you want to pursue a trademark, our intellectual property lawyers in Washington, DC, are here to help. 

What is Trademark Registration?

Trademark registration is the legal process of applying to a government agency for the exclusive right to use a trademark concerning a specific type of good or service. It protects competitors who want to copy your branding. Trademarks are registered with and granted by the U.S. Government’s Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

Registering a trademark provides legal protection for the mark and the goodwill and reputation associated with it. Trademark registration can be complicated, and an intellectual property attorney can walk you through the steps and file your application.

Why is it Important to Register a Trademark?

Registering a trademark with the USPTO is not a requirement to receive trademark protection. Instead, trademark protection is established through the legitimate use of the mark in a commercial setting. While registering a trademark is not required, always be mindful of the benefits and protection upon registering for a trademark. 

An intellectual property lawyer can explain the following benefits of trademark registration that a common law trademark cannot provide:

Nationwide Presumption of Validity and Ownership

A trademark registration allows you to use the mark nationwide rather than just in your local geographic area. It also provides a legal presumption of your trademark’s validity and ownership of the mark. Trademark registration also offers legal protection if you face a situation of international counterfeit importations, allowing a court to order certain border protections. This is particularly helpful for businesses seeking to expand or businesses selling their goods or services online. 

Public Notice of Your Trademark

A registered trademark is a visible representation of brand ownership. It gives constructive notice of your claim of ownership on the mark to all members of the U.S. market. Only a registered trademark can be denoted by using the Circle R (®) symbol, while an unregistered trademark is indicated by using the letters TM.

Deterrence Against Infringement of Your Trademark

Trademark registration is a legal shield for your brand. Not only does your mark have the presumption of validity, but you are also entitled to certain damages if you prevail against the defendant in court. Registration can make a trademark infringement lawsuit more likely to succeed. 

How Do I Register a Trademark?

Remember that registering a trademark can be a complex and time-consuming process, and it is often helpful to work with an intellectual property attorney who can guide you through the process and help ensure that your application is successful. 

Additionally, once your trademark is registered, monitoring for potential infringement and taking legal action (if necessary) to protect your rights is crucial. While there are several steps involved in the process, the following are the basic and most significant ones when applying for a trademark application:

Apply for Federal Registration

The first step in the trademark registration process is deciding if you should decide on the mark itself and register it. Keep in mind that there are numerous benefits associated with getting registered. Once you choose a name and invest in marketing, you will not want to change it. 

Perform a Trademark Search

Performing a trademark search can help you ensure you are not stealing anyone else’s brand name. It is crucial to check if your trademark is already registered beforehand.

File a Federal Trademark Application

Filing the federal trademark application is the most time-sensitive part of the trademark process. There are strict guidelines and fee requirements you must follow to get your application successfully approved. The USPTO has an online system you can use to file your application known as the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). 

The application should include a description of the mark, information about the goods or services with which the mark will be used, and proof of use of the mark in commerce, if available.

After You Submit the Application

Once your application is submitted, a clerk will assign a number to your case. Then, it will go through a review process. The examining attorney will write to you to inform you whether your application meets specific legal requirements or whether you need to submit corrections. You will probably hear from the USPTO around three months after your application is submitted.

Registration can become far more complicated if someone challenges your mark. If someone else objects to your trademark for infringement, you will want to consider hiring an intellectual property lawyer in Washington, DC, to help resolve the dispute. 

Maintain Federal Trademark Registration

If your application gets approved, the next step is maintaining your trademark registration. You must file documents to keep your registration at regular intervals. Trademarks typically last for ten years, but be sure to confirm the current state of the law.

How Much Does It Cost to Federally Register a Trademark?

Filing a trademark with the USPTO can seem expensive when combined with legal fees. However, it can save thousands in legal expenses in the long run. An intellectual property attorney in Washington, DC, can give you an overview of the approximate trademark registration costs.

The cost to apply for and maintain a trademark registration depends on multiple factors. Trademark applications are broken down into “classes” of goods and services on which the trademark will be used. Each class the trademark will cover can cost between $250-$350 to file.

The Role of a Washington DC Intellectual Property Attorney in Trademark Registration

Trademark registration can be a critical asset to your business. Registering your trademark allows you to distinguish the goods or services your business provides aside from other businesses in your distinct field. Intellectual property and trademark laws exist so competitors cannot steal creative ideas, names, or symbols from other businesses. 

At War IP Law, our Washington intellectual property attorneys can help you before, during, and after the trademark application process. Our intellectual property law firm will protect your assets and help you learn to safeguard your intellectual property by answering your trademark registration questions. 

We are committed to helping you identify, obtain, and assert your intellectual property rights and defending you against infringement claims. If you are considering registering a trademark, schedule an initial consultation today. Let us help ensure that your trademark is protected and that you understand your legal rights and obligations.