(b) motivate competitors to try an avoid copying or incorporating the same or a similar mark as yours,
(c) makes it easier for you to stop infringers in court,
(d) allows you the ability to use U.S. Customs to Enforce to prevent the importing of infringing products or services,
(e) allows you the ability to use Registration Symbol ® next to your mark.
Almost anything that serves to that identifies and distinguishes a manufacturer and/or seller as the source of the goods or services can be trademarked. Trademarks may include any word, name, phrase, slogan, a way or presenting or spelling a word, symbol, shape, or drawing, details of packaging, design of store (trade dress), sound, smell or device, or any combination.
The general steps for registering a trademark include:
- Determining if a mark is available for use and potential registration in connection with your goods or services. This is usually done through a trademark-screening search.
- Once you have determined that the mark is available for use and potential registration, you can either apply for the mark through an “intent-to-use” trademark application or else use the mark in interstate commerce and then file for a “use”
- Receive a certificate of registration and use the ® next to the mark to put people on notice.
The general rule for choosing a trademark is to:
- pick a mark that you like,
- pick a mark that is unique (such as the word “target” for a store)
- pick a mark that does not suggest or describe your product or services (such as the word “turbo powered” for an automobile that has a turbo engine), and
- pick a mark that is not generic (such as the word water for bottled water).
The general requirement for a trademark application includes:
- the words and/or design you wish to register
- for marks that have been used in interstate commerce your will also need a specimen such as a product label, container, packaging for the goods and services which shows the trademark as being use/sold in interstate commerce, and
- a description or listing of the goods and services associated with the trademark.
To determine if you can use a trademark you should perform a trademark-screening search (also known as a preliminary search). This can be done by either by (1) searching for the mark that you want to use through the internet on search engine sites such as Google ™, Bing ™, and Yahoo ™ or (2) on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s web site, or both. If you want further assurances you can also have one of our attorneys perform the search for a pretty low fee.
Incorporating or registering a business name through a state is unrelated a trademark filing and does not mean that you are clear to use the name as a trademark. Most state’s business name review process are done only to ensure that there are no identical company/business names in that state.
The answer is it depends on how well know your mark becomes and how close the products or services in the other class are to your products or services. The general test for how close the products or services in the other class are to your products or services is the legal principle of “Likelihood of Confusion” which include a number of factors such as trade channels.
The cost of registration depends on a number of factors including the amount of different types of goods or services that you are using in association with your mark and how difficult the examination process is through the Patent and Trademark Office has any problems with the application. You should expect to spend $1,000-$2,000 to register a single mark in a single class of goods or services.
Generally speaking, in order to prepare and file for a Federal Trademark
Application you will need:
- the mark that you want to apply for,
- a description of the goods or services that will be associated with the
- the name of the person or business entity that will own the trademark,
- the legal entity of the person or business that will own the trademark (i.e., individual citizen, Corporation, Limited Liability Company) and where they live or the state that the business is incorporated in,
- the principal place of business,
- the first date that you used the trademark, and
- whether you have used the trademark in interstate commerce.