How Do I Get Trademark Protection?
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In the United States and most countries with a legal tradition derived from the United Kingdom, a business automatically generates “common law” trademarks in a mark by using it as a commercial identifier. Common-law rights are limited to the geographic area where the mark is known, and so may be fairly limited, especially for new businesses.
Two types of trademark registrations are available in the US: state and federal trademark registrations.
State trademark registrations. State trademark registrations typically provide a series of procedural benefits in an in-state trademark dispute, but have no impact in any other state. They tend to be inexpensive to file and renew, often $50 or less per class. State trademark filings generally receive minimal review by a state agency, generally the Secretary of State’s office. State trademark registrations may be especially useful for local businesses that do not rely on substantial out-of-state customers, and for certain types of regulated businesses that are permitted only in certain states.
Federal trademark registrations. If a mark is used in interstate commerce (between two states or between any state and an international market), it may be eligible for federal trademark registration. An application for federal trademark registration is more expensive than a state application, with fees starting at $225 per class, and each application receives an extensive review from an Examining Attorney at the United States Patent & Trademark Office. If the mark is registered, the registrant gains rights (with some caveats) to use or expand its use of the mark across the United States, and to prevent later comers from adopting confusingly similar marks.
International trademark protection. In many, registrations is a prerequisite for obtaining trademark rights. If you are doing business or plan to do a significant volume business in another country, or if you are seeing infringement by third parties in that country, registering your mark can be a valuable defensive step. Filing an initial application in the US will allow the applicant to file almost anywhere in the world within six months, and get the benefit of the applicant’s US filing date.
- What Jurisdictions Are Available for Searching?
- What Is a Trademark?
- What Factors Go Into Picking a "Good" Trademark?
- How Much Are Trademarks Worth?
- What Is the Difference Between a Trademark, a Copyright, and a Patent?
- How Do I Get Trademark Protection?
- Why Should I Do a Clearance Search for a Trademark?
- What Is the Benefit of Registering a Trademark With the USPTO?
- What Is the Cost To File a Trademark Application?
- What Is an International Class In a Trademark Application?
- What Are Goods and Services In a Trademark Application?
- What Does an Examining Attorney Look For When Reviewing a Trademark Application?
- When Is There a Likelihood of Confusion Between Two Marks?
- What Is an Acceptable Specimen of Use?
- What Is the Difference Between the Principal Register and the Supplemental Register?
- How Long Does It Take To Register a Trademark?
- How Long Does a Trademark Last?
- What Is the Madrid Protocol?
- What Is the Nice Agreement?
- What Is the Paris Convention?
- How Do I Properly Use My Trademark?
- How Do I Protect My Trademark?
- What Trademark Symbol Should I Use?
- What Is Trademark Infringement?
- How Do Trademark Rights Relate to Domain Names (and What Is a UDRP)?
- How Do Trademark Rights Relate to Business Name Rights?
- How Do I Form a Business Entity?