+ WHAT IS A TRADEMARK?

The US Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a trademark as a word, phrase, symbol or design, or combination thereof, which serve to identify the source of goods or services and distinguish them from goods or services provided by others.

Many businesses have multiple trademarks; including brand name trademarks, company name trademarks, logo trademarks, and slogan trademarks.

+ WHAT IS A SERVICE MARK?

Service marks are commonly referred to as trademarks, and the same rules and procedures apply to both.

The US Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a trademark as a word, phrase, symbol or design, or combination thereof, which serve to identify the source of goods or services and distinguish them from goods or services provided by others.

Many businesses have multiple trademarks; including brand name trademarks, company name trademarks, logo trademarks, and slogan trademarks.

+ CAN I HIRE A TRADEMARK ATTORNEY BASED IN ANY STATE?

An attorney in any state can help you with most federal trademark matters.

Common federal trademark matters include: conducting a trademark search, providing a legal opinion on a trademark search, filing a trademark application with the USPTO, responding to an Office action issued by the Trademark Office, filing an opposition to a trademark application or defending against one, or handling a trademark cancellation proceeding.

Trademark infringement matters that are based on a federal trademark can also be handled by a trademark attorney in any state. There may be specific rules that apply to the jurisdiction that the matter is based in. A knowledgeable trademark attorney can advise on what rules and concerns may be applicable to your trademark infringement matter.

+ SHOULD I REGISTER MY TRADEMARK?

Federal trademark registration is the strongest form of notice that you can provide to others regarding ownership of your trademark.

If you are serious about your brand, and want to protect your intellectual property, trademark registration for your name, logo, or slogan is essential.

Trademark registration can also be a valuable asset if you discover someone using your trademark, or one that is substantially similar to it. Such use may be considered trademark infringement.

Trademark registration often deters trademark infringement from occurring.

+ WHAT IS A COMMON LAW TRADEMARK?

Common law trademark rights are established by using a brand, logo, or slogan on goods or services in commerce.

Common law trademark rights are established even if you do not register your trademark with the USPTO.

+ WHAT IS TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT?

Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of another’s trademark on related goods and services.

The evaluation of whether trademark infringement has occurred is based on whether there is a likelihood of confusion between the two trademarks.

The factors used to determine whether a likelihood of confusion between two trademarks exists vary based on the specific Federal Court that is hearing the trademark infringement matter.

It is recommended that you consult with a trademark attorney if you have questions about a legal matter that involves trademark infringement.

For more information on the specific factors used US Federal Courts when deciding matters of trademark infringement, see the Trademark Infringment FAQ section of Sturmanlaw.com

https://www.sturmanlaw.com/trademark-infringement-faqs

+ HOW LONG IS A TRADEMARK REGISTRATION GOOD FOR?

A trademark registration can last forever, if:

(1) The trademark continues to be used in commerce to indicate the source of goods and services, and

(2) You file certain documents and pay the required fees to the USPTO (US Patent Trademark Office).

+ WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRADEMARKS, COPYRIGHTS, AND PATENTS?

A trademark is a brand that identifies the source of goods and services and distinguishes them from other sources.

A copyright protects original works like songs, movies, books, and sounds.

A patent protects an invention.

Depending on your situation, you may need one or a combination of all three.

+ IS MY TRADEMARK APPLICATION CONFIDENTIAL?

No. The information provided to the USPTO on your trademark application becomes part of the public record.

Common law trademarks differ from federal registered trademarks in that they are only valid in the geographic areas in which they are used. Whereas, federally registered trademarks provide nationwide rights.

You will have to decide for yourself, however I can tell you this:

There is a significant difference between the type of search that a competent trademark attorney will conduct, and one that a do-it-yourself form mill like LegalZoom will help you conduct on your own.

If you are serious about trademark registration, a legal opinion provided by a knowledgeable trademark attorney can save you a lot of time and money before you make a costly, but easily avoidable mistake.

LegalZoom is not a law firm and cannot provide you or anyone with legal advice.