+ WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A REGISTERED TRADEMARK?
There are quite a few benefits of obtaining a federal trademark registration from the US trademark office. Among them are:
Being issued a US trademark registration is the strongest form of notice that you can provide to everyone in the entire world that you are the owner of that trademark.
This notice becomes “prima facie” (on its face) evidence that you own that trademark.
This can be an invaluable benefit resulting in the saving of time and potentially significant legal costs if you are ever sued for trademark infringement.
It can also be helpful if you ever discover someone else using a brand, logo, or slogan that is the same as yours, or substantially similar to yours, which could cause confusion among consumers as to the source of goods and services.
Proof that you have a federal trademark registration for the trademark at issue can potentially stop infringement without having to resort to litigation, again saving you time and money.
+ DOES HAVING A REGISTERED TRADEMARK MEAN YOU CANNOT BE SUED FOR TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT?
One way common mistake in the world of trademarks, is not accounting for common law trademark rights.
Believe it or not, you can still be sued for trademark infringement. In simplest terms, US trademark law is based on the concept of first in line/first in time.
If someone else can show that they have been using a trademark in a geographic area first, even if they have not registered it, they have ownership of the trademark in that geographic area and can prevent you and anyone else from using that trademark in the area where they have been using it.
There is no limit to the size of the geographic area. Therefore, conducting a thorough trademark search that includes common law rights is essential.
+ HOW LONG DOES THE TRADEMARK REGISTRATION PROCESS TAKE?
After a thorough clearance search has been performed and an application submitted, a good estimate, providing the USPTO has no issues with your requested trademark, is 6-9 months.
+ WHAT IF I AM NOT ALREADY USING THE MARK AND DO NOT PLAN TO USE THE MARK UNTIL IT IS SUCCESSFULLY REGISTERED?
A party that has a bona fide (genuine) intention to use a trademark in commerce related to specific goods or services can file an Intent-to-Use Application.
After the 30-day Opposition Period** the applicant will receive a Notice of Allowance.
Within six months of the Notice of Allowance the applicant must submit a Statement of Use**.
If needed the applicant can request an extension of an additional six months to Submit a Statement of Use.
**For additional FAQs on the "Opposition Period," "Notice of Allowance," and the "Statement of Use" see the Trademark Application Process FAQs section under FAQs/Resources.