When you start a business, you have to think about a lot of different things: what you’re going to sell, how much it will cost, how you’re going to sell it—and most important of all, how you’re going to protect yourself and your business.
A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of these things that identifies your goods or services and distinguishes them from the goods and services of others. It’s how customers recognize you in the marketplace and differentiate you from your competitors.
A trademark allows you to legally protect your brand identity and guard against counterfeiting as well as fraud. Getting a registered trademark means that no one else can register the same brand for similar goods or services, giving you first use! In addition to protection, you also want to identify your business in the marketplace with your unique mark.
The word “trademark” can refer to both trademarks and service marks. A trademark is used for goods, while a service mark is used for services.
The USPTO has strict rules about how you can register a trademark. The main requirement for a valid registration is to use the mark in commerce before you apply for registration, which means that you must use the trademark on actual products or services offered to customers in the marketplace before applying for registration. The phrase “use in commerce.” is referring this concept.
I trademarked my medical device using the same strategies and planning I use when working for my clients and their ideas. A trademark is necessary for every new idea and business. The trademark process is a part of business in the world today.
– Jerry Joseph, Co-Founder Pancreum
Many of our clients have questioned whether there is a legal difference between filing a trademark with and without a space. For instance, a trade mark client wanting to register the mark “BEST BUSINESS” may be concerned that first, the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) will not grant a Trademark Registration if an application for “BESTBUSINESS” has already been filed, and second, a competitor could simply change the spacing between “BEST” and “BUSINESS” to avoid infringing on the trademark.
Does spacing affect your ability to register and enforce your mark? Typically, the answer is no but it depends on if the marks are confusingly similar. A “confusingly similar” test is used to determine whether a trademark conflict with another trademark exists or whether the use of a mark infringes on a registered trademark.
The first part of the test compares the overall commercial impression including sight, sound, and meaning of the two marks. The second part of the test determines whether the marks are used for similar goods or services. So, for most trademarks, adding or deleting a space between words of a trademark does not change the commercial impression of a trademark and therefore the USPTO will not grant a trademark to the second filer.
Here is another example. Let us consider two marks, Taco Bell ® – the Mexican fast-food restaurant, and Taco Bell – a fictitious company that sells Mexican fast food. These marks have a similar commercial impression because they look similar and sound similar. Both phrases are associated with Mexican fast food. As such, the junior mark (second in time) would be refused a Trademark registration. The reason for refusal is that a consumer might be confused about the source of the fast food, i.e., whether it is from Taco Bell ® or Taco Bell.
As for the second issue, let us assume Taco Bell ® is the typical fast-food restaurant, and Taco Bell sells cars. While it is true that both trademarks look and sound the same, one trademark stands a better chance of registration which is the mark that shows the apparent difference in goods. The reason is that it will not likely confuse people. Please note that Taco Bell ® is a famous mark, and the USPTO would refuse Taco Bell. Other factors not addressed in this article may play a role in the registration of your trademark, and the help of an experienced trademark attorney is recommended.
Colin Cochran, Intellectual Property Attorney
A trademark search and application is a complicated process. It requires searching through the USPTO database, analyzing lots of legal documents, and completing a very detailed application with multiple fields that must be filled correctly. If you make a mistake, that can be a serious problem.
Keep it simple. We take care of all of this for you. Our trademark services include:
-Trademark search and analysis
It’s easy to miss some important steps in the trademarking process if you’re not a lawyer or trademark expert. We take care of the entire process from start to finish, so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and imagine your peace of mind once you have a trademark on your business.
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Type of Patent?
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Do I need a trademark or
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The Intellectual Property Attorney you hire to represent you and your business is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
These are the values that guide this firm:
Having a lawyer is often the difference between success and failure. A good intellectual property lawyer is priceless. Without one, you’re basically out in the cold on your own. I have seen so much go wrong for clients’ businesses and even personal finances apart from the company.
– Jerry K Joseph Esq. Founding Attorney