A registered trademark is a benefit to both your business and consumers. It protects your rights to exclusively use your mark and avoid confusion in the marketplace by prohibiting other businesses from using the same or similar mark in the same industry.
This allows you to create a clear identity and develop goodwill for your goods or services as well as your business. You can develop your business, expand youroperations with the confidence that only a federally registered trademark can give you.
Trademark rights are established one of two ways.
- Actual use of the mark in the marketplace, or
- the filing of an application to register a trademark stating that the applicant has an intention to use the trademark in the marketplace.
- Applicants who are already using the trademark in the marketplace may file based upon that use (called "use in commerce").
- Applicants who are not currently using the mark but have an intent to use the trademark in the marketplace may file based upon their "intent to use" in commerce. The intent to use must in the ordinary course of trade and not simply to reserve that trademark.
- Finally, under some international agreements, an applicant from outside the United States may file in the United States based upon an application or registration in another country.
Anyone claiming a right in a mark may use the symbols TM (trademark) or SM (service mark) in conjunction with the mark so as to alert the public of the claim. No registration or application is necessary to use these symbols.
However, the registration symbol ®, may only be used after the mark is registered with the USPTO. It is improper to use this symbol at any time prior to the actual registration of the mark. These symbols should not be included in the drawings you submit as they are not part of the mark.
One of the most important factors the USPTO considers in the application process is the likelihood that consumers would be confused by similar marks. The USPTO looks at the nature of the goods or services proposed to be offered under the mark. As an aid in analyzing this issue, existing trademarks are organized into separate classes. There are 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services.
In submitting your application for registration of a US trademark, you must describe what kind of goods and/or services the trademark applies to. Please use clear and concise terms, which specify the actual goods and/or services by their common names. The mark can only be registered for specific good and services. These are called "classes." If your mark applies to multiple classes there are separate filing fees by the USPTO for each class.
When filing an application for a federal trademark, you must submit at least one actual sample of how you use the mark in the marketplace. The sample is referred to as a specimen. These are such things as label, tags, or containers for the goods. For a service mark, specimens may be advertising such as magazine advertisements or brochures.
The "drawing" is a page of the application, which depicts the proposed mark.Â In an application based upon actual use, the drawing must show the mark as it is actually used, i.e., as shown by the specimens.Â In the case of an application based upon an intent to use, the drawing must show the mark as the applicant intends to use it.Â In an application based upon a foreign application or foreign registration, the drawing must depict the mark as it appears or will appear on the foreign registration.
Any or all of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights or any subdivision of those rights may be transferred, but the transfer of exclusive rights is not valid unless that transfer is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner’s duly authorized agent. Transfer of a right on a nonexclusive basis does not require a written agreement.
A copyright may also be conveyed by operation of law and may be bequeathed by will or pass as personal property by the applicable laws of intestate succession. Copyright is a personal property right, and it is subject to the various state laws and regulations that govern the ownership, inheritance, or transfer of personal property as well as terms of contracts or conduct of business. For information about relevant state laws, consult our office.
Works Originally Created on or after January 1, 1978
A work that was created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author’s life plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death. In the case of “a joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire,” the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years frompublication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.