Average number of pages in a comprehensive search report
The number of factors considered to determine “likelihood of confusion”
Marks that have lost protection include: aspirin, cellophane, trampoline, dry ice, and zipper
Trademark Registration is a Process
Of course you lock your doors, so why wouldn’t you lock down your rights?
- Choosing the right mark.
There are two basic requirements for a mark to be protectable:
a. Use In Commerce: bona fide use, or intent to use, in commerce, such as selling goods and/or services; and
b. Distinctive or Unique Mark: marks that are merely descriptive or do not distinguish the goods and services from others are not eligible.
- Performing a comprehensive search.
The first to use a mark in commerce is considered the “senior user” and acquires common law trademark rights. Because the standard for trademark infringement is “likelihood of confusion,” a mark that is even somewhat similar to a senior user’s mark could lead to a cease and desist letter, or worse, a lawsuit.
- Registering with the USPTO.
Filing a registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers amplified enforcement powers and the legal presumption of ownership. USPTO registrations, and their costs, are based on classes, which can be loosely defined as the market for the goods and/or services. The USPTO evaluation of the application takes several months, and the entire process can last up to a year or longer. Once a registration is issued, the owner can now use the ® symbol.
- Maintenance and Policing.
There are post-registration filings that are required 5 to 6 years after the registration date and on every ten-year anniversary. Failure to submit them could cause the loss of the registration. Also, the law requires trademark owners actively control and enforce their marks, known as policing. Unlicensed use of a mark that is allowed to continue could result in the loss of all trademark rights.