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Finding And Registering A Trademark For Your Business

Mar 12, 2008
A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name.

Federal registration has several advantages, including notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration.

The benefits of having a federal trademark registration are many, from evidence of ownership of the trademark, jurisdiction of federal courts, to registration being used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries.

Some people choose to hire attorneys to walk them through the process of applying for a trademark and others choose to use a trademark research firm, which can cost thousands of dollars less.

Many people are under the impression that they can perform their own comprehensive search using the help of search engines, in addition to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

While it is a good idea to become familiar with the USPTO website, individuals sometimes believe that the data they collect is representative of the trademarked names which are currently being used.

The USPTO website is never a thorough way to search the name you're hoping to trademark. The website is not updated regularly and you can only search Federal trademark records there not State or Common-Law records.

It is necessary to search Federal and State trademark records and Common-Law records because it is the only way to ensure your search was done in a comprehensive manner. Federal and State trademark records that are either pending or registered will be visible to the researcher.

Common-Law records examine those businesses who are in business but not have necessarily filed for a Federal or a State trademark. When Common-Law records are searched, thousands upon thousands of newspaper articles, city business listings, periodicals, corporation listings, etc. are examined for any name similarities.

After researching and your research does prove clear, the next step is to prepare and file the application. This can be done by anyone; however, the USPTO is very particular about how the application is prepared, so it is best to leave it to professionals.

Remember the three steps: Federal and State trademark search, US National Common-Law search and Application Preparation and Filing, and the Trademark could be yours.
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