Have you received a trademark office action indicating that your trademark application has been rejected because of a likelihood of confusion with another trademark? In other words, has the trademark examining attorney found your mark to be “confusingly similar” to another mark? Under Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act, the Trademark Office is obligated to refuse registration of your trademark if it is likely to cause confusion with a mark in an existing registration. Of course, what is considered “confusingly similar” can be very subjective indeed. For example, if you want to register ABC for clothing and somebody already owns a federal registration for ABC for electric generators, the Trademark Office will probably not reject your application since clothing and electric generators are not products that would generally be perceived as being similar, related, or emanating from the same source. But, what about ABC for clothing and ABC for watches? In that instance, would there be a likelihood of confusion?
So, how much does a trademark cost? If you’ve read my article titled “How Much is a Trademark? – Understanding the Relationship Between Cost, Risk, and Value,” you know I recommend performing a careful cost-benefit analysis before choosing a company or law firm to help you acquire a United States trademark registration. After all, cost is often a major concern for many individuals, businesses, and organizations seeking to register a trademark. That said, I’d like to address the related concept of “relevant costs” and show you how these costs factor into your efforts to acquire federal trademark protection for your particular name, logo, or slogan.
Are you asking yourself, “How much is a trademark?” If you found this article because you are curious about the cost of obtaining a United States trademark registration, you have landed in the right place. As a trademark attorney, I work with individuals just like you every day. I know that cost can be a genuine concern, especially for people venturing into the trademark registration process for the first time.
However, it is important to recognize that cost should only be one part of your purchasing decision. In addition to cost, you must also consider both risk and value in order to make a proper and informed assessment. So let’s do a quick overview of these three concepts and then see how they relate to your upcoming trademark decision.
Are you are looking to acquire a United States trademark registration? Possibly for a name or logo that will help consumers easily identify and distinguish your products and services from those offered by your competitors? Or maybe you want to apply to register a catchy slogan that could help boost your prominence in a competitive marketplace? If owning a trademark registration is your goal, you have likely researched your options for obtaining one. And chances are good you have come across LegalZoom and wondered whether it provides a worthwhile trademark service.
Well, fortunately for you, there are many people who have already used LegalZoom to file a trademark application. So, you can easily search online for LegalZoom trademark reviews and read about their experiences. These LegalZoom trademark reviews allow you to gain insight into how your own LegalZoom experience may turn out before you risk a single dime.
Trademark are extremely valuable forms of intellectual property and even more important business assets. Trademark owners must establish their legal right to their marks in order to properly safeguard them from possible infringement. To obtain the maximum protection available under the law, trademark owners should strongly consider obtaining a USPTO trademark registration issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).
What are the Benefits of USPTO Trademark Registration?
Below are the main benefits of registering your trademark with the USPTO:
- A Certificate of Registration issued by the USPTO is prima facie evidence of (1) the validity of the registered trademark, (2) ownership of the registered trademark, and (3) the nationwide exclusive right to use the registered trademark in commerce in connection with the goods/services listed in the Certificate of Registration. This is invaluable should you ever have to pursue or defend a trademark infringement lawsuit.
In the world of commerce, the ® registered trademark symbol (known as the “Circle R”) conveys a very important meaning. The registered trademark symbol signifies that a trademark or service mark has been federally registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). It is regularly used by owners of registered trademarks to put the world on actual notice of their federal trademark rights and to deter others who may be considering adopting an identical or confusingly similar mark.
As a side note, just because you see the registered trademark symbol next to a trademark, do not assume that the mark is actually federally registered. It is very possible that the registration may have been cancelled, the mark was never registered to begin with, or the mark is merely the subject of a pending trademark application that has not yet matured into a registration. So, if you ever want to know for sure whether a particular trademark is registered, you will have to conduct a thorough and comprehensive federal trademark search.
You have likely seen the “TM” trademark symbol used in combination with various trademarks. The “TM” trademark symbol is widely utilized by individuals, businesses, and organizations to alert the public of their claim of ownership in a particular mark. Of course, using a “TM” does not necessarily mean that the user of the mark actually owns any common law or federal trademark rights whatsoever. For example, if I was to start selling soda under the name “COCA-COLA™,” I would be a dirty little infringer since I clearly cannot obtain any trademark rights in the famous COCA-COLA name.
Once a trademark is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), the owner of the trademark may use the “®” registered trademark symbol in place of the “TM” in order to provide notice to the world that the trademark is federally registered.
Whether you are preparing to start a new business, or are currently operating a business, you have likely created a distinctive name, logo, and/or tagline to represent your company and your products/services. This unique designation – known as your trademark – differentiates you from your competition and helps establish your reputation in the marketplace.
Your trademarks symbolize and encompass your identity, as well as the qualities and characteristics of your offerings. You are going to use your primary trademarks in all of your marketing and branding efforts, including on your website, social media profiles, printed advertisements, signage, and perhaps even on product packaging. Your ultimate goal is to build positive brand awareness, and your trademarks are the vehicles that allow you to do this.
If you’re going to engage in a commercial enterprise, you will likely spend a great deal of time, money, and resources creating and developing your unique brands (i.e. your trademarks). After all, your unique brands are what allow you to build consumer loyalty and, in turn, grow and prosper.
Your brands are some of the most valuable assets you will ever own because they embody your reputation and symbolize the goodwill your business has with the purchasing public. And because they are so valuable, they need to be protected against competitors who may try to imitate or disparage them. As such, if you haven’t yet sought protection for your brands by filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), then I strongly encourage you to consider doing so.
Before adopting, using, and applying to register your trademark, it is good practice to perform a comprehensive federal trademark search in order to help minimize the risk of being sued for trademark infringement by someone who owns prior rights in an identical or confusingly similar trademark. Furthermore, a federal trademark search will assist you in determining whether the name, slogan, or tagline you want to use is eligible for registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).
Although you can (and should) hire a trademark attorney to conduct your trademark search and provide you with a legal opinion as to whether your mark is available for registration, another option is to perform the search yourself using an online trademark search engine, such as the one offered by Trademarkia.
However, please allow me to demonstrate why using the Trademarkia search engine has tremendous potential to lead you astray and completely waste your time and hard-earned money.