Are You Familiar with Trademark Law?
You've been using your company name for a while now and, as things get more crowded,
you're beginning to wonder if anyone else uses it, what the law is, and what you should
do, if anything to protect it.
Did you know that FIRST USE of a trademark will grant you common law ownership of that
trademark in the particular market in which you currently offer your goods or services,
but FEDERAL REGISTRATION grants you the exclusive right to a trademark in the relevant
market nationwide. You can go here for more general information on trademarks:
So is it really "yours"? Start with a free trademark search to see if it's already taken:
If not, you can proceed here:
www.uspto.gov/teas/index.html to register your name on the US Patent and Trademark
Office's electronic system.
Once you have your name trademarked, NameProtect will monitor it for you monthly, tell
you about competitors, guard against threats to your brand, and alert you if someone is
trade marking your name. Go here:
Perhaps you're wondering what the BENEFITS of FEDERAL REGISTRATION are? Here are some:
notice of exclusive ownership which prevents others from acquiring common low rights
through innocent adoption and use
presumption in court of your right to exclusive use
Opportunity to make
it unchallengeable by keeping it in use for five years from date of registration
You can go here to learn more:
What are the QUALIFICATIONS for FEDERAL REGISTRATION? It has to be distinctive enough
to identify the business as the only source of goods and services, and ordinary names\
(descriptive, laudatory, geographical, personal and generic) don't usually qualify.
STRONG TRADEMARKS include
Fanciful. Made-up words like "Kodak".
Arbitrary. Real words used in a different way, such as Apple computers.
Suggestive. Real words that suggest, but don't actually describe qualities, like Greyhound bus.