Trademarks -- www.himtnpatents.com
The following information about trademarks is general information about the trademark system in the US and is not legal advice which is given only to clients of the firm. Links are provided to pages at the US Patent and Trademark Office if additional general information is desired.
A trademark is generally an identifier that signals to a consumer that a good or service originated from a specific source. Trademarks are typically made up of letters, numbers, pictures, symbols, and/or graphics. However, trademarks can also include other source identifiers such as sound, taste, and/or smell.
Common law rights in a trademark generally begin when the mark is adopted and used in connection with the offering of a good or service in the marketplace. Common law trademark rights provide some level of protection for trademark owners however these rights are typically based upon the extent and location of use of the trademark. Federal registration of a trademark provides for additional rights in the trademark throughout the entire US, however it also requires specific criteria for registration. The complete process and requirements for obtaining a federal trademark in the US can be found at: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/process/index.jsp
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues federal trademark registrations to Applicants after examination and publication of applications. During the examination phase a USPTO Examiner will review an application in view of the guidelines outlined in the Trademark Manual of Examination Procedures (TMEP). The Examiner will determine, among other things: if registration and use of the trademark would be likely to create consumer confusion in view of other previously filed US trademark applications/registrations; whether the mark is merely descriptive of the listed goods and services or in the alternative whether the mark is merely suggestive thereof or is arbitrary and fanciful (e.g. the latter being more likely to register on the principle register); and whether the mark has been used in commerce that is regulated by the US government (e.g. interstate commerce, territorial commerce, or commerce between the US and a foreign country).
Use of the mark in interstate commerce is not a requirement for filing a trademark application in the USPTO. The USPTO will allow an application to be filed where the Applicant declares that they have a bona fide intention to use the trademark in commerce. This type of application is called an ntent-to-use application, and must be converted to a use-based application prior to registration by demonstrating to the USPTO that the trademark is in fact being used in commerce.
At Larson and Anderson LLC, we charge flat rate fees for preparing and filing US trademark applications and many of the associated filings as required. However, sometimes during prosecution we may be required to respond to rejections or objections from the USPTO Examiner which would be billed at hourly rates. The US government fees for trademark applications vary in amount and timing, depending on how many classifications are required to describe the goods and/or services and whether the application is a use-based or intent-to-use or application.
We have a large network of intellectual property colleagues throughout the world and thus are able to assist with securing foreign rights in your trademark where desired.