Frequently Asked Questions: Trademarks

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, symbol, design or any indicator that identifies the source of goods or services from one party and distinguishes them from other providers.

What can be trademarked?

Almost anything associated with your brand identity including names, logos, slogans, colors, product packaging designs, user interfaces, product shapes and more. The key is it indicates the unique source of your company's goods or services to customers.

Do I need to register my trademark?

While common law rights arise from using an indicator as a trademark, federal registration on the Principal Register provides important advantages like nationwide protection, exclusive ownership rights, the ability to sue in federal court, and deterrence through the ® registration symbol. Many brands pursue both common law rights and federal trademark registration.

Can my name be trademarked?

Yes, personal, business or product names can serve as trademarks if they uniquely identify a single source of goods or services as opposed to just a category of products. Strong brand names are distinctive and memorable. Our attorneys assess inherent distinctiveness during the clearance search process.

What does a trademark protect?

A trademark provides exclusive rights to use a unique brand identifier associated with your company's products or services in commerce. It protects against a confusingly similar indicator being used in the same industry or channels of trade. Trademarks aim to avoid consumer confusion regarding the source, origin or sponsorship.

How much does a trademark cost?

The average cost for a routine trademark filing and registration process is $1500-$2000 in attorney's fees and official USPTO filing fees. Complex marks or a refusal during prosecution may increase costs. Maintenance also requires filings every 10 years to renew registrations.

How long does the trademark process take?

Expect 6-8 months for an application to be examined and proceed to registration if no issues or refusals surface. The full process from the initial search through the registration certificate typically spans 8-12 months on average. Expedited filing is sometimes available at additional cost.

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