It all begins with an idea
Once you have started a new business, there are a number of things to think about. Where do you start? Many times people focus on income generation prior to getting the necessary legal documents in place which are going to protect them in the long run. In my experience as a Trademark and Business Attorney, I have seen a lot of business deals go sour. Not to be a downer, but it is important that you protect yourself and your business from the start. Looking back and wishing you had the necessary documents in place protecting youself and your business simply won’t cut it.
Why I need a Federal Trademark
I see clients daily wondering if it is necessary to have a Federal Trademark to protect their business name and/or Logo. The answer is often times yes. When you are conducting business under your business name and or selling products with your logo on it, you are putting it out there for the world to see. The reality is, if you are conducting business in Arizona and someone in Florida sees your business and wants to start a business in their state, doing the same thing with the same or similar name, they can do this. If you have your business name or logo protected with a Federal Trademark, they will may have to abandon the use of the name and or logo immediately. Having a federal Trademark for your business name or logo is a necessity if you want to grow and brand your business name or logo long term.
Why I should hire an attorney to file my federal trademark
An Attorney is necessary to file your Federal Trademark because it is a 6-18 month process that needs to be managed. Over the course of time it takes the USPTO to get your trademark application over to a Trademark Attorney in their office for approval, there may be necessary updates you need to make. If the USPTO emails you and you don’t respond or make the update in the amount of time they give you to respond, they may terminate your application and you are left with no trademark and none of the money you paid to file your trademark. Having an attorney to follow this process every step of the way ensures your trademark will make it to the USPTO Attorney for approval. It is also an asset to have an attorney on your side for this, because if the USPTO Trademark Attorney rejects your application for any reason, your attorney can file a response on your behalf to possibly get the rejection overturned.
Things to know before meeting with an attorney
There are a few things you will want to know off hand before you meet with Attorney to file your Federal Trademark. Below you will find a list of necessary information to bring with you prior to meeting with an Attorney;
- Knowledge of who the owner of the mark will be (you personally or your business entity).
- Knowledge of what type of entity your business is (LLC, Corporation, etc.), if not an individual.
- Address you would like listed on the Trademark Application.
- Email address you would like listed on the Trademark Application.
- A written description of your business (i.e. what you do, where you will be using the mark (s)).
- If you are currently using your mark on a website, product, business card, sign on your car, etc., bring an example with you to the meeting or email photo(s) to the Attorney prior to your meeting so he or she can use them when filing as a specimen.
Hopefully you can now see why it is an asset to have your business name or logo protected by a Federal Trademark. When your Federal Trademark is approved, this protects your business name and or logo from infringement in all 50 states. You can then go about business knowing you are branding your company long term.