While registering a trademark is not a requirement, it is still a worthwhile endeavor. Federal registration provides many advantages, including notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark, legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration. If a trademark will not be used in interstate commerce, it can still be registered with a state government.
It is not necessary to hire an attorney for trademark registration but it is recommended by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). USPTO attorneys can help an applicant through the process but are not allowed to give legal advice. An attorney working for a trademark applicant can conduct a thorough search for existing trademarks which could prevent registration, including those which are not federally registered. An attorney will also determine the proper goods and services description to file the trademark under. The trademark examiner may issue a refusal for the trademark so an attorney will be very helpful in crafting responses. Finally, the same attorney can be retained to enforce the trademark rights after acceptance.
Every trademark application has a mandatory fee which must be paid upon filing. Each application is not guaranteed to be accepted and the filing fee is non-refundable. Even after a successful application a trademark is only valid for as long as it is in use. A potential trademark applicant should not apply if they do not intend to utilize the mark. Additionally, anyone can oppose a trademark registration if they feel it would infringe on their own trademark.
As you can see, filing for a trademark registration has the potential to become a very complex process. It is important to retain a trademark attorney before starting this process, to best protect your rights. If you are considering filing a trademark application (both federally or at the state-level), you can contact Stone Law at 732-444-6303 or leave us a message on our website.