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Quick Tips: Trademarks

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” worked well for Shakespeare, but the concept may apply when it comes to your business name, branding, DBA names, mottos, slogans and taglines. You want your ‘rose’ to only be called ‘rose’ to avoid a confused consumers believing that the rose of another is more sweet.

Coming up with ideas for your business name, a brand name, a doing-business-as or tradename, mottos etc. can require a lot of thought, feedback and trial and error. Registering that name as a trademark or servicemark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office can also require significant time, effort and money. The more unique the name, the more likely it is to be accepted for registration. The more generic it is, the less likely. And, of course, the more it resembles another business’ name in the same or similar business, the less likely your application for trademark registration will be accepted.

Here are some tips you can follow BEFORE you even think of filing an application for trademark or servicemark registration:

1. Research! The USPTO often rejects applications for registration because the mark is too similar to a trademark that another company has already registered or applied for. To prevent this, do some quick searches and check that your name or design isn’t already being used. Search engines are great for this but also independently check social media sites, directory sites and website registrations. The more online or digital real estate you own identifying the name / mark the more likely your application will be accepted.

2. Be Unique! There are so many companies out there that it can be hard to think of an original name or logo. However, it not only will make your business more intriguing and more identifiable, but will give you a better chance of having your trademark application approved for registration.

3. Talk to an Attorney! Filing for an application for trademark registration or servicemark registration can be confusing. There are tens of thousands of classifications to choose from and selecting the one or more classes that encompass your goods or services but do not infringe on another’s goods or services for a similar mark is a difficult process. In addition, the USPTO has lawyers called Examining Attorneys who often reject applications for registration with an “Office Action”. An Office Action is a legal memorandum that presents an argument for why the application for registration was refused or denied. Your response to the Office Action is also akin to a legal memorandum and should cite to case law, rebut the Examining Attorney’s argument and provide examples for why registration should be allowed. Additionally, there are processes and procedures that knowledgeable attorneys can employ to increase the chance that your mark is approved for registration.

The business lawyers at The Jacobs Law LLC assist small businesses with federal and state applications for trademark registration and servicemark registration. We also offer a competitive, mostly flat fee, fee structure. If you require assistance with completing and filing an application for trademark registration or servicemark registration please call us at 800-652-4783 or email us at ContactUs@TheJacobsLaw.com


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