Trademark Registration

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Enjoy the benefits of trademark registration

Registering your trademark with the USPTO provides numerous advantages, including constructive notice to the public of your claim of ownership, as well as a legal presumption of ownership of the mark and exclusive use to use the mark nationwide or in connection with the good/services in the registration which can become “incontestable;” the right to use the federal registration symbol “®”; and perhaps most importantly, the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court.

The registration process

It’s not uncommon for the trademark process to take 12-16 months. Although the USPTO will immediately review the application to ensure it fulfills the basic filing requirements, it will typically take about three months before it is examined. Once examined, the trademark examiner at the USPTO will either approve the trademark for publication, or if any issues are identified, the trademark examiner will send an “Office Action” letter to the applicant. If an “Office Action” letter is sent, the applicant typically has six months to respond. Assuming the applicant adequately addresses the issue raised by the USPTO, the application will be approved for publication. If the issue is not resolved, the mark will not be registered. Approval of the trademark for publication triggers a thirty-day period during which any person who believes they may be damaged by registration of your mark may file a Notice of Opposition. Assuming no Notice of Opposition is filed, or the opposition is resolved in your favor, then the trademark will be officially registered by the USPTO.

Office Action Letters

If an examining attorney at the USPTO identifies an issue with your application, an “Office Action” letter will be sent to the applicant. This type of action may include the reason why registration is being refused or what requirements must be satisfied. There are two types of Office Actions: non-final and final actions. A non-final Office Action raises an issue for the first time. A final Office Action issues when the applicant’s response to the prior Office Action fails to address or overcome all issues. As the trademark registration process is considered a legal proceeding, Registered Artists cannot respond on your behalf, or provide advise as to how to respond. Although an applicant can respond directly to the USPTO, most applicants will consult with a trademark attorney, unless the Office Action raises only a minor issue that can be easily addressed. If you need assistance from a trademark attorney, Registered Artists can provide you with a referral.

Use of the "®," "TM" and "SM" symbols

Under the common law, the owner of a trademark may utilize “TM” symbol to demonstrate to the public that a trademark for goods is being claimed. The “TM” stands for trademark. “SM,” which stands for service mark, may be utilized for marks used in connection with services, but not the sale of goods. Nevertheless, because the public is more familiar with the “TM” symbol, it is often utilized for common law protection of all trademarks, regardless of whether it is for goods or services. No USPTO approval is needed to utilize the “TM” or “SM” symbols. However, if the trademark is officially registered by the USPTO, the trademark owner obtains the legal right to utilize the “®” symbol, which provides the maximum legal protection.