Trademarks and Related Goods and Services
A trademark is logo, word, phrase, symbol, or other design that identifies the source of good or services on the market. In addition to allowing consumers to identify where the things they purchase are coming from, they also allow companies to develop a reputation and goodwill among the public. As a result, businesses have a significant property interest in their trademarks – and trademarks are subject to legal protections that allow their owners to enforce their rights against others.
As a result, if you are starting a business or have an existing business with its own trademark, it is important for you to take steps to protect your rights – including registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Does Your Trademark Create a Likelihood of Confusion?
The most common reason that trademark registration is refused by the USPTO is that the proposed mark would create a likelihood of confusion with a trademark that has already been registered. For a likelihood of confusion to exist, the mark must be confusingly similar in terms of sound, appearance or meaning.
Not only does a mark have to be confusingly similar to an existing mark to create a likelihood of confusion – the business attempting to register the mark must also offer related goods or services such that consumers may mistakenly believe that they came from the same source. For example, if your consultancy business attempts to register a trademark that looks a lot like a shoe company’s existing mark, your registration would likely be accepted. On the other hand, if your company is selling clothing (including footwear) and is similar to an existing shoe company’s mark, it could very well be rejected.
Avoid Issues by Working with an Attorney
Imagine spending the time and money to come up with a name, design a logo, brand your materials – only to have your trademark rejected. Perhaps worse, failing to conduct adequate research could result in a cease and desist letter or even a lawsuit from a company you did not even know existed. Fortunately, by retaining an attorney early in the process, you can ensure that your trademark is non-infringing and complies with all relevant law and regulations. In addition, a lawyer can help you establish a strong trademark that will establish brand identity and make it possible to defend third-party use well into the future.
Call Us Today to Speak with an Experienced Intellectual Property Attorney
If you are considering registering a trademark or have other issues related to intellectual property, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Our firm works with businesses and entrepreneurs at every stage of growth and our lawyers have the experience required to protect and secure your valuable intangible assets. To discuss your options with one of our lawyers, call our office today or send us an email through our online contact form.