A trademark can be the most valuable asset a business owns, worth a lot in goodwill and repeat business to the companies that own them. Because of recent changes in trademark law that makes it easier to file—and because of the Internet—entrepreneurs are smart to take advantage of the rights that are available to them. Learn more about the basics of trademarks, how to choose a mark, how to search for a mark, how to file an application, and more.
The total application processing time may be anywhere from 6 months to a year, or even longer. Most applications are processed completely in slightly less than one year. Overall processing time depends on your basis for filing and any legal issues that arise in the examination process.
In order to obtain a trademark, you must either currently be using your mark in commerce, or have real intent to do so in the future. You do not have to be currently using your mark in commerce (interstate or international) in order to apply for a trademark.
WHAT CAN I TRADEMARK?
Any word, phrase, name, slogan, brand, logo, or symbol, or any combination, used, or intended for use in commerce.
WHAT ARE TRADEMARK CLASSES?
A trademark class is a categorization of goods/services that the trademark is used with. Each trademark must be registered with at least one class of goods or services. See the Complete List of Trademark Classes. The class or classes associated with a trademark is an important distinguishing component of a trademark.
WHAT ARE “COMMON LAW” TRADEMARK RIGHTS?
Federal registration is not required to establish trademark rights. “Common law” rights arise from the actual use of a trademark without federal registration. Generally, whoever first uses a trademark in commerce has the ultimate right to use that trademark in that way. However, there are many benefits of federal trademark registration.
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