How Does California Trademark Registration Work?
You have probably heard of trademarks before, but what you almost certainly haven’t learned about is the process by which you can get something trademarked. The trademark submission process is a federally regulated, highly specialized endeavor that requires lots of detailed information to show how your product, company, good, or service is unique enough to warrant a trademark. The application goes through the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO for short.
Filing a Trademark Application with The USPTO
Upon filing a trademark application with the USPTO, you will have to wait through a three to four month period for them to begin the initial assessment and consideration of your application. During this time, there is not much else you can do and, therefore, you ought to ensure that your application is presented as clearly and as succinctly as possible so as to avoid any further delays in the process. At that point, an examining attorney reviews your application and compares it to other, pre-existing trademarks to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest. After this initial overview, the attorney will forward your trademark for publication.
Trademark Must Undergo 30-day Comment Period
Publication does not actually mean that you are out of the woods just yet. Rather, it refers to a 30-day comment period which every aspiring trademark must undergo. Within that 30-day time frame, anyone from the public can voice their opposition to your trademark request. What that means is that even if the U.S. government has no issue with your trademark application, any person can theoretically state that your trademark may bring damages to their own brand and with that statement they could make their opposition to your trademark.
However, once the 30-day window is over, the application gets sent back to the examining attorney for the final review stage. Once the application reaches this state, and provided that you correctly filed the paperwork indicating that your trademark is in use (meaning that your products and services were still being sold at the time the application got filed) then the examining attorney will issue your trademark registration and a certification will get sent out to you through the mail.
Trademark Registration Process
The entirety of this registration process for your trademark will take anywhere from 6-8 months time. It is a slow and steady process that involves a lot of down time while you wait for the next stages of the application to undergo final review but once it is all over, you will have successfully trademarked your product, brand, or service through the federal government. So, why would you want to go through that grueling process in the first place?
Why Acquiring a Federal Trademark Registration is Crucial to Your Business?
There are several major reasons why someone would want to obtain a federal trademark. Some of those important reasons include:
- Public Notice of Your Trademark Registration
- Having a federal trademark registration alerts everyone else to the fact that your brand exists and is recognized and protected by the United States government. Once your trademark is registered, it shows up in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s online database as well. The database is publicly accessible and it lets users conduct searches to locate any potentially similar trademarks to their own. Also, once your mark becomes registered, you may begin to use the registered trademark symbol, ®, next to your mark. That way, anyone who sees yours mark will know that it is protected with a federal registration. Moreover, no one can simply say that “they have never heard of your brand” as an excuse because U.S. trademark law assumes new companies check the USPTO trademark database in order to avoid confusion and legal issues.
- Public Notice of Your Trademark Registration
- Nationwide Coverage of Your Trademark Registration
- It is possible for a mark to obtain trademark rights by filing for a state-level trademark registration, or simply by using your mark in association with your goods and services by means of common law, both of those protections have strict geographic limitations. State trademarks only protect your mark if used within that state. Also, opting not to register your mark at all greatly limits the geographic scope of the protection to which you’re entitled. Should you ever decide to expand your business to a larger area, even if it’s through online commerce, you will run into issues with similar marks potentially going for the same national demographic as your business. For example, say someone opens a shop in another state and begins to sell products and services similar to your own, if you own shops in Southern California, and if you do not have a federally recognized trademark, you will be forced to co-exist with the new shop and you might even be restricted from expanding into that territory of the market. Situations like these are nightmares to deal with as a small business owner and it gets worse the larger you get.
- Assumption of Ownership and Validity of Your Trademark
- Federal trademark applications go through in-depth review by government attorneys, called trademark examining attorneys, before any kind of formal registration or recognition is given out by the USPTO. Those attorneys review prior trademarks and examine yours to figure out whether the registration should get issued. Only after that review, and after the 30-day period of third-party objections, and a period of final consideration does a federal trademark registration get issued. As such, a federal trademark registration is a powerful certification which enables the holder of such a trademark a presumption of national validity over users of non-registered trademarks. What this means is that with a federal registration, you are presumed under the law to own a protectable trademark. While that does not grant complete immunity from everything, it does place a huge burden on an infringer to prove otherwise and thus it grants your brand a large margin of authority to preside over.
We Can Get Your Brand Trademarked!
At KAASS LAW, we believe in the spirit of individuality and in the power of originality. Your brand, your ideas, and your products deserve the protection and exclusivity that only a trademark registration can offer them, because it was your hard work and intellect that enabled you to create those ideas and services. Our team of experienced intellectual property and trademark lawyers will ensure the process is as quick and efficient as possible. We invite you to give us a toll free call at (310) 943-1171 to speak to our team today. Let us help you in this critical moment of your enterprise’s expansion.
KAASS LAW is authorized to practice law in California. The above content is intended for California residents only. This content provides only general information which may or may not reflect current legal developments. KAASS LAW expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any of the contents of this website. The above content DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship. KAASS LAW does not represent you unless you have expressly retained KAASS LAW in person at the KAASS LAW office.
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