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Intellectual Property Lawyer FAQ: What is trademark protection? 

Posted on September 30th, 2020 by Oddo & Babat, P.C.

In business, a trademark is a valuable asset, and necessary to the business’s success and protection. Large brand names, logos, slogans, and even things like a scent can build a reputation and connection with consumers. This creates trust and brand loyalty. Without trademarking elements of a brand that drives the success of a business, it is possible for another company to copy the things that assisted in building and establishing it. 


While it might seem easy to trademark something you created, the process is actually relatively complicated. The more there is to the logo, slogan, color, etc, the more complex the process might become. If you’re serious about protecting your business, it is important you retain an intellectual property lawyer to help you. 


How to Choose Your Trademark


It is important that you understand not all prospective trademarks will qualify for legal protection. For example, all potential marks must be submitted to the USPTO, and it will be up to them to review your request. If your mark is not distinctive enough, they could refuse to register it. As an intellectual property lawyer, we have heard of people whose trademark was copied because it was “weak”. This led to considerable time and money being spent in trying to protect something that should have been stronger and more thought. In many cases like this, the trademark holder did not have an intellectual property lawyer to help them. Rest assured, if we feel your application will not be accepted by the USPTO, we will be honest with you up front, and help you to understand what alternative options might be available. 


Searching for a Trademark


If the USPTO’s registration and application requirements have been met, it is possible for the same, or similar, trademark to already be registered by another party. To ensure this is not true, an intellectual property lawyer can perform two different searches:


Preliminary Search – This is a relatively quick search using a database of existing trademarks. Our firm can look for clear and obvious issues that could arise with your proposed trademark. 


Comprehensive Search – Once we have done a preliminary search, and nothing reveals a conflict, we may look even further. At your request, we can perform an in-depth search across private and public databases. 


Once the search has been finalized, we can help you to understand what we determined. If your mark is similar to another registered mark, we will let you know.


An Intellectual Property Lawyer Can Make the Process Easier

If you continue to pursue your trademark registration, we will be there each step of the way. We can prepare and file the initial application, monitor updates, and maintain communication with the USPTO. Bear in mind it may take several months before you know what the trademark office has decided. In an ideal situation, your trademark will be met with little resistance and approved as quickly as possible. In the event a hurdle arises, it might give you peace of mind in knowing you already have a trademark lawyer, on your side. 


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