A US trademark refers to a brand or logo used in a commercial capacity in the US; this does not necessarily mean that the mark is registered however. Owners of marks are not legally obliged to register their mark with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), but it is highly advisable to do so. Owners should seek professional assistance from a trademark attorney or consultancy firm to ensure the registration process is performed successfully and efficiently.
Registering a US Trademark
Although there is not legal requirement to register a trademark, it is important to ascertain whether the mark meets industry standards and complies with the necessary trademark laws in place.
Qualities of a US trademark
It is essential that the following requirements be satisfied before a mark is submitted to the USPTO for registration.
- Capable of graphic representation
- Must not be similar or the same as marks already in use
- Must not cause confusion or offence to the public
- Cannot be descriptive in nature
- Cannot mislead the public
- Must be ‘available’ for registration to be sought
One of the most efficient ways to determine whether your mark can be used commercially is to conduct a trademark search.
US trademark search
The USPTO online trademarks database is known as ‘TESS’ (Trademark Electronic Search System).This database is accessible to owners of marks, interested parties, attorneys and any other professional, for the purpose of determining whether a mark is available to use. By conducting a search on the TESS, you can quickly identify the level of uniqueness your mark carries. Essentially owners can find out if their mark is too similar or the same as a mark already registered by USPTO.
It is recommended that owners of marks enlist the services of a trademark attorney or consultancy firm to perform the search as the TESS search results can be difficult to interpret.
Registering your US mark
Once a search is conducted, the next stage in the process is to submit your application for trademark registration, and appropriate fee, to the USPTO. Provided the mark does not infringe the rights of any other registered mark owner, and the mark is deemed ‘available’ by USPTO, then the owner of the mark will likely attain legal ownership over the mark.
Why seek registration?
The reasons to register a US trademark far outweigh the reasons not to. Some of the most prominent benefits of registering a mark are listed below.
- Exclusive rights of ownership and usage over the mark
- Public notice that you are the owner over the mark
- Deter third parties from using the mark without permission
- Right to use the ® symbol
- Right to bring a court action where rights have been infringed
There are many aspects to consider when seeking US trademark registration. However, the process of registering a mark can be made significantly easier, and quicker, through enlisting the professional guidance of a consultancy firm. In addition, professionals with experience in Intellectual Property (IP) can provide reliable guidance on how to use the mark in line with the jurisdictions regulatory restrictions.
Starting Business consultants are equipped to provide the most up to date and reliable advice on registering US trademarks.
View United States Trademark service page to learn how we can help.