When Should You Apply for a Trademark for your Products or Services?

July 9, 2013By 0 Comments
Share Button

Answer:  The sooner the better.

A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of such, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party
from those of another.  Service marks are the same as trademarks, except they identify and distinguish the source of a service rather than a product.

Although common law rights exist upon use of a trademark (mark)  in connection with the specific goods or services.  These rights only extend to the geographical location where the mark has been used.  Additionally, common law rights do not offer the benefits of federal registration with the USPTO, including national priority, statutory damages,  recovery of lost profits, attorneys fees, treble damages for willful infringement, and the right to use the ® to give notice of rights in a mark.

When investing in a startup, or developing a new product line, it is good practice to first perform a search of the proposed mark to verify it does not infringe on another’s rights.  Performing this search is a small investment compared to the money that will be spent upon discovery that the mark infringes someone else’s rights AFTER significant investments in product labeling, advertising, domain name selection, and website design.

In the event that the products are not ready to go to market,  a section 1(b) “intent-to-use” trademark application can be filed to secure a priority date.  If the goods/services are currently being sold in commerce, you can file a section 1(a) actual use trademark application directly with the USPTO, or use a trademark attorney (always recommended.)  The federal filing fee’s begin at $275, and increase according to how the application is filed, and whether it is an actual or intent to use application.

Filed in: Trademarks

About the Author ()

The author of the blog posts on IPGAL is a registered patent attorney. She has several years of experience in the chemical and electrical engineering fields. For additional information, or to contact the IPGAL, please email her at THEIPGAL@gmail.com

Leave a Reply