By: Feras Mousilli
We are involved in all aspects of domestic and foreign trademark prosecution and enforcement. Our attorneys provide counsel on various matters including infringing domain names, meta-tags and spam, and worldwide prosecution of Web-based trademarks. We have experience in the preparation of trademark clearance opinions, domain name disputes under the UDRP, and we have argued a variety of proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
A trademark is essentially a brand name. It’s a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that distinguishes the source of goods of one party from another. A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used (or intended to be used) in commerce to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from the services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.
It depends on a myriad of factors, but a lot of businesses will trademark and incorporate simultaneously. It’s advisable to trademark at least your name and logo in order to prevent others from ripping off your company and be provided a legal recourse if this ever happens.
Although common law trademark rights exist, it takes a lot more time and effort to prove your rights. Also, common law rights only extend to the geographic area your business is in, rather than being protected throughout the entire country if you register it with the USPTO.
Applications are routinely rejected based on the “likelihood of confusion” standard. According to the USPTO, “likelihood of confusion exists between trademarks when the marks are so similar and the goods and/or services for which they are used are so related that consumers would mistakenly believe they come from the same source. Each application is decided on its own facts, and no strict mechanical test exists for determining likelihood of confusion.” As you can see, there is no bright line rule to follow. That’s why utilizing an attorney experienced with the USPTO makes sense.
The total time for an application to be processed may be anywhere from almost a year to several years, depending on the basis for filing, and the legal issues which can take place during the examination of the application.