If you wish to protect and enforce your company's rights to the exclusive use of its brand name, you need to register the trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by filing a trademark application. Although there can be minor variations in the application process depending on whether the mark is in use already or not and other factors, all applications generally follow the following model.
The Application: The process of registering a trademark begins with the preparation and filing of the application. The trademark application consists of a drawing of the sought trademark, the area of commerce to which the mark applies, and a specification of the applicant's domicile and citizenship. If the mark is already in use at the time of the application, the application must also include the date of the applicant's first use of the mark and the date of the applicant's first use of the mark in commerce. The application must also be supported by a verified statement by the applicant, specifying that the applicant is believed to be the owner of the mark; that the application is true and correct to the best of the applicant's knowledge; that, to the best of the applicant's knowledge, no other person has the right to use such mark or substantially similar mark or, in the case of concurrent use, that certain exceptions are claimed and met by the applicant; and, that the mark is in use in commerce or that the applicant has a bona fide intention to use the mark in commerce.
Office Action: Once the application has been submitted to the USPTO and the USPTO verifies that all minimum filing requirements are met, an examiner is assigned to the application to determine whether registration of the mark is permitted by Federal law. The examiner reviews the application to ensure that all refusals and requirements are satisfied. If refusals or requirements must still be satisfied, the examining attorney assigned to the application will issue a letter, known as an Office Action, to the applicant stating the refusals and/or requirements that need to be satisfied. The applicant then has six months within which to respond to the Office Action and to satisfy or overcome each of the refusals and requirements listed. If the applicant's response fails to satisfy and/or overcome all of the refusals and requirements, the examiner will issue a Final Office Action, making any outstanding refusals or requirements final. The applicant may respond to a Final Office Action by either overcoming the refusals and complying with the requirements or by appealing to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).
Publication: If, the examiner finds all requirements and refusals to be met and satisfied by either the initial application or by the response to any office action or the TTAB determines an appeal in the applicant's favor, approximately one month thereafter, the mark is published for a thirty day period in the Official Gazette (OG), a weekly publication notifying the public of marks to be registered. The purpose of publication is to allow any party, who believes its interest would be harmed by the registration of the mark, the opportunity to file an opposition to the registration with the TTAB.
Notice of Allowance and Statement of Use: If there is no opposition to the mark or any opposition thereto is resolved in favor of the applicant and the mark was not in use in commerce at the time of the initial application, the USPTO will issue a Notice of Allowance (NOA) to the applicant. An NOA indicates that the mark is not registered as of yet but will be registered after the filing of an acceptable Statement of Use (SOU) within six months of the issuance of the NOA. An SOU is a statement by the applicant specifying how and when the mark has been used by the applicant in commerce. The filing of an SOU initiates another period of examination to ensure that all requirements have been met, during which period the examiner can again issue Office Actions to facilitate the satisfaction of all requirements.
Registration Once all requirements have been satisfied and all potential opposition to the mark dismissed, the USPTO issues the registration of the mark to the applicant. However, the mark is not secured by the registration indefinitely. The registrant of a trademark must periodically file certain declarations regarding the marks continued use in order to keep the mark "live" and to prevent cancellation.
Because of the convoluted and complicated process necessary to register a trademark, you need an attorney who has a clear understanding of the process, the necessary knowledge of the law, and the experience to properly employ these skills to provide you with a strong trademark application. The attorneys of the Wilson Legal Group, with their extensive experience in intellectual property matters, are well-equipped to prepare the trademark application you need and to assist you through the process of protecting your brand.
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Mr. Wilson was extremely responsive and easy to contact. He quickly addressed the questions that I had and assisted me skillfully with my case.."
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