Trademark Law

What is a Trademark?

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office defines a “trademark” as:

“a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”

The Importance of Trademark

A trademark serves two interrelated functions — to designate origin of a product and prevent consumer confusion.

These two functions benefit the consumer by identifying the source of goods and the holder of the mark by protecting brand loyalty and goodwill.

A federal trademark is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  To be eligible for registration, a mark must satisfy several requirements:  It must be used in commerce or the registrant must intend to use it in commerce within a proscribed time period; it must be affixed to, or associated with, a product; and it must be used in interstate commerce.  Furthermore, the mark must be distinctive – it must indicate the source of the mark and do more than merely describe the goods it denotes.

Benefits of Trademark Registration

Even without registering a mark, it is possible to establish a common law trademark through prior use.  However, the owner of a registered mark enjoys certain advantages, including constructive notice to the public of the registrant’s ownership of the mark, the ability to bring action in federal court against others using the mark, the right to use the mark exclusively nationwide on or in connection with the goods and services listed in the registration; and, where appropriate, enhanced damages for willful infringement, including treble damages.

Trademark Registration through Kruse Landa Maycock & Ricks

KLMR provides a wide range of trademark-related services, from conducting initial trademark availability searches to registering trade names, logos and word marks.  We have successfully registered federal and state trademarks in industries ranging from food services to financial advisers, board games to medical services.  We seek to involve the client in all phases of the research and application process, from identifying a suitable mark, to thorough preregistration research and risk analysis, to drafting and filing a complete and accurate application and interfacing with the USPTO Trademark Examiner assigned to your mark.  After a mark is registered, we specialize in helping our clients protect their valuable intellectual property by preventing infringement and satisfying ongoing legal obligations to maintain their registration with the USPTO.

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