If you’re a Chicago entrepreneur, you know that the competition in the city is tough. But no matter what type of business you own, your most valuable asset is your brand — and the mark that represents it. Failure to take the necessary steps to register your trademark or service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office can leave it vulnerable to misuse, resulting in harm to the reputation of your business. After putting in months or years of hard work to build your business from the bottom up, it is crucial to protect the mark that consumers have come to know and recognize.
At the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, PLLC, our attorneys know how much effort you’ve put into growing your business and we are dedicated to assisting you with safeguarding the mark that makes it stand out. Having successfully registered more than 6,000 trademarks, we work with Chicago business owners in a wide variety of industries for a broad scope of trademark matters. From the initial process of registering a mark to maintaining it and defending it in litigation that may arise, we focus on helping our clients safeguard their businesses and shield their bottom lines.
Registering a trademark to protect it is only one component of trademark law. Once you have registered a trademark, your responsibilities and obligations do not end. It must be renewed at certain intervals, monitored, and defended. Notably, you must assert your rights if you discover another individual or business has been using your mark without your permission. While your primary focus should be on your business, it is vital to have experienced trademark attorneys by your side to handle these types of intellectual property issues.
The Trademark Lawyer Law Firm assists business owners in Chicago and nationwide with a comprehensive range of trademark matters, including the following:
Our attorneys are committed to the success of your business endeavors and will work with you to create customized strategies to help you meet your goals. We develop long-term business relationships with many of our clients and assist them with their trademark matters at every stage of development. Whether you wish to add to your portfolio, license a trademark, or expand your business overseas, the legal team at the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm has the knowledge and insight to assist you with meeting your objectives.
When you own a business, securing your trademark is the single most important thing you can do to protect it from theft by competitors. It is essential to understand that nearly anything representing your brand can be trademarked, including the name of your business or a product, a slogan, symbol, or design. However, the USPTO has very strict criteria that must be satisfied. If your trademark application is not complete or filed correctly, you could face delays in the registration process — or your application could be denied.
With competition in the marketplace as fierce as it is, it is critical to protect your mark as early as possible. While a trademark must be used in commerce prior to being registered, you can still safeguard it once you know that you will be using it. This can be accomplished by filing an Intent to Use application which serves as a temporary placeholder until the mark is in use in the marketplace.
At the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, we have helped countless Chicago trademark owners navigate the USPTO’s trademark filing and registration processes. Our diligent attorneys will skillfully evaluate your mark before filing for registration with the USPTO and assess the likelihood that your mark will be accepted. If we discover any issues with your mark, or identify a similar mark that is already registered, we will assist you with finding a solution.
The Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, PLLC provides Chicago business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups in Chicago with a full range of trademark services at cost-effective rates. Contact us today to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with a trademark search attorney.
It is very common for the USPTO to issue an office action after receiving a trademark application. However, this doesn’t always mean your mark has been denied registration — it simply makes you aware that there are issues with your application that must be addressed. Office actions must be responded to within a certain period of time to avoid delaying the registration process or the ultimate denial of your application.
There are a number of reasons an office action may be issued. For example, you may have provided a description of the goods that is overly broad or too narrow. Otherwise, the mark might be too generic or lack distinctiveness. Office actions are also sent to trademark applicants who have provided digital alterations of the trademark or failed to use it in commerce.
Regardless of the reason you may have received an office action, any issues must be corrected before you can move forward with the registration process. A knowledgeable trademark attorney serving Chicago can work with you to avoid the common pitfalls and draft an office action response that will ensure your mark is successfully registered the first time you submit your application to the USPTO.
Even when you have taken every possible measure to shield your mark, disputes can be inevitable. If you are facing an issue involving trademark infringement, dilution, counterfeiting, unfair competition, or a licensing matter, litigation may be your only recourse. In such cases, it is imperative to have the representation of an attorney who understands the nuances of trademark law and will vigorously advocate for your interests.
If your trademark is threatened, your business and profit margin are also in peril. In the event that another company is wrongfully using the trademark that represents the good will of your brand, shielding it from further misuse is paramount. At the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, we work with our clients to protect and defend their trademark rights in litigation and fight for the best possible results in every case.
Safeguarding the mark that makes your brand unique is necessary for the success of your business. An experienced trademark attorney can work to ensure you have every protective measure in place to shield your mark from those who seek to make a profit off your goodwill, reputation, and the business you spent years building. The Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, PLLC provides Chicago business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups with a full range of trademark services at cost-effective rates. Contact us today to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with a trademark search attorney.
Suspensions are when your application is on hold. There are various reasons a trademark application can be suspended. However “likelihood of confusion” with prior application(s) filed and submission of foreign application are the most common reasons the USPTO may suspend an application. During a trademark suspension period, your lawyer will provide guidance on the next steps and whether it might be best to file an argument or pursue a coexistence agreement.
A disclaimer usually refers to a statement which indicates that you are not claiming exclusive rights to use the word(s) or a design element in your trademark application. A disclaimer allows for registration without creating a false impression of the registrant’s rights.
A good example of this is disclaiming “café” if your services are for a café.
If a trademark is not eligible for the Principal Registry, there is sometimes an option to register on the Supplemental Registry.
In cases where the USPTO finds the trademark application is merely ornamental, merely descriptive, or primarily geographically descriptive, the USPTO may allow the application to be registered on the Supplemental Registry. However, over time, the mark may acquire distinctiveness and possibly become eligible for the Principal Registry.
Two dates must be specified in a trademark application:
Date of First Use Anywhere: The “anywhere” refers to use in the U.S. or elsewhere. This is the date the goods were first sold or transported, or the services were first rendered under the mark. The use must also have been bona fide and in the ordinary course of trade.
Date of First Use in Commerce: This is the date when the goods were first sold or transported, or the services were first rendered under the mark in interstate or international commerce. The use of the mark must have been bona fide and in the ordinary course of trade.
The renewal timeframe for a trademark is between the 9th and 10th year anniversary of the trademark registration, and then in ten-year intervals. It is important to be aware that the USPTO also requires a registrant to provide an affidavit at the 5th and 6th years of ownership stating that the trademark is still being used in commerce. Failure to comply with the renewal timeframes or the affidavit requirements will result in the cancellation of the trademark registration.