The beauty and cosmetic industry is a fast-paced, cutthroat business where new products are introduced and brands are created quickly. In 2020 there were more than 103,000 cosmetic and fragrance stores in the United States, not including online cosmetic products. With such stiff competition, beauty industry companies must quickly register cosmetic trademarks to protect their business.
Whether you are creating facial products, beauty aids, ground-breaking new colors of make-up, or simply expanding the line of lip balms you started selling at your local farmers market years ago, your company name, brand, unique packaging colors, and logo are the keys to your growth and success. Since your brand identity is one of your most valuable assets, if you don’t register your cosmetic trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), years of hard work could be threatened by an unscrupulous competitor.
Most people would be surprised to learn that 182 of the most familiar beauty products are owned by only seven parent companies. These large conglomerates wield a lot of power and spend a lot of money through trademark registration to protect their brands and prohibit other companies from using the same or similar logos or marks.
However, trademark registration is not only important for mega-corporations. If your business offers beauty industry products, you should seriously consider trademark registration protection sooner rather than later. The best time to start the process is when you are first creating a brand or logo.
Before your company places any branded products in the marketplace it is important to perform a thorough trademark search to ensure your mark is unique. Unfortunately, many companies have devoted years to designing and marketing the perfect brand logo until they receive a cease-and-desist letter from another company ordering them to stop using the brand and destroy all products bearing the registered trademark logo, brand, design, or Trade Dress.
Beauty product consumers rely on brand names, logos, and taglines to know the products they buy meet certain standards. Without trademark registration protection, multiple companies may seek to use the same or similar designs on different products with differing levels of product quality. Some companies will purposely market an inferior product with a logo that is suspiciously similar to a highly respected brand to cause confusion and draw loyal customers away from the original brand. This confusion can impact your business reputation and damage your bottom line when your customers stop buying your products thinking they are inferior.
When creating a brand, be sure to design several possible marks and research each to learn if they are already in use. This can be a long process especially if you don’t know where to look. The diligent team at The Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, PLLC has extensive experience searching trademark databases and can offer solid advice about the strengths and weaknesses of your proposed mark.
To protect your trademark cosmetics in the American marketplace, it is highly recommended that you register your mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The process will take a few months to a couple of years depending on the uniqueness of your proposed mark, the accuracy of your application, and whether you face any challenges or requests for additional information (known as “office actions”) from the USPTO.
The trademark registration application is complex, and you will be required to supply specific details about your product and how the trademark rules and regulations apply. For example, cosmetic industry product logos and brands usually fall into the Class 003 category for registered trademarks. Using the wrong category on the application is a common mistake made by business owners who attempt to register their mark without legal assistance.
Some applicants will receive a letter from the USPTO’s reviewing attorney requesting more information or a legal analysis of the responses provided in the application. It can take extensive research to respond to these office actions but you only have six months to reply. Our skilled attorneys will research and prepare office action responses for our clients to ensure the trademark registration process goes smoothly.
If your product is sold internationally or has the potential for worldwide distribution, you should consider registering for international trademark protection. Although there is no way to register a complete worldwide trademark, we can explain various strategic steps you can take to protect your beauty industry brand.
The cosmetic industry is one of the biggest targets for counterfeit products. Many companies are concerned about inferior products coming from overseas countries, especially China, to compete with higher-quality American products. China is particularly troubling since the trademark process in that country rewards the first to file regardless of other country trademark registrations or commercial use.
After issuing a cosmetic industry registered trademark, the USPTO does not monitor your mark for violations and will not enforce your rights for you. Keeping track of the marketplace and discovering unauthorized uses of your logo or tagline takes time. Our team of skilled trademark attorneys can watch your trademark registration and flag potential violations. We provide solid advice about your company’s options and together we can take action to protect your Trademark rights.
We do what it takes to protect your business from trademark infringement; from drafting and sending cease-and-desist letters to the infringing company to bringing a trademark lawsuit or taking other legal action on your behalf. Our decades of combined experience conducting cosmetic trademark searches and providing strategic guidance help our beauty industry clients avoid lengthy and costly litigation.
Whether you are just starting out with homemade skin products or have decades of experience in the beauty industry, you need to protect your reputation. If you are promoting and selling products online or across state lines you should register your brand with a federal trademark as soon as possible to avoid future legal issues and possible litigation.
Consulting with an experienced trademark lawyer at the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm can save you future time, money, and stress. If you don’t take the time to research your favorite name or logo and apply for a registered trademark now, you may be forced to stop using your chosen brand and remove your cosmetic products from the marketplace and start over or deal with costly counterfeits in the marketplace.
Your company’s future reputation rests on the reliability of your brand. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, PLLC works with business owners in the beauty and cosmetic industry nationwide to help ensure their brands are safeguarded from wrongdoers. With more than 6,500 trademarks successfully registered with the USPTO, we are dedicated to providing our clients with exceptional legal services at reasonable rates. Contact us for a complimentary initial trademark consultation today.
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.