As a small business owner, your trademark is your most valuable asset. It’s not just a design or words. It’s what defines your brand and sets you apart from the competition. Your logo, catch-phrase, or symbol is the way that your customers or clients identify your business — and it lets them know they can trust and rely on the products or services you offer. Assuring your work is protected means you need an attorney experienced in trademark for startups and entrepreneurs.
When you’re establishing your business or launching your startup, you have many priorities. However, the first thing you should do as an entrepreneur is safeguard your brand from the beginning. Primarily working with entrepreneurs and innovative companies, the attorneys at The Trademark Lawyer Firm, PLLC have a comprehensive understanding of how essential a trademark is to developing businesses and their bottom lines. We have helped thousands of entrepreneurs create, protect, and defend their designs, product names, business logos, and slogans to propel their startups to success.
No matter what type of business you own, it’s crucial to ensure that the unique identity you worked so hard to create is protected from infringement and unauthorized use by registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Trademark registration is not as simple as submitting paperwork. The process can be complex and filling out the application may be complicated. Having an experienced trademark attorney guide you through the process can help you avoid any pitfalls every step of the way. The Trademark Lawyer Firm works with entrepreneurs who own a wide variety of businesses, including:
From clearing use of the trademark to preparing and filing the required paperwork and renewal, our lawyers take all necessary steps to help ensure your trademark will be successfully registered — the first time you file.
Since your trademark is what will help protect your startup as you build and grow, it must be strategically protected. Offering comprehensive trademark registration services, we help startups and small businesses with every step of the trademark registration process so that your focus can remain on building your business.
Initially, we conduct a USPTO registration search to determine whether a similar trademark is already registered. Our experienced small business trademark lawyers will discuss any concerns or potential problems if a conflicting name, logo, or design is found in the results and advise whether the trademark registration is likely to go through. Following an in-depth consultation, we meticulously prepare the trademark application, paying particular attention to the specificity and nuances necessary for approval.
Due to our diligence and skill when examining search results and drafting highly detailed applications, we have an exceptional track record of successful trademark registrations. A trademark for startups and/or entrepreneurs can make or break the business, and we take that responsibility seriously.
Official registration with the USPTO when it comes to trademark for startups is paramount. Some startups have the misconception that they don’t need to worry about registering a trademark if they use the symbol “TM’ or “SM.” However, small business owners should understand that these symbols have limited legal protection which is not nationwide. The best way your brand can be properly protected is by federally registering your trademark.
Even when your business is in its beginning stages, spending the time and money to ensure your brand isn’t exploited can avoid risks and costly mistakes in the long run.
Additionally, if your business will be selling goods on Amazon, you can further protect your trademark from potential infringement by enrolling with the Amazon Seller Brand Registry. The registry is a service specifically offered by Amazon to help deter infringers and counterfeiters in its marketplace and allows you to maintain control of your brand. Although Amazon Brand Registry USA has its own requirements, your trademark must first be actively registered with the USPTO in order to sign up.
We are dedicated to working with our small business trademark clients at every stage of their development and helping them expand their trademark portfolios as their businesses grow.
Thriving businesses often begin with good business relationships. Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and serving clients nationwide, The Trademark Lawyer Firm PLLC works with startups and small business owners across the country to help them protect their brands and grow. Having successfully registered over 5,500 trademarks, we are committed to providing high-quality and cost-effective legal services for clients with businesses in various industries. Contact us for a complimentary initial 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.