There are a lot of online sites that market DIY trademark services for considerably low prices or suggest they can tell you how to get a trademark by yourself. Although it might be tempting to undertake the trademark process on your own for budgetary reasons, there is no substitute for the personalized attention and hands-on legal services offered by a good trademark attorney.
A trademark is a design, slogan, catch-phrase, word, or symbol that distinguishes your brand and makes it unique. It is how consumers identify and recognize your goods in commerce — and know they can rely on the quality of them. A trademark is also often used interchangeably with the phrase "service mark," which is used to identify services, rather than products.
If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you’re going to have to make many critical decisions — starting with how you choose to protect your brand. As you may know, the best way you can shield your slogan, logo, design, or product name from misuse and theft is with a registered trademark. Since your trademark is your most valuable asset, it’s essential to avoid any missteps and mistakes in ensuring its protection.
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.