Welcome to the Ultimate Trademark Guide! Our goal is to build a robust reference of trademark-related information to be used by individuals, businesses, and lawyers alike.
Brush up on the basics of trademark. This section includes some trademark terminology, trademark history, and a brief overview of trademark laws.
Here are some topics covered further in Trademark Basics:
What is a Trademark?
The word trademark has come to mean different things in different contexts. Trademark may mean a mark or it could also mean a bundle of legal rights one has in a mark. It might also be referring to any and all sub-topics, issues, laws, and research on marks and legal rights.
Trademark usually refers to a word or words, phrase, design, logo, or slogan that serves as a source identifier of goods or services.
What is an example of a trademark? There are many well known trademarks such as a certain athletic shoe swoosh or golden letter fast food restaurant symbol, or even the apple on the back of those computers. It can be difficult to replicate these trademarks here because of the nature of trademarks and trademark infringement but this guide uses several great examples.
Do trademarks expire? Generally speaking no, as long as one uses a trademark on goods and/or services there will be some kind of trademark rights involved. That being said if the trademark is registered there are periodic filings necessary to keep the registration alive.
What is a service mark? Service mark is often used interchangeably with trademark however technically a service mark is a mark that is used with services, but trademark can cover both goods and services.
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What are Common Law Trademark Rights?
Common law trademark rights are (generally limited) rights to the use a mark with goods and/or services based on current use not registration. Common law trademark rights do not have to be registered or applied-for common law trademark rights arise when one uses a mark on goods and/or services.
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What is the WIPO?
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations created to promote and protect intellectual property internationally. Among the various tools and resources the WIPO makes available is a searchable database of international trademarks. The Global Brand Database is an invaluable resource for international trademark research.
What is the Difference Between Copyright and Trademark?
Trademark usually refers to a word or words, phrase, design, logo, or slogan that serves as a source identifier of goods or services. Copyright usually refers to the tangible embodiment of a creative work.
A trademark (especially a trademark with a design) might have both trademark rights and copyright rights. The trademark rights would protect the use of the mark on the goods and/or services and the copyright rights would protect the design as a creative work.
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What is the Difference Between the ® and ™?
The ® symbol is used with registered trademarks whereas the ™ symbol is used with unregistered trademarks. It’s very important to only use the registered trademark symbol on trademarks registered with the USPTO, the use of a registered trademark symbol on an unregistered mark might bring negative legal consequences.
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Trademark search A to Z. This section provides a step-by-step guide to use when conducting a trademark search of the USPTO. This section also covers trademark word search and trademark design search.
Here are some topics covered further in the Trademark Search Step-By-Step Guide:
What is Trademark Research?
Trademark research is the process of searching various sources for potentially conflicting trademark uses. There are several search tool, such as the USPTO’s TESS system (which we cover step-by step in this section), the WIPO’s Global Brand Database for international use, or searching for common law (or unregistered uses) using your favorite search engine.
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What is Common Law Trademark Search?
Common law trademark search is the process of uncovering unregistered uses of a trademark. This can be tricky because there is no one place to do this search, instead common law trademark searches can be done on ordinary search engines, app stores, social media, and any other way one might uncover the unregistered use of a trademark.
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What is WIPO Trademark Search?
WIPO trademark search uses the Global Brand Database to search for international trademark applications and registrations.
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Basic USPTO TESS Trademark Name Search
As the name implies the basic USPTO TESS trademark name search is the simplest search option when using USPTO’s TESS trademark database search tool. We go through the basic USPTO TESS trademark name search tool step-by-step in this guide.
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Advanced USPTO TESS Trademark Name Search
Advanced USPTO TESS Trademark Name Search refers to the advanced search tools available when using USPTO’s TESS trademark database search tool. We go through the advanced USPTO TESS trademark name search techniques step-by-step in this guide.
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USPTO Trademark Design Search
USPTO trademark design searching can be daunting but check out our step-by-step guide to trademark design research.
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Get to know the USPTO Trademark Electronic Application System with a step-by-step guide to filling out an initial trademark application.
Here are some topics covered further in Trademark Application:
How to Apply for a Trademark?
A common misconception is that a trademark must be registered to be used. Actually, some level of trademark rights begin upon the use of a mark with goods and/or services, however, registering, and further federally registering, a trademark grants the broadest rights to a mark.
When it comes to an application for a trademark, there is a lot to consider. This section gives a step-by-step guide to the USPTO trademark application and provides instructions about how to file a trademark application.
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How much Does it Cost to Trademark a Name?
Trademark cost is generally $225 per class to register a trademark with the USPTO. This is the government fee to apply, there will also likely be some amount of legal fees on top of the application fees because trademark applications can get tricky and receiving advice from a trademark lawyer is very useful.
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What is Trademark Classification?
USPTO Trademark classification is based on the Nice Classification which specifies trademark classification codes for different categories of goods or services.
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This section provides an overview of how the USPTO examining attorney examines a trademark application. It covers common topics, such as office actions.
Here are some topics covered further in Trademark Examination:
What is a Trademark Office Action?
A trademark office action is a formal correspondence from the USPTO examining attorney noting technical or substantive issues with the application which must be overcome in order for the application to proceed. Office actions are sent to the applicant and/or the attorney of record and are posted as public record. A USPTO office action might contain issues that require detailed legal analysis or arguments to be made, so a well drafted trademark office action response often requires a trademark lawyer. Trademark office actions must be responded to within six months so it’s important to act quickly when one is received.
This section provides a step-by-step breakdown of an office action and discusses different kinds of trademark office actions.