THE LAW OFFICES OF BRIAN S. STEINBERGER, P.A.

REGISTERED PATENT ATTORNEYS SINCE 1993

Over 1,000 U.S. patents granted

Over 1,300 U.S. trademarks prosecuted

(321) 633-5080

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Do I Need a Federal Trademark?

Businesses using or intending (reserving) to use a name nationwide on their products or services should get a federal trademark. A United States Trademark (goods) and service mark (services) is any word, name, phrase, symbol, logo, design, and sound, which identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services from another party’s goods/services. A trademark registered by the USPTO is a title/deed recognizing nationwide ownership.

Federal trademarks have a $375 government filing fee ($325 online) per class of goods/services (clothing, paper goods, etc.). Other legal and government fees are assessed during the issuance and maintenance process add extra costs. Renewals are at 5 and 10 year intervals.

Trademarks can be registered by anyone. Trademark owners have the right to prevent another using any word, name, symbol, or device likely to cause confusion with the trademark owner’s mark. Marks being merely descriptive of the goods or services will not be allowed registration. Courts generally recognized federal trademarks to be supreme over state trademarks and over Internet domain names.

A trademark search is always needed. UCF and the Internet offer free trademark searching. However, one cannot rely on free searches because their databases are limited. Professional searches should be done. Anyone claiming ownership of a mark can use “TM” (for a trademark) or “SM” (for a service mark). The symbol ® cannot be used until the mark is registered (approved by the USPTO). The USPTO requires the owner of their attorney to apply.