A trademark is any distinctive feature of a product or service that distinguishes that product or service from the offerings of competitors.
Distinctive features include:
- advertising slogans
But also non-traditional trademarks such as:
- overall appearance,
- or even smell.
The law protects trademarks to prevent customer confusion. When a customer sees a distinctive feature in the marketplace they can rely on that feature to distinguish competitors.
Trademarks are also protected to prevent certain unfair business practices, such as decreasing the value of a competitor’s trademark through overuse on unrelated products even where there is no likely confusion.
When trademarks appear on products, the following symbols should be used:
- ™ unregistered trademark
- SM service mark
- ® registered mark
Trademark Services and Registration
Cherskov Flaynik & Gurda, LLC can help you maximize the benefits of trademark law by advising you on proposed trademarks, and seeking registrations, where beneficial.
Registration of a trademark with the U.S. Trademark Office creates several benefits:
- Establishes the validity of the proposed mark and the date of first use.
- Provides protection from potential infringement-nation wide.
- Creates potential for filing of the trademark abroad.
- Can be registered with border enforcement agencies to prevent importation of infringing products.
Corporations and individuals may register trademarks at the U.S. Trademark Office so long as the trademark is used in interstate or foreign commerce (or use will begin shortly) and the mark meets certain qualifications for registration.
In our office, trademark registration occurs in three stages:
- A comprehensive trademark search and opinion to ensure that the mark is not already is use by someone else and is not already registered.
- If the opinion is positive, we will generate the trademark application and gather necessary supporting documents.
- The application is then filed and in six months reviewed by an attorney at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. These attorneys often request clarification or even reject applications in letters called “Office Actions.” As part of our representation, we will prepare and file responses to the Office Actions.
Once registered, trademark registrations remain valid so long as the mark is in used in commerce and renewal paperwork is filed. Presently, renewals are due at the six-year anniversary and on every ten-year anniversary of registration.
Costs and Process
For simple word marks and logos, the costs of obtaining a trademark registration are broken down into the three stages described above:
- Trademark Search and Opinion: $750
- Filing: $500, plus government filing fee
- If needed, responses to Office Actions: up to $1000
An initial retainer of $500 is required to begin work and will be reflected as a credit on the first invoice.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filing fee will be invoiced separately. Currently, the filing fee is $275-$325 per type of product or service listed on the application.
Therefore, plan on spending up to $1500 for the initial filing, with perhaps a few hundred needed for responding to the Trademark Office.
Please contact our office to discuss non-traditional trademarks or multiple trademarks, where the costs may be consolidated.
Commitment to excellence
For a free consultation, please call or e-mail us:
+1 (312) 621-1330