A trademark (or service mark) is generally a word or logo which identifies the source of goods or services. Trademarks act to distinguish goods from the goods of competitors. Over time, trademarks tend to establish consumer goodwill based on quality. GOOGLE and MERCEDES are examples of trademarks. An Internet domain name, trade dress, sounds, colors, and other designations may also function as a trademark. Our law firm handles trademark matters throughout the United States.
Trademark prosecution and registration is the process of filing a trademark application, prosecuting the application with the Trademark Office until it registers, and then keeping the registration renewed so long as the trademark is in use. A trademark can last forever so long as it is continuously used in commerce in relation to the goods or services as issue. A business can also acquire common law trademark rights by use of a trademark in commerce even though an application has not been filed. While common law trademark rights are better than no rights at all, common law rights are not as significant as having a registered trademark. As such, the best advice is to file a trademark application at the earliest opportunity. We encourage you to call us or request a free consultation online to discuss your matter with an attorney. There is no fee or obligation for an initial telephone consultation.
A trademark infringement occurs when two businesses use confusingly similar trademarks simultaneously. A trademark owner has a duty to police confusingly similar uses. If a trademark is not policed, it can lead to a loss in trademark rights. As such, all trademark owners should regularly police a trademark by searching for similar uses and then requesting that infringers cease use in a cease and desist letter. If you feel someone may be infringing your trademark, contact us for a free no-obligation consultation.
If a party refuses to comply with a cease and desist letter, the damaged party may choose to file a lawsuit in federal court. This involves the filing of a Complaint by the plaintiff, an Answer or motions to dismiss by the defendant, discovery such as document requests and depositions, dispositive motions, and finally trial.