Any experienced trademark attorney will agree that protecting your intellectual property is an essential part of any successful business. In order to ensure adequate protection for your brand, it’s important to understand the differences between a registered trademark and common law trademarks, regardless of whether you’re a sole proprietor or a large corporation. This article will provide an overview of the differences between registering a trademark versus establishing a trademark through common law.
A trademark lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in helping businesses protect their intellectual property rights through the use of trademarks. Navigating the various processes involved in trademark law can be daunting without the help of an experienced lawyer, as it is a complicated area of law. A trademark lawyer will help you register your brand with the United States Patent and Trademark Office or state registration office. A trademark attorney alsoprovides guidance on how to protect your trademark from infringement. They also offer advice on how to expand your brand with additional trademarks or copyrights and can negotiate licensing agreements for third-party usage of your mark. Furthermore, an experienced trademark lawyer can provide valuable insight on how to enforce a trademark when another business or individual is using it improperly, and can offer advice on the best course of action when facing potential litigation.
Differences Between Registered Trademarks and Common Law Trademarks
When it comes to protecting your brand, trademarks are an invaluable tool. Not only do they give you the exclusive right to use your mark on products and services in your region, but they also provide legal recognition that can prevent competitors from using a similar mark or logo. You can register trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), through state registration, or establish them through common law. While both approaches offer protection for your intellectual property, there are some key differences that business owners should be aware of when deciding which route is best for their brand.
Registering Your Trademark With The USPTO
Registering a trademark through the USPTO provides several advantages over common law marks. First, recording a mark with the USPTO creates nationwide priority over any similar marks already used by another business or individual. This means that even if someone has been using the same or a similar logo or phrase in a particular state prior to its registration, they will no longer be able to use it once you have registered it federally. Additionally, owning a trademark gives you access to federal courts in case of infringement, as well as statutory damages up to $150,000 for willful infringements.
The main disadvantage of trademark registration is the associated cost. The process typically takes a minimum of six months from filing to approval and requires both an application fee and attorney fees if you choose to hire someone to handle the paperwork for you. The USPTO does not permit trademarks that are descriptive or generic trademarks.
Additionally, you cannot register a product or service prohibited under Federal law. Common law trademarks are appealing because they do not require formal applications or fees. All that is needed to establish ownership rights within that area merely requires proof of when the mark was first used within a certain geographic area.
Establishing a common law trademark generally takes less time than registering one with USPTO, but offers less comprehensive legal protection overall. You will only have authority over unregistered uses of your mark within the geographic region where it was first used. Other states may still recognize similar trademarks used elsewhere, unless you have officially registered your trademark with USPTO first. Furthermore, since common law trademarks don’t come with statutory damages like those associated with USPTO registrations, owners will need to prove actual economic harm resulting from infringement before they can seek compensation from an infringing party in court.
Common Law Trademarks
Unlike registering a trademark with the USPTO, common law trademarks do not require formal applications or fees. You only need proof of first use of your mark within a certain geographic area to establish ownership rights over it within that area. Establishing a common law trademark generally takes less time than registering one with USPTO, but offers less comprehensive legal protection overall. Your authority over unregistered uses of your mark is limited to the geographic region where it was first used. Other states may still recognize similar trademarks used elsewhere, unless you have officially registered your trademark with USPTO first. Furthermore, since common law trademarks don’t come with statutory damages like those associated with USPTO registrations, owners will need to prove actual economic harm resulting from infringement before they can seek compensation from an infringing party in court. A reputable trademark lawyer can help guide you through this process so that you make informed choices regarding your brand protection strategy moving forward.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that when protecting your intellectual property rights, you have a number of options. Whether you choose to register with USPTO or establish common law trademarks through usage and continuous enforcement is up to you but depends largely on what kind of protection and coverage best suits your needs. It’s also essential to invest in legal advice from experienced trademark lawyers who can guide you through these tradeoffs and create an effective strategy for protecting your brand long-term against potential misuse or exploitation by others while avoiding costly disputes down the line. Ultimately, with proper planning and guidance, businesses can ensure their hard work doesn’t go unrecognized due to negligence or lack of awareness regarding intellectual property laws.
Rokita Law-Trusted Trademark Lawyer in California
Filing for a trademark requires attention to detail, accuracy, and knowledge of the legal and regulatory requirements. By avoiding common mistakes and working with an experienced trademark lawyer, applicants can increase the chances of success and protection of their trademarks.
When it comes to running your business, there are plenty of things to consider, and it can be difficult to keep track of all the legalities required to operate efficiently. Enlist the services of an experienced business lawyer to sufficiently address and resolve any legal issues arising in your business.
With Rokita Law, you can breathe a little easier knowing you have a business lawyer on your side who offers solutions to many legal needs with experience, passion, and integrity. Located in Los Angeles, California, we practice in many areas, like civil litigation, business law, real estate law, and intellectual property, to give you well-rounded support with trusted, professional lawyers.
Schedule a consultation today to find out how we can help, and watch your business thrive.
Attorney Advertising Material. The content on this post is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not legal advice. Advertisement by Rokita Law, P.C. 11340 W. Olympic Bl. Suite 266 Los Angeles, CA 90064. Results may vary. This is not a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your case. Posts are for educational purposes only and are based on California law only, except for trademarks and copyrights filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Other Helpful Pages:
- Understanding The Differences Between Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents
- Why Should You Trademark Your Name, Logo, or Slogan With The USPTO?
- The Difference Between Registering Your Trademark With The USPTO vs. Maintaining A Common Law Trademark
- What Is The Process For Filing A Trademark With The USPTO?