Common Questions About Trademarks Answered


Battles are waged in the market and lawsuits are filed all in the name of trademarks. You have heard about the case filed by Nike against counterfeiters, and you have read in the papers the temerity of other fly-by-night businesses of copying the marks and names of successful companies. So what's with trademarks that stir up a storm of lawsuits and battles? Trademarks can be considered as the face of any business or organization online and in the market, and marks may make or break a business. And this is the main reason why everyone is hot on the heels of the best and well-known trademarks in the market. But what exactly are trademarks and why the noise? For the un-initiated, here are a few questions about marks answered.

Trademark basics

When they say trademarks, then these are all about the word used, the names and the symbols used that will be used to represent any good, and used to distinguish one good from the other. The best trademark is one that is easily remembered in the market; something that consumers can remember even if they only saw the logo or mark. These marks are often registered with a federal agency in order to acquire trademark rights, and with these rights come the protection needed by the business. Once you have these rights, then you can prevent other entities from infringing on your marks and from offering goods similar to your goods. These marks are registered with the USPTO.

Ownership and control can be indefinite

Once these marks are registered with the agency, these marks will remain in the ownership of the company for as long as the company exercises its right over it. Again, this can remain indefinitely with the company if the company will continue to use that mark and will continue to monitor its usage. This is different from copyrights where the rights will elapse after a certain amount of time. In order to rightfully keep the protection offered by regulatory agencies, it is recommended that the company must file affidavits of the Continued Use or the Excusable Non-Use. Plus the owner is also expected to file the Applications for the Renewal. These two major forms are available online and can be submitted the same way.

The many notations associated with trademarks

Marks will also come in a number of notations. Two of these notations include 'TM' which stands for trademark and 'SM' which stands for service mark. These two notations can be used prior to the approval of the trademarks by the USPTO. But once the marks have been approved, you can now use the notation that says 'Registered'.

Registering trademarks means a lot since you can get the protection against misuse and infringement. So it's best that these marks should be monitored. And if the business is not just domestic and the company has other transactions in other countries, its best to file an 'international application' and this can be filed with the International Bureau of World Property Intellectual Organization.

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