Trademark Registration in the U.S.
The entrepreneurial culture is growing massively across the globe. As per the statistics provided by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation), over four million registrations for trademarks are made every year globally. With the whopping number of registrations, it is no less than a roller coaster ride to maintain your business’s presence in the market and its protection.
For the protection and establishment of the business, trademark registration comes in as a valuable asset. The registration process of trademarks is the easiest in the U.S., one of the significant reasons being that it provides the most substantial grounds for international registrations.
Trademark Registration: Things to Consider
To set up strong grounds for the business, every entrepreneur must consider the following points while registering the trademark in the United States. These include:
- Register in the U.S.: Through the USPTO (The United States Patent and Trademark Office), the registration process can be completed online in a few quick and easy steps.
- Get proper knowledge of registration: Before expanding your ventures at the international level, understand how the registration follows, the rules to be considered, and their relations to U.S. trademark registration.
- Madrid System: You need not register the trademark separately in each country to expand the business. The perfect solution is the Madrid System, maintained and monitored by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation), Geneva, Switzerland.
- Under this agreement, a single application must be submitted to get the trademark registered in the coalition of countries. A total of 113 countries are a part of the Madrid Agreement, including significant economies, namely China, the European Union, France, and others.
- The application for the MM2 form has to be submitted on the WIPO website. After this, the form’s hard copy must be submitted to the U.S. office.
- Hiring attorney: In the case of countries that are not a part of the Madrid Agreement, an attorney must be hired to get the trademark registration done. These countries include Canada, Saudi Arabia, and others.
- Foreign Translations: While choosing the trademark and slogans, keep in mind its translation into various languages in a way that should not be offending other countries, legally or personally.
- International registrations: Apart from the Madrid system, another way of international registrations is through TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System).
Trademark Filing in the United States
The filing of the trademark application in the U.S. is considered one of the easiest due to the following reasons:
- It makes international trademark registration processes easier.
- The U.S. trademark registration can be done quickly online at the USPTO and even with other systems, including WIPO, the Madrid System and TEAS.
- As per the records, about 85% of the trademark registrations are done online, justifying the above statement.
Basis and Documents Required for Application Filing
The trademark registration application is filed on mainly two bases:
- Use-based: The trademark is used during the application process.
- Intent to use: The trademark will be used once the process is completed.
The documents to be submitted while applying for registration are as follows:
- Applicant’s details
- In the case of a company, the submission of legal entities
- Country for the incorporation of a trademark
- Filing basis (as mentioned above)
- Specimen of the trademark
- In the case of a country where English is not used, the foreign translation has to be submitted
- Fees for registration
After filing the documents and application, the process is completed further. The total duration of the complete process is 9-12, in case the attorney raises no objections. Further, this trademark registration is valid for ten years.
Advantages Of US Trademark Registration
- National Validity
Using a known brand can offer some protection in the U.S., but with limitations. Unregistered brands might face challenges in legal disputes over copyright infringement and are only protected in their local area. If the business expands to regions where a similar mark exists, issues can arise.
However, a trademark registered with the central government is recognised throughout the U.S. Registering with the USPTO ensures protection against infringements in all states. This lets you expand your business without fear of treading on existing marks. As a registered owner, you can also use the ® symbol, which enhances your brand’s credibility.
- Access to International Registration
While a U.S. trademark provides domestic protection, for global coverage, you need to register in other countries. One method is through the Madrid Protocol, which covers over 90 countries. However, the initial step involves registering with the USPTO. Another approach is registering directly in each country’s trademark office, using your U.S. registration as a foundation. This is particularly useful in countries prone to bad faith registrations.
- Federal Judicial System Benefits
Having a trademark allows you to seek federal legal action. In court, your trademark registration serves as proof of your brand’s ownership, its consistent use, and your exclusive right to it. You can request legal orders to stop infringements, and in some cases, claim damages, attorney fees, and other costs.
- Trademarks as Valuable Assets
After registration, a trademark’s value increases. It can be licensed or even partially sold for profit. Not registering can diminish your business’s value, limiting expansion opportunities. As your business prospers, so does the significance of your trademark. Remember to renew your trademark every decade to maintain its efficacy.
- Visibility Through Unique Trademarks
A strong online presence is essential in today’s market. Registered trademarks help distinguish you from competitors, especially when consumers search online. A memorable logo aids recognition. Having rights to your online brand is crucial as your business scales. Some might try to sell domain names at exorbitant prices to brand owners. Registered brand owners have legal protections against such acts, but unregistered brands might be at a disadvantage.
In summary, US Trademark Registration isn’t just a legal formality; it’s a strategic move to safeguard and elevate a brand’s identity in the commercial landscape. By providing legal protection and enhancing brand recognition, it ensures that businesses can thrive without undue competition or fear of infringement.
- How to Renew a USA Trademark?
- Brand Registration Process
- Revocation of a Registered Trademark in India