Trademark Law in Houston
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark is a “word, phrase, symbol and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from those of others.”
While an individual or entity could have both a trademark and a copyright in a certain symbol, phrase, or design, trademarks and copyrights are different types of intellectual property that are intended to protect different things.
Trademark Attorney in Houston, TX
One thing to think about when considering registering a trademark is whether the mark, logo, symbol, or phrase is distinguishable among other similar trademarks.
Contact an experienced intellectual property attorney to find out more about how to register your trademark.
Texas Trademark Law Information Center
- Am I Required to Register a Trademark?
- How Do I Register a Trademark?
- Basis for Filing
- Examples of Trademarks
- Additional Resources
There is no law requiring a person or entity to register a trademark. Nor does failure to register mean that that entity cannot use that mark. A person can establish basic rights simply b using the mark in commerce.
When a person or entity uses a trademark that is not registered they typically use the symbol “TM,” although it is not required. Trademarks that are not registered are protected under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1051.
Registering a trademark with the USPTO provides a number of advantages that are not provided under the common law, including:
- Public notice of ownership, eliminating any claim of good faith use by a third party;
- The ability to record the mark with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office to prevent infringed goods from being imported;
- The registration is proof that the mark has an additional meaning;
- Listing in the USPTO’s online database;
- The right to use the federal registration symbol;
- The ability to bring an action in federal court concerning the mark;
- The ability to use U.S. registration to assist with registration in foreign countries; and
- The registration becomes incontestable after five years on the Principal Register, which creates conclusive evidence of a person or entity’s exclusive right of use.
There are a number of requirements that a person or entity must meet before a trademark may be registered. A person seeking to register may file online using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) An application must include the following:
The name and address of the trademark owner. The owner of the mark is considered the person or entity that controls the goods or services.
The application must contain a depiction or “drawing” of the mark. The drawing must represent a clear image of the trademark. The draw may be submitted in “standard character” form and “special form.”
A standard character form is simply a mark that consists of words, letters, or numbers. A special form drawing for trademark registration can be a design or logo, along with the wording, if any. A special form may be in a particular style of lettering or color.
The applicant must identify the specific goods or services for which he or she wants to register the mark. An applicant may file for “use in commerce” or for a “bona fide intent to use the mark.”
In addition, an applicant must have a basis for filing for registration of a U.S. trademark. Specifically, a person cannot register a trademark for the sake of registering a trademark. The applicant must base their application on use in commerce or an intent to use the mark in commerce in the future.
Prior to registration, an applicant must submit proof that the intended goods or services are being used in conjunction with the trademark or will be used in the future in conjunction with the trademark.
To show that a person or entity will be using goods or services in commerce, he or she must submit a specimen. A specimen is a sample of how the product or service will be used in commerce.
Finally, the application must be signed and filed with the office.
Branding a business is essential. Whether a person or entity is selling a product, providing a service, or both, distinguishing one’s self among other similarly situated businesses is invaluable.
Some of the most profitable trademarks include the following:
Trademarks 101: The Benefits of Federal Registration – Visit the American Bar Association’s website for a full analysis of the benefits of registering a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The ABA is one of the world’s largest voluntary professional organizations with over 400k members dedicated to serving the legal profession.
Protecting Your Trademark: Enhancing Your Rights Through Federal Registration — Visit the USPTO Official website for a full 36 page informational booklet on the benefits of registering your trademark and the purposes of each section of the federal registrations process.
Find a Lawyer for Registering a Trademark in Harris County, Texas
If you or someone you know is attempting to register a trademark with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office and is seeking experienced legal assistance contact Sydow Law Firm.
Our experienced attorney Michael D. Sydow as been practicing for more than 3 decades, protecting the rights of individuals who have branded their businesses successfully, who are attempting to license a product, and those who have contributed artistically to our society with works of authorship.
Call Sydow Law Firm at (713) 622-9700 now, if you live in Harris County, Fort Bend, Galveston County, or any area in the Houston metropolitan area.