Chapter 7 : The Details Of Trademarking

So far we have talked a great deal about the process of getting your trademark in place from beginning to end.  But, there are some other details that are just as important and very much a part of the process that you also need to take into consideration.

For example, it is essential that you consider the timeline, the cost and the trademark law and how it affects you throughout this process.  Briefly, we’ll describe the various important aspects of trademarking that you need to understand to make the right decisions about this process to secure your needs.

The Timeline

First and foremost, most people want to know just how long the process of securing a trademark will take.  They need to prepare for what lies ahead.  Once you have submitted your trademark application, you will wait any place between a few weeks up to 4 to 5 months to hear anything back.

About that far into the process the trademark application will be reviewed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark attorney.  Although you may have hired one to work with you on your application process, this one is working for the actual USPTO and therefore will not work with you directly.

He or she will issue their decision about the trademark.  If there is any reason for the attorney to deny your trademark, you will be alerted in an official action letter.  In that letter he or she will let you know exactly why your trademark was rejected. 

From that point, you have six months to file a claim against it, or to fight it.  IF you do not do so in that time frame, the application is then considered to be “abandoned” and is no longer valid.

The most common reason that your trademark will be refused is that of a misunderstanding of what the trademark should be and what it is in comparison to other trademarks that are already in place with other companies.  If your trademark is not unique enough to an already registered trademark, it will be denied.

If your trademark is too generic, as we’ve discussed, it too could be rejected because of this.  There are other reasons that it can be rejected as well such as an application that is not complete, an impropriate terminology or some other reasons that is described.

You do have the right and the ability to fight this claim and you can find success in doing so.  You should work with an attorney to make that claim, though, since you will want to insure that the process is successful if it is at all possible to make it successful.

Once your application has passed through the USPTO’s trademark attorney’s hands, the next stop is called publication for opposition.  Here, the trademark that is in question will be published in the “Official Gazette” which depicts all trademarks that are pending.

Anyone that believes that they have a reason to fight you on your trademark will have thirty days from the time of the publishing of that trademark in the publication to object or to file for a longer period of time to object.  This is rare as most will have no reason to do so at this point.

Sometimes there is an objection because the opposed believes that the trademark in question will somehow damage their own trademark, perhaps being too similar.  If this happens, there is a trial like occurrence in which a decision will be made to determine who has the right to use the trademark and its likely effect.

Once you get through this marking, in which there are 30 days for others to disagree with your trademark, you pass into the Registration and Notice of Allowance phase of the process of trademarking.

For those that are already using the trademark at this point in their commerce business, the USPTO will file the registration at that point and issue the registration certificate.  If you have not been using the trademark up until this point, then you will have up to 4 additional months to file a State of Use statement.  Once this is filed and approved, you will be given a registration certificate.

Then, the trademark is yours!

The Cost Of Trademarking

The cost of getting a trademark is one that changes from one applicant to the next for several reasons.  The costs will jump significantly if you hire a trademark attorney to help you in the process.  If you hire a trademarking company to help you through the development of your trademark, then you will pay an additional amount of money to them.

Each company also charges different fees.  There are no two companies out there that are going to provide you with the same exact fee schedule.  The best way for you to actually find the company that offers the most affordable costs is to call on them and compare them.

Yet, there are some fees that you can consider.  First and foremost, the federal government has their own fee to register your trademark.  At the time of this writing, the cost for the trademark filing fee that the federal government charges is about $375 for a single federal trademark application.

If you will be filing a state application for trademarks, then this fee is generally much less than that of the federal fee, yet can still run about $100 (each state has a different fee schedule.)

International trademark fees really range in price depending on the country and the needs that you have.  You’ll want to work with a trademark attorney to determine the fees of trademarking outside of the United States.

In addition to these fees you can expect to pay some additional costs as well.  For example, most will pay someone, usually a trademark attorney or a trademark company to prepare their application for a trademark.  If you do this, you can pay a couple of hundred dollars on up into several thousand depending on the company that you hire.

In addition, there is generally a fee that ranges widely for the trademark search.  This fee can be inexpensive at $100 or it can jump up to $600 to $700 depending on what type of search is used.

There are other fees as well included trademark renewal fees, deadline monitoring fees, declaration of use preparation   and much more.  As we said, each company offers their own costs and you should consider these secondary to finding someone that you trust to provide your trademark process through.

International Trademarking

In addition to having your trademark registered in the United States, you may also want to have it registered internationally.  This process is a good idea if you plan to market or sell your product overseas as it helps to provide distinction there as well.

When you obtain a federal trademark register you do not have international status at that point.  You do, however, have a better chance of obtaining it because you have the federal register.

In order to obtain international trademark register, you will need to be considered the qualified owner of the application for a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. 

Or, you may do so if you already have registration of that trademark already in place.  You will need to select the countries you wish to place your trademark in and they should be part of the Madrid Protocol. 

Through a single application which is called an International Application for Trademark, you can obtain this right.  The organization in which you will be using to obtain it is called the “International Bureau of the World Property Intellectual Organization.”  You can contact them through the USPTO, though.

In order for you to obtain the registration of your trademark in a different country, you will need to abide by that country’s laws regarding it.  Each country has their own set of laws, yet many of them recognize your United States registration as a basis for qualification of your application (although an application process still must go through.)

Registering an international trademark is something that you should consider doing especially if there is any chance that you will promote your product overseas.  Yet, it doesn’t have to happen right away especially if you have not yet been successful with promoting it.

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