Trademark Attorney in Mt. Vernon
Helping Businesses Protect Their Proprietary Creations, Products, and Services
In the course of building your business, you may develop goodwill in a name, phrase, or image that your consumers can rely on and distinguishes your company's services or products from competitors. Part of growing and strengthening your business means taking steps to preserve rights to your intellectual property.
A trademark or service mark is a tool used to distinguish a particular product or service from other similar or competing products. Trademarks will typically take the form of a:
- Original words or combination of words
- Logos, symbols, or icons
- Phrase or slogan
- Other identifying visual designs
Trademarks and service marks help consumers identify your brand by associating these identifying words or visuals with your business. Consumers tend to associate trademarks or service marks with consistent, quality products or services. The rightful owner of a trademark or service mark can prohibit others from using the same or similar mark that is likely to lead to confusion among consumers regarding the source of the products or services.
If you have questions about protecting your intellectual property, including the use of trademarks or service marks, our Mt. Vernon trademark attorney at The Browne Firm can help. We can guide you through the trademark application process, perform clearance searches, and help address and resolve any Office Actions that may arise.
When and How to Use Trademarks and Service Marks
You will typically want to apply for a formal, federal trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to ensure your intellectual property receives full protection. We can help guide you through this process and help avoid common errors in your registration.
Once approved, your business should always incorporate the official ® symbol or the term “Registered Trademark” with the associated words or visuals. The symbol immediately and obviously demonstrates your rights to the trademark and and will put third parties on notice that they must refrain from using it without your express permission. It can also dissuade competitors from attempting to file for similar trademarks.
If you have not yet federally registered with the USPTO or are in the process of doing so, you can still use “TM” for trademarks and “SM” for service marks with the associated element. This essentially “stakes a claim” to associating the words or visuals with your product or service, even if you have not yet been granted a registered trademark. This can serve as a deterrent to other businesses that may be considering a similar trademark or service mark.
Another important thing to consider is that your business should be cautious in pursuing trademarks that represent your product or service as a noun or verb. Doing so runs the risk of your trademark becoming synonymous with a homogenous category of goods or services, diluting its efficacy and even opening up the possibility of losing your trademark entirely. Instead, trademarks should ideally function as an adjective describing your business's product or service. We at The Browne Firm can help provide guidance in avoiding this and other common trademark pitfalls.