Below is a list of commonly asked trademark and copyright questions and their answers:
No. In order to obtain any type of common law trademark protection (federal protection requires filing for a trademark), you must actually use the mark in with your goods or services.
Yes. Federal registration is not required to establish rights in a trademark. Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark and may allow a common law user to successfully challenge an alleged infringing mark.
Once you have a mark selected you should do investigation to see if the mark you have chosen will potentially infringe on another’s mark. If you do not believe there will be a “likelihood of confusion” (the standard to determine if a mark is infringing on another mark, see Number 7, below), then you can proceed with a federal application through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
This can be done if you file what is called an “Intent to Use Application.” After an Intent to Use Application is filed, the applicant must submit a statement of use within six months of that date showing using of the mark in commerce (you can also request an extension).
No. However, certain countries recognize a United States registration as a basis for filing an application to register a mark in those countries under international treaties.
You can use the ® symbol can only be used after the mark is federally registered and NOT during the application process. Further, it can only be used in connection with the goods or services you identified in your federal registration and only while the registration is still “alive” (registrations can expire).
Yes. The standard for trademark infringement is “likelihood of confusion,” not whether the marks are identical. To determine if a likelihood of confusion exists, a court weighs the following factors:
Yes. An assignment can be recorded for a fee. Note: there are some restrictions with Intent to Use Applications.