A trademark is an image, phrase or design associated with a company or its product. It can be a logo, slogan or other design that distinguishes them from other businesses. Trademarks fall under intellectual property law, which protects people and companies from misappropriation of their creative works. Our trademark lawyer in Raleigh NC at Eldreth Law Firm can help you better understand this, below.
Facts | Trademark Lawyer in Raleigh NC
Companies use trademarks to distinguish themselves from competitors. They want consumers to see their name and associate it with the service or goods they offer as well as the standards of customer service they provide. A company wouldn’t want another business with a similar brand to confuse people into thinking it’s the same company or a related company.
If another company came along with a similar service or product and a logo that looked like yours, you would probably worry that your customers would go to them accidentally. If that other company does not have the same standards or quality of customer service that you have, they may tarnish your image to anyone who does not realize the difference. Hiring a trademark lawyer in Raleigh NC can help.
A trademark is different from a copyright and a patent. A copyright protects written works such as literature, music and art. It protects the creator against someone else copying their work. A patent protects an inventor by preventing others from making the product he or she created.
You can trademark your company simply by placing the letters “TM” in your design or logo. If you want to go a step further to protect your company and brand, you can register with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This will provide extra protection and help enforce your legal rights if an issue arises. Once it is registered, you would use the registered trademark symbol, the letter “R” with a circle around it.
If you want to register your trademark, you can submit an application to the USPTO online. There are fees associated with registering for a trademark. They are not refundable even if your request for trademark is not completed, so it is important that you follow the procedure properly and submit the correct information.
Before submitting an application, you should check the trademark database to make sure there is not a company who is already using the design or logo you have selected. The database is available for the public to search. Registering a trademark can be confusing, so the help of a trademark lawyer in Raleigh NC who knows about intellectual law can help guide you through the process.
Once you have a trademark that has been registered officially, it is good for 10 years with a 10-year renewal. During the fifth and sixth year of the first 10 year period, the company must file an affidavit to keep the registration active. If it is not done, the registration is cancelled.
The benefit of registering your trademark through the USPTO is that it shows you are the legal owner of the design or logo and it is associated solely with your company. If someone tries to copy your trademark, you will have more legal pull in cases against imitators. If you sell in other countries, you are able to register in other countries. In addition, if you register with U.S. Customs Service you can prevent imports of similar foreign products.
If you are interested in registering your trademark, contact Eldreth Law Firm for help. Our trademark lawyer in Raleigh NC can help with intellectual law, including trademarks, copyrights and patents.