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Policing your trademark is an important task for maintaining the strength of your trademark rights. There are passive and active approaches:

  • Waiting until instances of confusion arise between your brand and that of a third party.
  • Periodically searching the Internet and industry for potentially infringing brands.

If your trademark has real value, you’ll want to proactively monitor the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office trademark application filings to determine if anyone is seeking rights to a confusingly similar brand. It is difficult for even the most experienced trademark attorneys to do this manually because one must look not just for “identical” trademarks, but those with:

  • phonetic similarity;
  • orthographic similarity and misspellings;
  • prefix, infix and suffix variations;
  • vowel and consonant similarity;
  • plurals and stemming;
  • abbreviations and acronyms; and
  • other similarities

Well-informed brand owners and intellectual property practitioners set up sophisticated trademark watch services for an annual fee. Every 1-2 weeks, the monitor queries trademark databases in the U.S., Europe and in other countries for newly filed applications that could infringe the trademark owner’s rights.

Flowchart of a trademark watch monitoring service
Smith & Hopen Trademark Watch Service
Category: Trademark
Trademark application timeline

Currently, it takes around 9 months to receive a federal trademark registration. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, however, provides up-to-date quarterly statistic on the duration of trademark applications.

Category: Trademark

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For a litigation-grade trademark registration we often start with a knockout search. If the mark is a reasonable candidate for registration, budget approximately $955-$1,600. The process takes about a year and once granted, budget around $100 per year to keep a federal trademark in-force with renewals. No attorney can ethically guarantee a trademark will grant. The examination process at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) is adversarial and even when approved by the trademark examining attorney, every mark must be published for opposition for one month wherein private parties can oppose the registration of a trademark.

Category: Trademark

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While it is possible to trademark a last name/surname, you cannot secure a federal registration on the principle register for a trademark that is primarily merely a surname. You can secure a trademark registration for a surname that has acquired distinctiveness or a surname that is not primarily merely a surname. In addition, you can register a trademark that is primarily merely a surname on the supplemental register.

Contact us today to determine if your trademark is primarily merely a surname and if you can secure a federal trademark registration. Alternatively, you may prefer to trademark your first name.

Category: Trademark

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A trademark office action is a formal communication from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The office action identifies the legal status of your trademark application. The office action will also identify any issues with your application and designate the period in which you must reply to office action to prevent your application from going abandoned.

You may require assistance from an experienced trademark attorney to overcome the issues identified in the office action. In the last 20 years, Smith & Hopen has helped trademark owners overcome every possible reason for refusal. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Category: Trademark

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The difference between a service mark and a trademark is a matter of semantics. A service mark is a trademark. However, the term “service mark” is used to refer to trademarks for services. The term “trademark” is often used in a broader sense to describe marks used in connection with goods and/or services.

Regardless of whether you are offering goods or services in connection with your trademark, the experienced attorneys of Smith & Hopen can advise you on all things trademark. Contact us for additional information or a free consultation.

Category: Trademark

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A trademark is any distinctive words, designs, logos, and slogans used to identify the origin of a good or service. In some cases, even a particular color, sound, and scent can be trademarked if a certain degree of consumer recognition has been achieved. A trademark is sometimes referred to as a “brand name.”

A trademark can be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure nationwide trademark rights. These nationwide trademark rights prevent others from offering for sale similar goods or services under a similar trademark. Trademark rights, however, will not prevent others from offering for sale similar good or services under a clearly dissimilar trademark. You should consult an experienced trademark attorney to determine if your trademark is available for registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Category: Trademark

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Woman thinking about trademarking her first name

You can trademark your first name. The main purpose of a trademark is to identify a source of goods and/or services. Should you choose, you can use your first name to identify the source of your goods or services.

However, your trademark application could still be denied if it is confusingly similar to a preexisting trademark application or registration. You should consult with a trademark attorney to determine whether your name is available for trademark registration.

If you need assistance, please contact us today to speak with one of our experienced trademark attorneys.

Category: Trademark

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Eye with colors reflecting
Sharp and detail macro of multicolored eye.

Yes, you can trademark a color, but it is challenging and you must prove it has acquired secondary meaning. It cannot be “functional” with respect to the product (e.g., bright orange traffic cones). Some examples include brown for UPS trucks, pink fiberglass for Owens Corning insulation and orange scissor handles.

A UPS delivery truck in Fort Collins. United Parcel Service was founded in Seattle in 1907 and delivers over 15 million packages a day.
Category: Trademark

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