Every Florida business should protect its trademark. Getting a trademark in Florida is not difficult, but it takes the right attorney. This FAQ answers some basic questions on getting a trademark in Florida. Also see patents in Florida.
The registration process is semi-adversarial. Accordingly, no ethical attorney can guarantee an outcome or a specific pathway. However, attorneys that focus exclusively on intellectual property grant well over 95% of filed applications. Costs for an expert in trademark law typically range from $1,300 to $2,600 depending on how the mark is filed.
Obtain a federal trademark. Virtually all aspects of business invoke the Commerce Clause and thus give you the right to seek national coverage. Only in rare circumstances will a state trademark filing make sense. Moreover, that would be in addition to concurrently seeking a federal registration.
It takes about 12 months for the federal registration process. However, this can be stretched out to about 4-years if the company needs extra time to start using the trademark in commerce.
File before you even start your marketing. An intent-to-use (ITU) trademark filing will receive examination about 3-6 months after filing. Then, you will have some confidence of your ability to use and protect the brand before you spend money on advertising and promotion.
Trademark Registration Advantages
The modern trademark system was constructed in the mid-1940s. Specifically, the Lanham Act sought to “quiet title” to the trademark rights of businesses. Accordingly, the law provided a framework for brand owners to protect and enforce their rights. Surprisingly, the fundamental purpose is not the private property right of the trademark owners. Rather, trademark law serves to protect consumers.
How do Trademarks Protect Consumers?
The primary goal of U.S. trademark law is to avoid consumer confusion. When the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) grants a trademark, it is a restraint of trade. The trademark examining attorney at the USPTO is removing the mark from the public domain. Accordingly, use of the mark in commerce (for the identified products or service) is exclusive to the trademark owner.
The public now associates the trademark with a single source or origin. Trademark attorneys call this “source identifiers.” Therefore, consumers enjoy the expectation of consistency when purchasing a product or service under a protected trademark. By contrast, the antithesis is counterfeiting. This damage of counterfeits include the tarnishment of the goodwill and reputation of the legitimate brand owner. Furthermore, consumers lose faith in the source-identification of an otherwise trusted brand.
How do Trademarks Increase Company Value?
Business owners in Florida want high company valuation. Unlike other forms of intellectual property, a properly secured and maintained trademark can last indefinitely. Moreover, trademarks registrations can form collateral for investment. Additionally, if the Florida company is subject to acquisition, federal registration rights usually enhance its valuation.
Endless Reasons for Securing Trademark Protection
The Lanham Act provides indispensable advantages to Florida brand owners with federal trademark registrations. Moreover, these advantages include national rights, incontestability, enhanced remedies, presumption of validity, constructive notice, federal court access and importation protection. In addition, for those selling online, Amazon, Google and other large tech entities have special programs that defer to brand owners. Finally, domain name and online disputes skew heavily to those with federal trademark rights.