Trademarks: All You Need To Know About A Trademark

What Is A Trademark And What Is Its Purpose?

A trademark signifies the origin of a product. Trademarks help consumers by ensuring that when they purchase a product there is a consistent level of quality for any particular brand. Trademarks also help manufacturers by protecting the goods that they are producing from being copied.


What’s The Difference Between A Trademark And A Copyright Or Patent?

A trademark is a word, symbol or device that identifies the source of product or service (a.k.a. a source of branding). A patent, on the other hand, is given to inventors of things or processes in exchange for public disclosure of the details of their invention. A copyright is the protection of original creative works that prevents the unauthorized copying, distribution, or display of the copyrighted work.


What Else Can Be Trademarked Besides Words And Logos?

Most things that distinctively identify a brand can be trademarked. This includes the unique shape of a Coca-Cola bottle, the roar of the MGM lion, or the chime that identifies NBC shows. Scents, shapes, even colors that serve to identify a product can be trademarked.


How Long Does It Take For A Trademark To Be Registered?

The amount of time it takes for a trademark to be registered varies from application to application based on the legal barriers that arise. Generally, an applicant will get a filing receipt almost instantly after filing. Within 3 months, the applicant typically receives an initial response from the USPTO. The whole process though, can take longer than a year in some cases, but most applications are processed in less than a year.


How Long Does Trademark Registration Last?

In order for the trademark to remain valid, a Declaration of Use must be filed periodically. Assuming that the Declaration of Use is filed in a timely manner, the trademark will have either a 20-year or a 10-year term depending on when it was filed. If the trademark was filed before November 16, 1989, then the trademark will last 20-years. If it was filed after November 16, 1989, then the trademark has a 10-year term that can be renewed for additional 10-year terms. There is no limit to the number of times a trademark can be renewed, as long as use of the mark by its owner continues.


What Class Of Trademark Should I Apply For?

There are 45 different classes that you can choose from when filing for a trademark. These classes can overlap and get confusing real quickly, so it’s always a good idea to talk with USPTO patent agent or an attorney before filing.


What Is A Declaration Of Use And When Must It Be Filed?

In order for a trademark to remain valid, the trademark holder must file a Declaration of Use periodically with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. These usually occur between the 5-year and 6-year anniversaries of the trademark registration, and cost around $100 in filing fees.


If you found this article interesting be sure to check out Copyright FAQ and What To Include In A License.

Last Updated: August 18, 2016

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Revised: Feb. 11, 2016, 7:14 p.m.
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