Trademarks are some of your business’ most valuable assets. If you don’t already know, trademarks are symbols, words, phrases, designs, or marks that are used by business owners to give a recognizable and original identity to their businesses. Because the purpose of a trademark is to distinguish a business and bring recognition to its product for customers, it’s essential that every business owner keep their intellectual property protected. This is done by registering your trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It’s important because registered marks are given certain legal protections that help keep products and services safe from others who might try to steal or infringe upon your product with counterfeit goods.
Although the overall process is fairly straightforward, it’s not fail proof and in some cases it isn’t even an option. A common example is if the USPTO determines that your mark is too similar to another one that’s already registered. So, if your application gets denied and trademarking is no longer an available option for your selected marks, what happens then? What can you do? Let’s discuss.
1. Contact your attorney
Hopefully you worked with an attorney when you originally applied for federal trademark protection. Although you don’t need to be an attorney to file, there are a lot of legal concerns raised and issues to address throughout the process. But, even if you didn’t work with an attorney the first time around and the USPTO rejected your application, it’s important that you work with one now to review your options and have them take a look at your marks and application.
2. Review your application
The next step will be to actually review your application and your marks to make sure you covered all of your bases. Did you classify your mark correctly? Did you properly search the database for other marks that are too similar or did you fail to properly distinguish yours? These are all concerns that you might have, and if a mistake happened then, now is your chance to find out what it was.
3. Use it anyway
An important thing to remember is that trademarks are not required. So what does that mean? Well, it means that you can continue using your marks in the same way that you have been up until your trademark application was rejected. However, make sure that you and your attorney have determined that you are not in fact infringing on another person’s validly registered trademark.
4. Change your marks
Even though it might not be ideal, another option is to change your marks or brand identifiers to something that can be trademarked. It’s not the best option, especially if you already have an established customer base that knows you, your slogans, and your symbols; but sometimes it’s better to take that step, which can be more beneficial in the long run.
Contact Trembly Law Firm today.
At Trembly Law Firm we regularly help our clients with all aspects of their business. We understand what it takes to properly protect your intellectual property and want to make sure you’ve done everything right. If you are a business owner in Florida and have questions about protecting your intellectual properly, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.