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Answers to Your Trademark Questions
What is a Trademark?

What is a Service Mark?

How do I get a Trademark?

What is a Registered Trademark?

What are the advantages of registering my Trademark?

How much does a U.S. Federal Trademark Registration cost?

What is a Trademark Search?

Why should I conduct a Trademark Search?

Are all Trademark Searches the same?

Do I need a Trademark Attorney to conduct my Trademark Search?

How long does it take to get a Trademark Registration?

Can I use my Trademark before it is registered?

Can I file a Trademark Application before I start using my mark?

How do I file a Trademark Application if I am already using a mark?

What is Use in Commerce?

Q: What is a Trademark?

A Trademark is any word, phrase, mark, symbol, design, sound, color or a combination of words, phrases, marks, symbols, designs, sounds, or colors, which are used to identify or distinguish the source of your goods from those of others.

Examples of well-known trademarks include:

  • Fruit of the Loom (phrase)
  • The golden arches of McDonald's (symbol)
  • "Have It Your Way" (phrase)
  • Nike "Swoosh" (symbol/mark)
  • Nike (word mark)
  • The color "pink" as used by Owens/Corning for its home insulation product (color)
  • Ford (word mark)
  • The distinctive shape of glass Coke bottle (design)
  • XBOX (combination)
  • The distinctive sound of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle (sound)

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Q: What is a Service Mark?

A service mark is actually a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.

Examples of service marks include:

  • State Farm for insurance services
  • Charles Schwab for investment services
  • FedEx for delivery services

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Q: How do I get a Trademark?

You obtain trademark rights from actual use of a mark in business or commerce. The date you first begin using a mark for business or commerce is known as your priority date.

These trademark rights based on actual use are known as Common Law Trademark Rights. The actual scope and extent of your common law trademark rights depend on the specifics related to your actual commercial use of that mark. As a general rule, Common Law Trademark Rights are restricted to the geographic area in which the mark is used. Unfortunately, Common Law Trademark Rights are limited, and do not provide the same protections and benefits as a Registered Trademark.

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Q: What is a Registered Trademark?

A Registered Trademark is a mark that has been registered with a governing organization such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Each country has its own registration process.

When done correctly, in the United States the trademark registration process begins with a Trademark Attorney analyzing the mark itself to see if it meets certain legal requirements. This is followed by a trademark search and attorney analysis. Based on the trademark search and attorney findings and analysis, the Trademark Attorney prepares and files a trademark application with the USPTO, accompanied by the required $325.00 filing fee.

The application goes through an extensive examination process by the USPTO. If the USPTO does not refuse the application, or if the application remains unopposed by another party, it is approved and/or matures into a Registered United States Trademark.

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Q: What are the advantages of registering my Trademark?

Registration of your mark can discourage infringement of your trademark and the unauthorized use of your mark. But perhaps the most important benefit of registration when it comes to your trademark rights is something known as Constructive Notice

Trademarks registered in the United States are listed in the records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Even if a party fails to do a proper trademark search to discover your mark, the law presumes they had actual knowledge of your registration. Any organization conducting a proper trademark search should be aware of your existing trademark registration and be alerted not to infringe on your rights. This early alert can save you thousands of dollars in legal fees as you attempt to stop an infringing party after they have already begun using your mark. Other benefits include:

  • Legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the type of goods and/or services listed in the registration;
  • Your ability to initiate legal action concerning the use of the mark in federal court;
  • Use of your U.S Registration as the basis to obtain registration in foreign countries;
  • The ability to file your U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service in order to prevent the importation of foreign goods that infringe upon your mark.
  • Simplifies enforcement and prosecution of Domain Name Disputes and Cybersquatting Proceedings.

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Q: How much does a U.S. Federal Trademark Registration cost?

For a flat/fixed fee of $485 plus the $325.00 required USPTO filing fee, our experienced Trademark Attorneys conduct a trademark search, analysis and pepare and file your trademark application with the USPTO. The USPTO may require additional work that may result in addiitional time and expense.

There are many organizations on the Internet purporting to provide real trademark registration services for free or absurdly low prices. Beware of any group offering to secure your trademark at unrealistic and absurdly discounted prices. If the cost is absurdly low, there is a good reason for it. Hidden costs, add-ons, bait and switch, short cuts, misleading advertising and consumers that are unfamiliar with the trademark process are just a fewreasons behind absurdly low prices. The old addage "you get what you pay for" still very much applies.

Trademark Registration and Trademark Law matters should only be entrusted to a Trademark Attorney. Many so called internet trademark organizations are not actual law firms or attorneys, but instead refer to themselves as a "document filing service," an organization unqualified to provide legal advice on trademark law matters. They claim to charge less because you actually get less. Is that what you want for something as important as protecting your trademark rights? It is critical to know the qualifications and experience of the person handling your trademark matters. and our team of experienced Trademark Attorneys have refined our system to include all necessary trademark research and filing activities for one low full-service price of $485.00, (plus required $325 Government filing fee). For this fee, you receive trademark services from actual Trademark Attorneys. Services include trademark search, attorney analysis, attorney opinion, attorney preparation and filing of your trademark application, as well as application monitoring and follow up by our lawyers.

If an application is refused registration; the USPTO issues an Office Action; or a third party opposes your application, our attorneys’ are there to assist in overcoming these obstacles. In some instances, additional fees may be charged to reimburse us for our additional time and expense in resolving these matters, but any additional fees are discussed and approved by you in advance. You will not receive these services or this level of legal counsel from an online document filing service.

Trademarks are the most valuable assets of any business because they are the official symbol of your company's good name and reputation. Treat your trademarks the same as you would any other valuable asset, and only entrust them to qualified trademark professionals.

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Q: What is a Trademark Search?

A Trademark Search is the term used to explain the process of review and collection of detailed information, obtained from a variety of sources, about a proposed mark prior to the filing of the trademark application. A trademark search requires extensive legal research, investigation and review of any mark selected for potential registration. Not only do our Trademark Attorneys collect information about your mark, they also analyze it.

A trademark search also includes the research and investigation of other marks that are similar in sound, pronunciation, spelling, appearance, meaning, connotation or commercial impression.

Quality trademark searches typically consist of more than a hundred pages of detailed information. Where applicable, a reliable trademark search will access the records of:

  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • United States Library of Congress Copyright Records
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Records
  • State and Local government records and filings
  • Internet and Domain Name Registrars
  • Multiple Internet Websites
  • Telephone directories
  • Business directories
  • Product catalogs
  • Trade journals
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals
  • Newsletters
  • Other publications and databases

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Q: Why should I conduct a Trademark Search?

Obtaining a comprehensive trademark search from the qualified legal team at will save you a lot of time, headaches and potentially thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The most important reason to conduct a trademark search is to ensure that your chosen mark has not already been registered or is being used in business by another party or a competitor. A trademark search will also identify the registration or use of similar trademarks. This can help protect you and avoid liability for infringing upon another party's trademark. There is no sense in investing valuable time and resources in a mark (company name, product name, logo or design) unless you know that you are free to use the mark. Simply stated, a trademark search lets you know what names are available and what names are not. Trademark searches can also be used as a legitimate tool to discover a competitor's business plans, what new names or products a competitor is using, planning to use, or trying to protect.

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Q: Are all Trademark Searches the same?

No. All trademark searches are definitely not the same. In fact, we believe some trademark searches offered by on-line website operators are so grossly deficient that they cannot even be called a trademark search. Unfortunately, some trademark searches available on-line are done by unqualified people or organizations with little or no legal training or trademark law experience.

Unfortunately, no legal standards exist to regulate what can and/or should be called a Trademark Search. For this reason, you should rely only on the qualified counsel of Trademark Attorneys who have earned a reputation among trademark and business professionals for accuracy and reliability.

To secure your most valuable and important business asset, you need to make sure your Trademark Search is done by a qualified Trademark Attorney. There has been a surge in the number of online businesses and start-ups claiming to offer Trademark Searches, application preparation and filings. In many cases, these organizations lack the ability to provide you with accurate information, legal research and analysis, and legal opinions. Very few of these groups are actual Trademark Attorneys or licensed to practice law. They are simply unqualified to provide legal counsel, advice or recommendations on matters of Trademark Law.

The object of a reliable Trademark Search is to obtain access to as much accurate information as possible. When conducting an accurate Trademark Search, there is never too much information. Not enough information can result in costly mistakes for you in the future.

At, our legal trademark research and analysis are releied upon by leading trademark professionals.

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Q: Do I need a Trademark Attorney to conduct my Trademark Search?

Yes you absolutely do, and don't be misled otherwise. A Trademark Attorney gives you many advantages that you should never go without. The internet is full of advertising we believe falsely suggests the trademark registration process is a simple fill in the blanks procedure. This is simply not accurate.

Trademark law is a highly complicated field comprised of federal, state and international laws, treaties, administrative rules, administrative orders, and court decisions. It is important that you have the reliable professional assistance of an experienced Trademark Attorney to help you navigate through the nuances of laws affecting trademark registration and protection.

Many businesses fail to recognize the time consuming and complex nature of obtaining a Federal Trademark Registration. This misconception can lead to a costly unsuccessful registration attempt or potential liability for trademark infringement.

While you are not required to have a skilled professional build you a house, they can generally do a better job in a more cost efficient manner than if you tried it yourself. The same is true of trademarks and reliance on non attorneys and document preparation services.

When trying to protect something as valuable and important as your good name and reputation, we recommend you work with a qualified Trademark Attorney experienced in the field of Trademark Law. If you work with, you are working with actual Trademark Attorney's throughout the entire trademarking process. While Trademark Law can be complex, we simplify the registration process by providing you with accuratel information and realistic expectations.

The legal knowledge, experience and streamlined trademark system we developed at is your affordable, cost efficient and trustworthy option.

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Q: How long does it take to get a Trademark Registration?

From start to finish, Trademark Registration usually takes between 10 and 14 months. This extended time period is due primarily to the large number of Trademark Applications that are filed each month and awaiting processing by a limited number of trademark examiners at the USPTO. On our end, we usually get your trademark work done in only a few days time and even offer 24 hour and same day services. Our years of experience, combined with our streamlined process can help save you time, money, and expedite the trademarking process. During this time period, in most instances we can arrange for you to use your trademark while your application is pending.

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Q: Can I use my Trademark before it is registered?

Before you start using your trademark it is best to first obtain a Trademark Search and have the search reviewed by a Trademark Attorney. If the attorney review and analysis of the search discloses that your use of the mark is not likely to cause a problem, it is possible to make full use of your mark without a registration in place. Be careful about using your mark without first obtaining advice of a Trademark Attorney.

With few exceptions, it is best to obtain a Trademark Search before you begin using your mark. If for some reason you must begin using a mark before researching it first, it may be better to limit your use of the mark. This way, if a Trademark Search later determines the mark is already in use or identifies some other issue, you will hopefully not have too much invested in the mark and will hopefully be able to discontinue its use. For this and other reasons it is always prudent to consult with a Trademark Attorney before moving forward.

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Q: Can I file a Trademark Application before I start using my mark?

Yes. In many countries, including the United States, you can file a Trademark Application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) even if you have not yet started using your mark in commerce. If you are not actually using a mark but want to register and protect it, you can file an Intent To Use Trademark Application with the USPTO. There are some strict legal requirements so it is best to obtain the advice of a Trademark Attorney before proceeding.

The application must be accompanied by the statutory filing fee and a sworn statement in the form of a properly worded declaration stating that the applicant has a bona fide intention to use the mark in commerce. Your priority (use) date will be the date the Intent To Use Application is filed. If the USPTO approves the application, you will have 30 months to begin using the mark and to file a Statement of Use, or your registration rights will become abandoned.


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Q: How do I file a Trademark Application if I am already using a mark?

If you have already started using a mark in commerce and want to register the mark, you can file a Use Based Application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This type of application is based on actual use of the mark in interstate commerce. What constitutes actual “use” for trademark purposes can be complicated and sometimes tricky and so it’s best to consult a Trademark Attorney to be sure your use complies with applicable legal standards.

An application based on actual use must be accompanied by the statutory filing fee and a sworn statement in the form of a properly worded declaration stating that the mark is in use in commerce. The declaration must also list the date of first use of the mark, and the date of first use of the mark in commerce. A specimen showing exactly how the mark is being used in commerce must also accompany the application. A specimen could be a product label, tag, or packaging that displays the mark. In the case of a service mark, a specimen could be an advertisement showing both the mark and the service offered. What the USPTO considers an acceptable specimen of use can be tricky and so it’s best to consult a Trademark Attorney to be sure your specimen complies with applicable legal standards.


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Q: What is Use in Commerce?

For the purpose of obtaining a U.S. Federal Registration, the term commerce means all commerce that the U.S. Congress may lawfully regulate. For example, interstate (State to State) commerce or commerce between the U.S. and another country.
Use in Commerce must be a bona fide use of the mark in the ordinary course of trade, and not use that is simply made to reserve rights in the mark. Generally, acceptable use is:

  • For Goods: The mark must appear on the goods, the container for the goods, or on displays associated with the goods, and the goods must be sold or transported in commerce.
  • For Services: The mark must be used or displayed in the sale or advertising of the services, and the services must be rendered in commerce.

Have a question or need information you don't see listed or can't find the answer? Just call us toll free at 866-491-9800.

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