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Trademark 101: State Trademark or Federal Trademark?

Now that you know what a trademark is, what a trademark isn’t, and that you should get a trademark, let’s explore if a State trademark or Federal trademark is most appropriate for your needs.
For the USA, trademarks can be obtained either at the State level or the Federal level. So, which do you need? I’ll explain both and that’ll give you a clearer picture as where to go from here.
First and foremost, a State trademark gives you trademark protection for that specific state whereas a Federal trademark gives you trademark protection nationwide. Simple enough, yes? But, which is the right trademark for your needs?
1)Are you actively in business? 2)Are you only doing business in one city or county or just statewide?
If you answered yes to both, then exploring a State trademark is your next step. Here are some advantages to a State trademark:
·The right to expand statewide. The name will be waiting for you in other metros. ·If another mark is infringing upon yours within the state, you’ll have a…
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Trademark 101: Should You Trademark?

Now that we know what a trademark is and is not, let’s dive into the next logical question: should you trademark?
The easiest way to answer this question is to look at your business and your plans for it.
-Is the name, logo, or slogan an integral part of your business? -Are you doing business on a statewide or nationwide or international level? If you’re only doing business citywide or countywide, do you see potential for geographical growth? -Would another business in your industry using the same or similar name hurt your business? In other words, is it possible you’d lose customers if someone had the same or similar name in your industry?
If you answered yes to any of the above then exploring a trademark is the way to go.
Here’s what a US Federal trademark gives you:
·A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration (whereas a state registration only provides rights…

Trademark 101: What Isn’t a Trademark?

Yesterday’s post was all about what a trademark is so today we’re going to talk about what a trademark is not. Knowing both sides of that coin will give you a clear idea if a trademark is right for you or not.
Let’s use yesterday’s examples as a jumping off point:
·PEACE is the name of your new clothing line and your logo is the peace sign. Both of these things appear on the tags that are attached to the clothing items. You have a variety of designs and sayings that appear on the front of your clothing items, e.g. the front of a t-shirt.
·LOVE is the name of your daycare services. Your slogan, Love blooms here, appears on the web site, the brochures for new parents, the signage inside & outside of the facility. There are also multiple heart designs, created by you, used in your advertisements.
·HAPPINESS is the name you use for your invention, a new kind of food processor. You have stacks & stacks of technical documents explaining how your invention works and every page has the n…

Trademark 101: What is a Trademark?

Welcome to the first day of class! Before we get into the nitty gritty of trademarks, let’s go back to the beginning. And the beginning of the beginning is defining what a trademark is and what a trademark is not.
Here’s what the USPTO says: “A trademark is generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods.”
So, that’s clear, right? Mmhm, thought so. Let’s simplify this a bit.
First things first, we’re going to use the word trademark regardless if we’re talking about a business that sells products (i.e. goods) or services. Keep that in mind please.
Simply put, a trademark protects names, logos, or a combination thereof that are used for goods and/or services. Let’s break that down even further using examples:
·PEACE is the name of your new clothing li…

And we're back!

Hello there readers! The blog has been on a bit of a hiatus as we revamped our site (check it out - nice, eh?) and while I specifically re-focused my day-to-day activities. But, I'm back and am here to talk trademark and answer any questions. Have one? Leave a comment or send me an email - shannon at tmexpress dot com Since it's been awhile, I thought it a good idea to go back to Trademark 101 so that's what we're going to do. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be going back to the beginning and outlining the basics of the basics. The trademark world and the USPTO don't change in leaps and bounds but there have been enough significant changes that it's worth going over these essentials. So, thanks for reading & here we go!

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So, you finally settled on the perfect name for your product or service – that's fantastic! Finding just the right name is vitally important to the success of any product line or service.
Or, perhaps, we've already searched & filed a trademark for you. If it's been a couple of years, have you had protective research conducted? Do you have a logo or a slogan or a new product/service name?
Regardless if you're new to the world of trademarks or have already gone 'round once, let's walk through a quick primer. Protecting your brand is a vital part of your overall business plan.
Trademark Step-by-Step Primer
1) Is it required that I register my trademark?
No, not at all. However, registering your trademark, specifically your Federal trademark, does provide you with several advantages:
* Pu…

Beware of Official-y Correspondence

Once you get that trademark filed be aware that your information is of public record, which means, unfortunately, some will mine that resource & some of those folks will send you solicitations. 
These solicitations often look very official, and "may use names that resemble the USPTO name, including, for example, one or more of the terms "United States," “U.S.,” "Trademark," "Patent," "Registration," "Office," or "Agency."  
Some will even have documents that resemble actual government documents rather than what you'd expect a company to send and this is often done by "emphasizing official government data like the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Class(es), filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records."
Most of these are asking you for money. That's your major warning flag.
"All official correspondence will be from the …