Skip to main content
"What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork."


True words, Pearl Bailey, but when it comes to trademarks, paperwork is the fuel that keeps the trademark machine running.

I'll devote a few posts to the different types of filings the
USPTO requires. That being said, let's start at the beginning.

Trademark/Servicemark Application, Principal Register:

"Use this form to file an initial application for either a TRADEMARK for "goods" AND/OR a SERVICEMARK for "providing services" -- this form is appropriate for both."

As the USPTO does, we'll use the term trademark to denote both types of marks. When applying for registration for your trademark, this is the application you'll start with.

Provided within quotes is straight from the USPTO & my explanations are underneath. Within this application, there are two routes you can go:

1) Use in Commerce


"For the purpose of obtaining federal registration, 'commerce' means all commerce that the U.S. Congress may lawfully regulate; for example, interstate 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 simply made to reserve rights in the mark."


Basically, this means that if you're claiming the mark is in use in commerce, you're telling the USPTO that the mark is actually being used either across state lines or between the US & another country.


This is a point of confusion for many folks we talk to so let's break this down a bit. Getting your DBA, incorporation, LLC, etc. or obtaining a domain name DOES NOT qualify as use in commerce. Making a sale in at least 2 states DOES qualify as use in commerce.


"Generally, acceptable use is as follows:


For goods: the mark must appear on the goods, the container for the goods, or 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. If you have already started using the mark in commerce, you may file based on that use."

This was discussed in detail in my post about specimens - read further here.

2) Intent to Use


"Applicants who have not yet used (in commerce that can be regulated by Congress) the mark they wish to register may file a trademark application under this filing basis."


This one's easy to understand -- if you haven't used the mark at all OR if you've only made sales within one state, you'll file as an Intent to Use.


One important note: the USPTO will NOT register the mark until the applicant "begin(s) actual use of the mark in commerce and file an Allegation of Use."

More details to come...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trademark International Class: Class 35 (Advertising and Business Services)
All goods or services are categorized within International Classes (IC hereafter). Goods run from classes IC 1-34, while Services are in IC 35-45. Please see a complete chart here. Let's take a closer look at one of these trademark classes – class 35.

What is International Class 35 All About?

Each class has a short title heading that gives a snapshot of what that class is all about -- IC 35's short title is advertising and business services. Pretty vague, eh? The USPTO has 1476 accepted descriptions that fit into IC 35; check them out here.

The first part of IC 35’s description, advertising, is straightforward. If it’s advertising, marketing or promoting services that are being offered, then IC 35 is where it goes. Now there are going to be some exceptions, as with anything related to trademarks.
Tangible advertising goods, such as signs, flyers, brochures, are NOT going to be in IC 35 as those items are n…

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…
Filing a Trademark: Standard Characters vs Stylized/Logo

When filing a trademark, the USPTO gives you two options: Standard Characters or Specialized Form (Stylized and/or Design). Let's look at each one in detail and that should help you decide the best way to file for your mark.

As with any discussion about filing for a trademark, it is always assumed that you've done your due diligence and had comprehensive research conducted. That being said…

Standard Characters

This option is selected to register "word(s), letter(s), number(s), or any combination thereof, with no design element and when you are not claiming any particular font, style, size, or color, and absent any stylization or design element." In essence the USPTO is talking about plain text.

To qualify for this claim, the mark entered must fit within the standard character set. This includes letters and numbers but also some symbols, such as the ampersand (&), the dollar sign ($), the asterisk (*), etc.

To se…