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And we're back!

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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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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?
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If you answered yes to both, then exploring a State trademark is your next step. Here are some advantages to a State trademark:
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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…