Kevin Mark Klughart
PhD, PE, JD, MIP, LLM
Patent Attorney / Engineer
What does it cost to get a trademark?
See the separate discussion on Trademark Costs & Fees.
How long does it take to get a trademark?
See the separate discussion on Trademark Timeline.
I'm starting a company and want to trademark the name... what do I need?
STOP! Before you decide on a name for your company or your product, you should perform a trademark search to determine if the name is available. THE BIGGEST MISTAKE A STARTUP COMPANY CAN MAKE IS DECIDING ON A COMPANY/PRODUCT NAME AND PROCEED WITH CORPORATE ORGANIZATION WITHOUT FIRST RESEARCHING WHETHER THE NAME IS AVAILABLE FOR USE. Before beginning any organizational activity, be sure to contact me or another trademark attorney to investigate the availability of your desired company/product name.
What do I have to do to get a federal trademark?
Registration for a federal trademark requires that you sell a product or service across state lines (in interstate commerce) in order to apply for the mark. Alternatively, you can file for an "Intent to Use" application in which you certify that the mark will be used in interstate commerce within six months, at which time you then file for the official federal trademark registration.
What do I have to do to get a state trademark?
Registration for a state trademark generally requires that you sell a product or service within a state order to apply for the mark. Regulations on the registration of state trademarks vary significantly from state to state and you should contact a trademark attorney to obtain further information on these regulations.
Why should I apply for a state trademark?
State trademarks are invariably less expensive to acquire than federal marks, they often protect your mark in territories which are of most importance to the current business, and they often uncover problems in potential federal registration long before a federal trademark application would do so.
What is the ® symbol used for?
The ® symbol is reserved to indicate marks that are federally registered trademarks. THIS SYMBOL SHOULD NEVER BE USED UNLESS THE MARK HAS A FEDERAL REGISTRATION.
What is the ™ symbol used for?
The ™ symbol indicates that you view the preceding mark as a trademark. While this provides no protection at the state or federal level (as the mark may be unprotectable), it does serve as notice to the public as to your view of the mark. A similar superscript of "sm" is used for service marks.
These marks (as appropriate for a product or service) should be incorporated into your literature and advertising on initial printing until registered state and/or federal marks are obtained for your product/service.
Can I sue for trademark infringement without a trademark?
YES! The Lanham Act permits unfair competition suits in federal district court to be initiated for marks that are not registered but are nonetheless being infringed. However, registration of the mark provides important additional factual information in order to make the case for your infringement suit.
When do trademarks expire?
If properly maintained trademarks have an indefinite lifespan. However, note that trademark registrations (specifically federal marks) must be periodically renewed via the filing of appropriate state and/or federal paperwork. Feel free to contact me or another IP attorney for further information on trademark maintenance planning.
Kevin Mark Klughart
Registered Patent Attorney, USPTO
3825 Leisure Lane, Denton, TX 76210-5589
tel: 800-353-1211 / 940-320-0580 - fax 940-320-0581