Trademark protection is the bedrock of your brand. Having a registered mark gives you the security you need before you start sinking money into developing and marketing your brand. Whether you’re an established business or a Seattle startup, a good trademark lawyer can make the difference between your mark being registered or rejected.
Trademark Clearance Search
The first step in getting trademark protection for your brand is to make sure your mark isn’t being used by a competitor. Your attorney will perform a trademark clearance search of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s trademark database, state databases, and common law databases, and then analyze the results for potential conflicts. If the search reveals a conflicting mark, then it’s back to the drawing board. But if the mark appears to be available, then it’s time to submit an application to register your mark with the USPTO.
Assuming your clearance search didn’t reveal conflicting marks, you’re ready to apply for registration. By applying you’re asking the USPTO to recognize your exclusive right to use your mark and/or logo in providing particular goods or services. Your lawyer helps you to identify the categories of goods and services and prepare the application. You’ll pay a filing fee of $275 per category of goods and/or services for which you seek protection.
Office Action Responses
Once your application is submitted, you may receive an Office Action from the USPTO. An Office Action is an official letter identifying possible legal problems with the application. It’s not uncommon to receive these, even if you’ve had help from an attorney, and they shouldn’t be seen as fatal to your application. Instead, they’re an opportunity to educate the USPTO on the reasons why your mark is distinguishable from others and qualifies for registration. Having the help of a good trademark attorney is particularly important when it comes to responding to substantive office actions.