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A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, 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 a product. Our trademark services include:

  • Trademark counseling and branding
  • Trademark clearance searches
  • Trademark registration
  • Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings
  • Trademark enforcement and trademark litigation
  • Trademark licensing

To learn the answers to frequently asked questions about trademarks please read on.

What is a trademark?

A trademark may be a word, symbol, or other indicium, such as arrangement of scent or sound, that indicates to the consumer the origin of the goods or services and the quality associated with the goods or services. A trademark may be protected under state, federal, and common law. A trademark registration can be assigned, transferred, sold, or licensed, and thus can be a very valuable intellectual property asset. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

What marks can I register under federal trademark law?

Generally, marks cannot be confusingly similar to existing registered or earlier-applied-for marks. Marks also cannot be merely descriptive of the goods or services. For example, the mark “juice” may not be protectable under federal trademark law as a trademark for a beverage, because it merely describes the goods being sold. These are just a few of the many criteria for the registrability of a mark. It is best to consult an experienced trademark attorney before attempting to register a mark. Costly and unsuccessful attempts to register an unregistrable mark may thus be avoided. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

What are the advantages of a federal registration over a state registration?

Federal registration provides a broader spectrum of rights than state registration, as it confers the federal trademark owner national rights against confusingly similar marks. State registration is limited to statewide rights against confusingly similar marks. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

What is a common law search?

A trademark need not be federally registered to be protected. An owner may attain an automatic common law right to a mark only by using the mark. A common law search is a way to find usages of a mark, which may indicate potential common law rights as well as potential trademark infringement liability for the applicant. Defending a trademark infringement lawsuit is very expensive. Many lawsuits can easily cost a defendant tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees alone. In view of this, a common law search may be a worthwhile investment. It is best to have a common law search done by a professional who has access to highly specialized databases containing possible common law usages. Roland Tong can perform such a comprehensive search. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

How long does a federal trademark registration last?

Assuming continued use of the mark, a federal trademark registration is good for ten years and may be renewed thereafter. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Roland Tong handles patent, trademark, and other intellectual property needs for clients throughout Southern California. For further information about intellectual property law, please contact us today. To learn more about a variety of topics please see our Blog or Intellectual Property FAQs.

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