You can protect your business’s name, logo, or tag line by having Shinners & Cook file an application for a Federal Trademark or Services Mark (“Mark”) through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. You can register a name, “doing business as” name, logo, combination of a logo and a name, or a tag line or phrase that you plan to use. Registering a name, logo, or tag line keeps others from using that name, logo, or tag line and keeps consumers from being confused between your name and another company’s name.
Before Shinners & Cook files an application, we first make sure that no one else has registered a name, logo, or tag line that is similar to yours. Once your Mark is registered, no one else can be approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office because their Mark would be too confusing to a consumer if it is similar to your Mark. If someone else uses the Mark that you registered, you can stop them from using it and, in some circumstances, even collect money.
An application submitted to the United State Patent and Trademark Office can be filed before use, if you intend to use it in commerce, or filed after it is used in commerce. If your application is filed after your Mark is used, the timing from when we submit the application for you until the time the Mark is registered takes a minimum of six months; but, the registration process typically takes longer depending on the examining attorney (if they have questions, or find something similar to your Mark when they conduct their own search). If you choose to file an application for Mark before it is used in commerce, your application can be conditionally approved pending additional paperwork you are required to file to show how the Mark is used and when it was first used in commerce.
If you already have a registered Mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, you must be sure to file a Declaration of Use for your Mark between the fifth and sixth years after the registration date. In addition, you must file a Declaration of Use and Application for Renewal of your Mark between the ninth and tenth years after the registration date, and continue to file between the ninth and tenth years as long as you want to keep your Mark registered. These renewal deadlines are on the Certificate of Registration that you should have received (they are sometimes on the back of the Certificate). The United States Patent and Trademark Office will not send you anything to remind you of these deadlines and you could lose the registration of your Mark if you do not file the appropriate paperwork within the time stated.
If you have a name, phrase, or logo that you wish to register as a trademark, but do not have a need for it to be on a national basis, we can file an application for your Mark through the State of Michigan. If you wish to trademark anything that may be contained on a website, such as a logo, tag line, or name, it should be registered through the United States Patent and Trademark Office as opposed to the State of Michigan because it can be accessed anywhere. But if you only plan to use the Mark locally and do not have a website, or do not plan on marketing online, it may be preferable for you to register it with the State of Michigan.
Filing an application for a Trademark or Services Mark can be confusing, so our experienced lawyers at Shinners & Cook are here to help you and can file an application on your behalf.