*Please note that while Gerben Law Firm is not located in California, it can assist businesses from California in registering a federal trademark because it is a federal matter.
Business in Anaheim, California goes beyond the tourism industry that it’s well known for, as a number of other companies in all manner of industries call the city home. With its prime location as part of a major, thriving metropolitan area, Anaheim is an attractive place for any business owner to set up shop. But whether you are just looking to start out or are on your way to becoming better-known, and whether you’re looking to appeal to the tourist segment or simply choose Anaheim as the best location for you to set up your company headquarters, it’s a good idea to start the process of applying for a federal trademark for your business, if you haven’t done so already.
That trademark application process may cover just the name of your business, or you may need to apply for trademarks for proprietary names of goods and services you offer – it depends what line of commerce you’re in, and what you need to protect. It’s also important to know what’s subject to protection under the United States Patent & Trademark Office. And most significantly, you’ll want to understand the trademark process itself – how to get started, how long it takes, what it entails, and even what you’ll need to do after the process. That’s where we can help – read on to learn more.
Choosing A Name to Trademark
The very first step in filing a trademark application is to choose a name for your business. Under trademark law, some names work better than others. The primary factor to keep in mind is choosing a unique name, one that’s not in use by someone else. Since we’re talking about a federal trademark here – one that will protect you nationwide – it’s important to remember that you need to not only research other Anaheim-based companies to ensure you’re not infringing on an existing mark, but also companies located all over the U.S. One other thing to note – although Gerben Law Firm is not based in Anaheim, CA, it is able to assist companies located there with filing federal trademarks, since a trademark is a matter of federal law.
The danger of infringing on another trademark lies not only in choosing an identical name to one already in use, but also a similar name. If you submit a trademark application to the USPTO and they find that your name (or logo) are too similar to an existing mark, they’ll return your application, costing you time and money. You also need a name that is unique enough to not be considered generic or descriptive of the product or service you’re offering – those trademark applications will also be returned by the USPTO. Your best bet, under the guidelines provided by the USPTO, is to choose a name that is considered “fanciful” – that is, one that you’ve created on your own which didn’t exist before. This also gives you the best claim against any future claims of infringement – no one can claim that they were using a word that you made up prior to your usage of it. In such situations, a registered trademark provides you with the legal proof and claim that your mark belongs to you and you alone.
Conducting Trademark Research
The research stage is the critical component in giving yourself the best chance of not infringing on an existing mark. The USPTO provides a public search tool, but this tool often can’t account for subtleties in similarities between names that can cause a trademark conflict. A trademark attorney will have access to powerful tools that can search and account for alternate spellings, similar-sounding names, and any other potential conflict that might cause your application to be returned or denied.
Completing Your Trademark Application
Your trademark application is where you’ll submit all the important details of your intended mark to the USPTO. You’ll include the typical details – name, location (in this case, Anaheim, CA), contact information, and so on. As to the specifics of your trademark itself, you’ll need to provide samples to the USPTO of how the mark will be used in commerce to identify your product or service. This is typically in the form of a tag or label of some type. You’ll also potentially include any elements beyond the text of the mark itself, such as a logo, any kind of unique stylization, and any other design elements that are used as identifying factors for your products (but which are not decorative design elements). Finally, you’ll classify your product or service according to USPTO guidelines.
What To Do With Your Successful Trademark
After a six-to-eight month period (provided there are no delays or denials on your trademark application), your trademark will be approved and registered (the extensive amount of time allows for your application to make its way through the submission queue, get assigned to a reviewing attorney, and allow that attorney to thoroughly research your desired mark to ensure that existing marks are protected). Your trademark – listed on the USPTO Principal Register, and used on your products in conjunction with the small circled “R,” now serves as notice and claim to the mark, affording you broad legal protection should any other entity attempt to claim it. Although the process can seem time-consuming, it is well worth the effort.