*Please note that while Gerben Law Firm, PLLC is not located in California, it can assist businesses from California in registering a federal trademark because it is a federal matter.
Gerben Law Firm, PLLC provides professional trademark attorney services. In 2008, Josh Gerben founded Gerben Law firm to provide high-quality trademark search and federal trademark registration services to clients throughout the United States, including Bakersfield. Having assisted clients in obtaining over 5,500 federal trademark registrations, Gerben Law Firm’s attorneys have the experience to represent individuals and companies on a variety of trademark and intellectual property services. Assistance with trademark monitoring, renewals, office actions, opposition proceedings, and litigation are also available.
While Gerben Law Firm is based in Washington, DC, Gerben Law Firm assists clients all across the country, including from Bakersfield. With competitive rates and individualized service, Gerben Law Firm’s attorneys pride themselves on providing cost conscious legal services which deliver quality results.
Federal Trademark Registration For Your Business
Top 4 Questions Bakersfield Businesses Have About Protecting a Trademark
- Do I need a trademark or a copyright?
- A trademark can be any branding that distinguishes your business from competitors. It can be a word, such as your company or product name, a phrase, like your company slogan, or a symbol or design – like a logo. It can also be a store layout, a color, a smell, or even a sound (think of the NBC chime.) Registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows you to protect your business from others in your industry (or related industries) from using the same or confusingly similar business names, slogans, or logos. A copyright on the other hand, protects works of authorship such as a book, poem, or even painting. The owner of a copyright can stop others from making replicas of that creative work. An artist would own a copyright in her paintings, but would own a trademark in, for example, the name of her art gallery. In some rare cases, you may be able to own a trademark that is also subject to copyright protection (like a unique logo) but an experienced attorney can help you decide where to go next.
- Is it necessary to hire a trademark attorney?
- While you can certainly obtain a federal trademark registration on your own, some things are better off left to the professionals. While the cost of hiring a trademark attorney may seem like a hindrance at first, having this professional assistance can actually save you a lot of time and money in the long run. When going through this process on your own, it can be easy to miss important details during the trademark search or make mistakes on the trademark application. A trademark attorney knows exactly what needs to be done, getting things completed quickly and correctly and saving you money in the long run. Even if you obtain a federal registration, there are any number of mistakes that can make a trademark registration void, and you are unlikely to even know about those mistakes until another company brings a legal claim against you.
- When do I need to register a trademark?
- Ideally, it is best to begin the trademark registration process as soon as possible. The absolute last thing you want to do, especially when starting a new venture, is spend all your time and money on a business name that is already taken or has a high risk of being refused by the USPTO. By conducting a trademark search right away and beginning the registration process, you can feel confident in knowing that you are taking all the right steps to protect your business.
- Will one trademark application cover everything?
- If you want to fully protect both your business name and logo, you will need to file two separate trademark applications. However, if you are tight on funds, it typically makes sense to start out by registering your company name. The logo that you start using will not be legally protected, there are common law trademark rights that can offer you some protection for an unregistered logo. However, registering a logo instead of the name (even if it contains the name) will only protect the use of the name as it appear in the logo. Someone else may be able to use the same name within their logo and obtain a registration alongside yours.
Common Misconceptions about Filing Trademarks for Bakersfield Businesses
- I checked for name availability, and registered my name with the California Secretary of State. I don’t need a federal registration to protect my name.
- The state of California will allow new business names to be adopted if they are not “to similar to an existing name on the records.” California does not use the same level of stringent analysis that U.S. trademark law (and the USPTO) uses. A business may be using a similar trademark even though it is not a part of their registered business name. Also, they only search for business names against other registered names in California. Therefore, registering your name with the secretary of state is not enough. By conducting a comprehensive trademark search and registering your trademark you can protect the name of your business, products, and services, on the federal level preventing anyone in the United State from using the same or similar name in your industry.
- I registered the name of my business’s trademark, but I don’t need to register the unique names of each one of my products.
- Registering your business name is a great first step. However, you should also conduct a comprehensive search and risk analysis for each of your products and register their names with the USPTO. Otherwise, you may find that you are infringing on someone else’s trademark and, vice versa, you will have a hard time stopping others from using similar unique product names. You should, at the very least, search and register your most popular lines, especially if they have unique and catchy names others might copy.
- My unregistered business name is unique so I should use the Trademark symbol, ®, to indicate that.
- The symbol ®, indicates that the name is a federally registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You can only use this symbol when your trademark is approved and officially registered. Using the symbol before that time is against federal law. You may, however, use the ™ mark before your trademark completes the registration process.
- No one else can have the same name as me in any other industry.
- Even if you own a federal registration, others can still use a similar (or even identical) trademark for unrelated goods or services. Two uses of the same trademark in different industries can be allowed, as long as it is not likely to cause confusion. For example, DELTA for airlines and DELTA faucets co-exist and have for many years. An experienced trademark attorney can, however, evaluate the use of a potential infringer and recommend a cost-effective way to move forward to protect your trademarks.
- No one else can use a word that I have registered as a federal trademark.
- Having a federal trademark on a word does not give you exclusive rights to the use of the word. This is because the purpose of a trademark is to verify the origin of goods and/or services. If there is no confusion between the products or services being provided, it is possible and completely legal for two brands in two different industries to share the same name – just think about Delta airlines and Delta faucets.
The Number of Trademarks Registered by Bakersfield Businesses (by Year)
How many trademarks have Bakerfield, California businesses registered over the years? Gerben Law Firm collected the following data.
|Year||# of Trademarks Registered|
*data was gathered from the USPTO’s public database
Types of Trademark Services offered to Bakersfield Clients
Additional Information on Trademark Registration for Bakersfield Businesses
Whether you’re an entrepreneur in Southwest Bakersfield, or a seasoned business owner in Central Bakersfield, it is critical that you consult a trademark attorney to register and protect your trademarks. Your company’s valuable brand is not fully protected by simply devolving your business name and logo and launching your website. In order to ensure your trademark is protected you must effectively research, select, register, and prevent others from using your name in your industry. A trademark attorney is an invaluable resource through the trademark registration process. From search to registration to protection, a trademark attorney is there to guide you through how to protect one of your most valuable assets – your company’s trademarks.
Imagine a new vineyard opened in Kern County called “Lapoleta Vineyards.” The new owner, eager to get to wine-making, overlooked talking to an attorney and did not do a search or register its “Lapoleta Vineyards” trademark. This could expose the business to unwanted legal situations.
The first step in securing a trademark is making sure you have trademark rights. In our example, imagine the Lapoleta Vineyards owners spent thousands of dollars on marketing materials, printing labels for their wine bottles, and menus for their tasting room. Meanwhile, another vineyard in Washington state (with distribution throughout the Pacific Northwest) is using the name “Lapoleto Vineyards” and registered the trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The original, more senior company based in Washington would be within their rights to send a cease-and-desist letter to protect their “Lapoleta Vineyards” trademark and could even file a lawsuit against the Kern County-based vineyard. In this situation, the Kern-based vineyard would suddenly be faced with the crushing task of changing their name to avoid a lawsuit. The energy they devoted to branding and marketing would be fruitless. However, by consulting with an attorney and conducting a trademark search, the Kern-based Lapoleta Vineyards would have known the level of risk associated with their mark and would have been able to develop a strategy that was best suited for their company. In the long run, consulting a trademark attorney can save a business tens of thousands of dollars and allow a company to more confidently invest in their brand.
Perhaps the most important reason to register your trademark is that exclusive trademark rights permit you to stop any company in the United States from beginning to sell similar products or services under a similar name. This means that Lapoleta Vineyards can invest in their name and build a brand that represents their company’s goods and services. Customers would know that when they see “Lapoleta Vineyards” they are getting high-quality wines from a Kern County-based business not a cheap, poorly-made wine from someone trying to make a quick buck. By registering its trademark, a company can enforce its trademark against people who attempt to profit from the hard work and consumer impressions of the original company.
Working with a trademark attorney will allow you to search, register, and protect your trademark. Since Bakersfield – and the greater Kern County – are a bastion of commerce, trademark protection and registration are critical for building a strong brand for your business.