Detroit Trademark Registration
Detroit Trademark Registration
We have been assisting entrepreneurs, established businesses and other lawyers with trademarks since 2008. We are very proud of the fact that our firm’s representation has resulted in the successful registration of more than 7,500 trademarks with the USPTO.
We offer a full range of trademark, copyright and patent services to entrepreneurs, established businesses and other attorneys (on behalf of their clients). We can assist clients in all 50 U.S. states and from countries around the world.
Please note that while Gerben IP is not located in Michigan, it can assist businesses from Michigan in registering a federal trademark because it is a federal matter.
Trademark attorney Josh Gerben founded Gerben IP in 2008. Since that time, Gerben, along with his team of experienced attorneys, have registered thousands of trademarks for clients in all fifty states, including Michigan. Gerben IP works with individuals and businesses of all sizes. Whether you want to sell your products at the Eastern Market or you are looking to grow your engineering firm in Ann Arbor, Gerben IP is ready to assist you.
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The Motor City is in the middle of a revitalization, and businesses are continuing to open in and around the area. As you consider starting your own Detroit business, it’s important to understand just how critical trademark registration is, even for small businesses.
Consider this: Megan is a graphic designer who wants to use her talents to run a side business for extra income. She decides to invest in a screen printing machine and plans to print tee shirts and totes to sell at local boutiques. Megan chooses the business name Weekend Threads and gets to work designing her line of products. She’s heard of trademark registration, but ultimately decides her business is just too small to justify the cost.
After a year of successful sales around Detroit, Megan is shocked to receive a cease-and-desist letter in the mail. A company by the same name is expanding to the Midwest, and because they registered their trademark, they are within their rights to ask Megan to stop using the name. Now she is forced to pull her products from local boutiques and rebrand the business. Not only is this a costly and time consuming consequence, the customer loyalty she’s built over the last year is now in jeopardy.
While both trademarks and copyrights are forms of intellectual property, they protect different things. A trademark is anything that represents your brand, including business or product names, slogans, and logos. A copyright, on the other hand, protects creative works, like music, artwork, and novels.
Your trademark will have some limited protections as soon as you start to use it in the marketplace, but you could face challenges in the future. For instance, you would only be protected in your region, which could restrict you from expanding outside Michigan if a similar mark is being used somewhere else. You’ll also have a harder time asserting your trademark rights in legal proceedings. In order to gain the presumption of nationwide validity, you need to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
The typical trademark registration process takes about 8-10 on average. In some cases, however, it can take a year or more to gain approval from the USPTO. Fortunately, you will have some protections while your application is pending. The date you submit your application will become your priority date, which means anyone looking to file a similar mark after that date will likely be rejected. Consider beginning the registration process as soon as possible to lock in your priority date now.
Working with an experienced trademark attorney will increase your chance of approval. Your comprehensive trademark search will alert you to any potential conflicts, and the legal advice you receive throughout the process will ensure it runs smoothly. In fact, a recent study proves this. The University of North Carolina found that applications submitted with the help of an attorney increased the likelihood of approval up to fifty percent!
An Office Action is a notice issued by the USPTO throughout the registration process. Typically, these Office Actions are sent to request additional information, clarify details of the application, or notify you that your mark has been rejected. If you receive an Office Action, it is critical that you respond appropriately, and by the deadline set by the USPTO.
Filing a trademark registration with ill intent is a fraud, and could lead to your application being cancelled. In addition, if your competitor is using the mark in the marketplace, they likely have some common law rights to it. Contact a trademark attorney to determine whether the mark you plan to register is available for use.
Unfortunately, a trademark registered in the U.S. will only protect you in disputes that arise within the United States. If you need trademark protection in other countries, you should register your trademark in those countries. You can do so either by submitting an application directly to the country’s trademark office, or by using the Madrid Protocol. This international treaty will allow you to file a single application which can then be submitted to over 90 member countries. Each country will then make its own determination about trademark approval.
The USPTO will examine your application and determine whether or not to approve it. They will not, however, monitor your trademark’s use. As a registered trademark owner, that responsibility falls on you. Fortunately, Gerben IP offers services to assist you with trademark monitoring, and we can work with you to take legal action if potential infringement is found.
These symbols are not interchangeable. Use the ™ symbol until your application has been approved by the USPTO. After that, you can begin using the ® symbol. It’s important to note, however, that using ® before your mark has been approved is a violation of federal law and could be grounds for rejection of your trademark.
“I was really excited about trademarking “healthy dollar” and “holla” but did not know where to turn. Someone suggested Josh Gerben, and it was all gravy from then on. Not only was Josh very professional, he was personable and nice as well. He met all deadlines, kept his word on pricing, and my certificates were delivered on time. Josh is great.”
— Kathy Jackson, Healthy Dollar Store – Near Detroit, Michigan