*Please note that while Gerben Law Firm is not located in North Carolina, it can assist businesses from North Carolina in registering a federal trademark because it is a federal matter.
Gerben Law Firm was established in 2008 by trademark lawyer Josh Gerben. Since that time, the attorneys at Gerben Law Firm have successfully registered over 4,000 federal trademarks on behalf of clients across the country, including the Durham area. Whether you are opening a bookstore near the Duke campus or expanding a tech company in Research Triangle Park, Gerben Law Firm’s team of experienced trademark attorneys is ready to assist you in registering your trademark.
Federal Trademark Registration For Your Business
Top 4 Questions Durham Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
- What is a trademark?
- A trademark is a distinguishing word, phrase, symbol, sound, or design that represents a business. Examples may include brand names, logos, slogans, and even a catch phrase related to a particular product or service.
- How does a federal trademark protect me?
- A federal trademark registration shows that the United States government has viewed your trademark, conducted a thorough search, and agreed to register it. This designation is essential to protecting your mark. It will prevent anyone else from registering a similar mark for their related goods or services. The public distinction also acts as a deterrent to anyone else seeking to use the same or similar trademark.
- Does hiring an attorney increase my chances of getting approved?
- In short, yes. There are many details to consider as you register your trademark. A trademark attorney can provide you with professional legal advice throughout the entire process. In fact, a study by the University of North Carolina found that trademark applications submitted with the assistance of a trademark attorney are 50% more likely to be approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
- How long does it take for my trademark to be registered?
- Once a trademark application has been completed and filed, it is given to a trademark examiner for review. If the application is “clean” (no issues found by the examiner), the process typically takes about 8-10 months to complete, though it some cases it make take a year or longer. However, the date you file your application becomes your priority date, meaning that no one can register a similar trademark for a related good or service after that date, even as the registration process is underway.
Common Misunderstandings about Filing Trademarks for Durham Businesses
- The terms trademark, patent, and copyright are all basically the same thing.
- These terms are not interchangeable and represent different intellectual property. A trademark is a name, slogan, logo, or anything that represents a product or company. Patents are issued to protect unique inventions, and copyrights protect creative works like art or books.
- My trademark application is pending, so I am able to use the “registered trademark” symbol ®.
- It is against federal law to use the ® symbol until your trademark is approved and registered. You can use the ™ symbol while your application is pending.
- Someone else is using the mark I wished to register, so I cannot use it.
- A trademark gives the owner rights in connection to specific goods or services. While others with similar goods or services would be prohibited from using the mark, the owner does not have exclusive rights to a word or slogan in all circumstances. The attorneys at Gerben Law Firm can assist you in determining your rights to a certain mark.
- I can register for a mark to reserve it to use at an unknown point in the future.
- When filing for a trademark, you must either be currently using the mark or have a good faith intention to use it in the near future. This is known as “intent-to-use” or ITU. When filing on an ITU basis, you must show use of your mark by filing additional documents by a certain time in order for your mark to be registered. If you do not have plans to use your mark in commerce in the near future, your application may not be accepted.
- I can’t afford to register my trademark.
- Budget is a concern for many new business owners. In many cases, however, you can’t afford not to register your trademark. Since you’ve invested money into your business and brand, you will want that brand to be protected. Not registering can lead to infringement later on, which could end up costing more in the long run.
The Number of Trademarks Registered by Durham Businesses (by Year)
How many trademarks have Durham, North Carolina businesses registered over the years? Gerben Law Firm collected the following data.
||# of Trademarks Registered
*data was gathered from the USPTO’s public database
Types of Trademark Services We Offer
Additional Information on Trademark Registration for Durham Businesses
Serving as one corner of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Durham has long been a city of entrepreneurs. Many new business owners take the do-it-yourself approach to starting their businesses, an approach they believe will save them time and money. Unfortunately, what they may soon realize is that doing it themselves may cost them more in the long run.
Consider this scenario. John is a technology genius. He used his knowledge to develop a smartphone app called Take A Hike. This app accesses a person’s GPS to generate a list of hikes in the area. Each potential hike is described and reviewed by other hikers. Because he’s done all the work on his own, John is hesitant to pay a trademark attorney to assist him. Instead, he does a quick search for other apps on his smartphone, and finding none with the same name, assumes he is not infringing on another trademark and moves forward.
What John’s quick search failed to reveal was a popular magazine by the same title with circulation throughout the southeast. He’s surprised to receive a cease and desist letter a few months after launching his now successful app. Instead of saving money, as he’d hoped, John must now rebrand his business and potentially pay costly legal fees as well.
At Gerben Law Firm, we can assist you in conducting a proper trademark search and registering for your trademark. Call us for a complimentary trademark consultation and begin the process of protecting your business today!