*Please note that while Gerben Law Firm, PLLC is not located in North Carolina, it can assist businesses from North Carolina in registering a federal trademark because it is a federal matter.
In 2008, Josh Gerben founded Gerben Law Firm, PLLC to provide experienced trademark search and registration services to clients throughout the United States, including Greensboro, North Carolina. Our company provides high quality attorney services to businesses of all sizes, including individuals. Whether you make furniture in High Point or serve coffee near UNC Greensboro, Gerben Law Firm has attorneys available to help you protect your business and intellectual property.
Federal Trademark Registration For Your Business
Top 5 Questions Greensboro Businesses Have About Protecting a Trademark
- What does a trademark do?
- A registered trademark protects anything that represents your company. Common trademarks include names, phrases, words, and symbols associated with your business or product, but even colors, sounds, and smells can be trademarked. Obtaining a trademark distinguishes you from your competitors, and can also protect you from a competitor infringing on your unique mark. In addition, the registration process includes a thorough trademark search, which can keep you from unknowingly infringing on a competitor’s mark, which could be a very costly mistake.
- Can I file my trademark without an attorney?
- In an effort to save money, some new business owners decide to file their trademark application on their own. Unfortunately, filing a trademark application without the assistance of a trademark attorney could end up costing these businesses more in the long run. Often, business owners spend more money fixing and re-filing their trademark than they would have spent if they’d worked with an attorney. Having a trademark attorney walk through the process with you from the beginning ensures that your application is filled out correctly and that the process moves forward in a timely manner.
- What is the USPTO?
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, is a division of the Department of Commerce. The USPTO examines applications, then registers trademarks for products and services and grants patents for new inventions. They also maintain the records for trademarks and patents.
- What are international classes?
- The USPTO has 47 different groups of goods and services known as International Classes. While filing your trademark, you may choose to register for one class or several classes, depending on the goods or services you are offering.
- How do I know which classes to apply for?
- Select the class or classes that best represent the goods and services you are offering now or plan to offer in the future. While you want to be thorough in the classes you choose, you do not want to register for too many classes. Doing so could increase your chances of having your application denied because of pre-existing marks by another company. Deciding which classes to apply for can be challenging. An experienced trademark attorney can assist you in this process and ensure you file for the appropriate classes.
Common Misconceptions about Filing Trademarks for Greensboro Businesses
- I can’t afford to register my trademark..
- New business owners have many costs to manage, but in most cases, you can’t afford not to register your trademark. If you’ve invested money into branding your business, you want to be sure that investment is protected. Having a trademark ensures that others cannot infringe on your unique mark.
- My competitor didn’t register its name or logo, so I can trademark it for myself?
- The United States is a “common law” country. This means that if someone else has adopted and is commercially using a trademark they may have certain rights (even if they did not attempt to register the trademark). Working with a trademark attorney will help you to understand your right to a particular mark.
- I registered my trademark with the State of North Carolina’s trademark registry, so I do not need to do anything further.
- Registering with your state won’t hinder your trademark protection, but it will not ensure complete protection. The process to apply for a federal trademark is much more thorough. If another company registers a federal trademark after you’ve registered with the state, a registration with the State of California will not give you the right to use the mark.
- I googled my trademark, so I do not need to do a comprehensive search.
- A google search may only reveal businesses using exact words or phrases. A comprehensive search looks for trademarks similar in sight, sound, meaning, and commercial impression. Existing marks for similar goods or services that match any of those criteria could be problematic for your use of a trademark.
The Number of Trademarks Registered by Greensboro Businesses (by Year)
How many trademarks have Greensboro, 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 Greensboro Businesses
New business owners know that there are many steps to starting a successful business. Choosing the right good or service to offer is the logical first step, followed by a host of other decisions, including finding a location, creating a logo and signage, and purchasing inventory. While all of these are important aspects of beginning a business, none will protect your unique business from competitors. To do this, you must register a trademark with the USPTO, and the best way to do this is with an experienced trademark attorney.
Consider the scenario of Parkside Renovations. The company opens shop in Greensboro with the plan to become the leading home renovation specialists in the many older neighborhoods throughout the city. The businesses owners do a quick search of competitors, and find that no other company is using Parkside in their names. They then secure a location, put up a sign, and customize their work vans. At the same time, another Greensboro resident is beginning the process of opening his new business, Parkside Remodeling. Unlike the owners of Parkside Renovations, he works with a trademark attorney to register his name and logo.
Because the business names and services are similar, the owner of Parkside Remodeling would be within his rights to ask the other business to change its name. Unfortunately for the first business owners, they have very little legal action in protecting their brand. This mistake will cost them time, trouble, and most importantly money. It is essential to begin the process of filing for a trademark before branding, name, and logo decisions are made. At Gerben Law Firm, our experienced attorneys can assist you in conducting a comprehensive trademark search and securing the federal rights to your trademark so that you can feel confident moving forward with your business.
Trademark protection is an ongoing process, but successful business owners know the value of their brands and the important of developing strong, protectable trademarks. The attorneys at Gerben Law Firm have the experience to provide individualized trademark advice to a variety of clients, big and small.