*Please note that while Gerben Law Firm is not located in Missouri, it can assist businesses from Missouri in registering a federal trademark because it is a federal matter.
In 2008, trademark attorney Josh Gerben founded Gerben Law Firm to provide professional trademark registration services to individuals and businesses for a reasonable flat rate. Since that time, Gerben and his team have registered thousands of trademarks for clients in all fifty states, including Missouri. We’re here to assist you, whether you are opening a boutique in River Market or expanding your remodeling firm in Lake Winnebago.
Federal Trademark Registration for Your Business
Top 5 Questions Kansas City, Missouri Businesses Have About Obtaining and Protecting a Trademark
- How is a trademark different than a patent or copyright?
- All three are forms of intellectual property, but each protects something different. A trademark protects anything that represents your brand. Common trademarks include logos, slogans, and business or product names. Patents, on the other hand, protect new and novel inventions, while copyrights protect works of authorship, like song lyrics, poetry, and art.
- How long does a trademark last?
- Your trademark will never expire as long as you continue to use the mark and you meet renewal deadlines set by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. For new trademarks, the first renewal date occurs between the fifth and sixth year, and then again between the ninth and tenth year. After that, you will need to renew your trademark with the USPTO every ten years. (read our blog post detailing the specifics of trademark length)
- What is a priority date?
- The date you submit your application to the USPTO will become your priority date. Anyone looking to file a similar mark after your priority date will likely be rejected. This is one reason it is so important to start the registration process as soon as possible.
- What’s the purpose of a trademark search?
- A trademark search should be conducted before you submit your application to determine if a similar mark is already in use. Work with an attorney to conduct a comprehensive search to find any exact or similar matches to the trademark you hope to register. If you find a match, you can work with your attorney to make changes to your mark before you submit your application. Often, only small changes to your mark need to be made, but occasionally, more extensive changes are required.
- Will my registered trademark protect me in other countries?
- Your U.S. trademark provides valuable protections in the United States, but it will not protect you in disputes that occur outside the country. If you sell your product in other countries, or if you manufacture or distribute the product overseas, you should strongly consider registering your mark in those countries as well.
Common Misunderstandings about Filing Trademarks for Kansas City Businesses
- The process to register a trademark is fairly easy, so I can manage it myself.
- You can find several sites online advertising inexpensive DIY trademark registrations. While that may seem like a cost effective option, it may cost you more in the long run. Trademark registration is a detailed legal process involving an in depth trademark search, drafting an application, and responding to Office Actions. The likelihood that an application submitted without an attorney will be rejected is higher, as well, which leads to additional costs to refile in the future. Working with an experienced attorney ensures that the process is done correctly the first time.
- I should wait to register my trademark until I start actually making a profit.
- It’s understandable that you are concerned about your budget as you open your business. However, it is best to start the trademark registration process as soon as possible. The date you submit your application will become your priority date, which will protect you from similar marks being registered in the future. You’ll also ensure early on that the mark you plan to use is available. Waiting to register your mark could leave your business open to infringement later on.
- I should register for as many international classes as possible.
- The USPTO has 45 international classes of goods and services, and it may seem like a good idea to include as many of those classes as possible into your application. Unfortunately, that’s not the best idea. First, registration costs are determined based on the number of classes you file, which means the more classes selected, the higher the registration fees. In addition, filing for too many classes could cause your trademark application to be rejected by the USPTO. It’s best to choose only the classes that represent the goods and services you currently offer or plan to offer in the near future.
- Only words and symbols can become registered trademarks.
- Words, including business or product names, and symbols, like logos, are some of the most common trademarks, but many non-traditional trademarks can be registered as well. Sounds, smells, and even colors can all be registered trademarks as long as you can demonstrate that they represent your brand. Learn about things that cannot be trademarked.
The Number of Trademarks Registered by Kansas City, Missouri Businesses (by Year)
How many trademarks have Kansas City, MO 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 Kansas City Businesses
Kansas City has recently seen an economic boost as families and young professionals continue to move to Missouri’s largest city. That makes it a great time to open a business in the Kansas City area. Whether you are just beginning to create a business plan for your new venture or you’ve been in business for some time, the time to start the trademark registration process is now. We wrote a detailed blog post on protecting your start-up as well, read it here.
Consider this scenario: Two friends want to combine the city’s rich history of jazz music and barbecue to create a new restaurant in the River Market neighborhood. They are so excited to get Smokey Blues open that they immediately get started on selecting the perfect location, creating a menu, and designing the space to accommodate a stage for live performances. They’ve heard that trademark registration is important, but decide to hold off until the stress of opening the restaurant settles down.
The friends see some initial success but ultimately receive some devastating news a year later. Unfortunately, a restaurant chain based in the Carolinas has learned about Smokey Blues. They too have been using the name, but because they registered with the USPTO, they are well within their rights to ask the Kansas City friends to close down and rebrand their restaurant. This is not only costly, but time consuming as well. Don’t put off trademark registration. Gerben Law Firm offers reasonable, flat rate trademark registration services to ensure that your business is protected from infringement and the possibility of infringing on others. Contact us today.