*Please note that while Gerben Law Firm is not located in Nebraska, it can assist businesses from Nebraska in registering a federal trademark because it is a federal matter.
Gerben Law Firm was established in 2008 by trademark attorney Josh Gerben. Since that time, the experienced attorneys at Gerben Law Firm have successfully registered thousands of trademarks for businesses and individuals from all 50 states, including Nebraska. Whether you are opening a small business based in Seward or a large business in downtown Lincoln, Gerben Law Firm can provide you professional trademark representation.
Federal Trademark Registration For Your Business
Top 4 Questions Lincoln Businesses Have About Protecting a Trademark
- What is a trademark?
- A trademark shows that a product or service is associated with a specific business or brand. A trademark can protect words, colors, names, logos, and even sounds. Obtaining a trademark will allow the owner to use the mark freely, without the infringement of competitors.
- Do I need to hire a trademark attorney?
- While do-it-yourself options may exist, filing for a trademark is a detailed process, and many business owners taking this approach may have to file and re-file multiple times. In the long run, this will cost more time and money than if they had hired a trademark attorney. At Gerben Law Firm, our experienced attorneys will work with you to file your application correctly, at an affordable cost.
- How long is the process to register a trademark?
- Once you file your trademark application, it is reviewed by a trademark examiner. From start to finish, the process typically takes around 8-10 months, though in some cases, it may take longer. The date you file your trademark application, however, will most of the time become your priority date, meaning that another individual or business will not be able to file a similar mark for related goods or services after that date.
- What are International Classes?
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has 47 different groups of goods and services known as International Classes. You may register for one class or several classes, depending on which goods and services you offer. If you are unsure about which classes to register for, contact an experienced attorney at Gerben Law Firm.
- How do I know what classes I should file for?
- Deciding on what classes to file under is one of the many legal decisions made during the trademark application process. There are 47 different classes to choose from and some of them are not always obvious on their face. For example, music recordings and cell phone cases are in the same class. You should pick the classes that best fit the goods and services you are offering or plan to offer, but do not file in classes you do not intend to use.
Common Misunderstandings about Filing Trademarks for Lincoln Businesses
- I should wait to register my trademark until my business is established.
- Before you invest time and money into your new business, be sure that the investment is protected. The process to file for a trademark should ideally begin before you choose a name, create a logo, or brand products. Waiting to begin this crucial process could leave you to unknowingly infringe on another business, which could result in costly changes and legal fees.
- I should trademark my logo but copyright my business name.
- A trademark protects anything that represents your company, whether that is a logo, slogan, or a business name. A copyright will protect works of authorship, including art pieces, songs, poetry, or novels. Both your logo and company name should be protected as trademarks.
- No one else can use a word that I have registered as a federal trademark.
- Obtaining a trademark on a word does not give the registrant exclusive rights to the word. It only protects against a similar business using a similar mark. That means unrelated businesses may be free to use the word as well. For instance, Dove Soap and Dove Chocolate have the same product name, but entirely different products. Since no one would confuse the products, both have trademarked the word ‘dove’ in their different industries.
- I registered my trademark with the State of Nebraska’s trademark registry, so I do not need to register with the USPTO.
- While registering with Nebraska’s trademark registry won’t hinder your trademark protection, it will only protect you within the state. The process to apply for a federal trademark is more complex, but it will provide more comprehensive protection of your mark.
- The symbols “TM” and “®” mean the same thing.
- The symbol ® indicates that your trademark has been federally registered. Using the ® symbol prior to obtaining your federal trademark registration is a violation of federal law and may be cause for rejection of your application. While your trademark is being processed and approved by the USPTO, you are free to use the TM symbol.
The Number of Trademarks Registered by Lincoln Businesses (by Year)
How many trademarks have Lincoln, Nebraska 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 Lincoln Businesses
Lincoln is a thriving Midwest city that has evolved with the changing times. The revitalization of many areas of the city means that new businesses are starting and existing businesses are growing and expanding. Some smaller businesses, in an effort to save time and money, do a quick Google search, determine that the business name they’ve chosen is available, and move forward without hiring an attorney to conduct a trademark search and file a federal trademark. This do-it-yourself option appears to save the business owner time and money upfront, but the decision could cost the business in the end.
Consider this scenario: John has decided to leave his current job and follow his dream to start a landscaping business. Because he is concerned about the environment, he plans to use only eco-friendly products on the lawns he cares for. Thus he’s chosen the name “Go Green” for his business. John does a quick internet search of all the other landscapers in the area. Not seeing any competitor by the same name, he assumes he’s free to use the name he’s chosen.
A proper search conducted by a trademark attorney would have revealed that a well-known fertilizer company sells a popular product for lawns called Go Green. While the fertilizer company is not an eco-friendly landscaper, there is enough cause for confusion that John receives a cease and desist letter a year after his business has opened and his brand has been established. The time and money that John saved in the beginning, he’s now lost to rebranding and potential legal fees. If you are wondering whether or not you should hire a trademark attorney, call Gerben Law Firm to learn more about the services we offer.