*Please note that while Gerben Law Firm, PLLC is not located in Memphis, it can assist businesses from Tennessee in registering a federal trademark because it is a federal matter.
In 2008, trademark attorney Josh Gerben founded Gerben Law Firm to provide professional, affordable trademark registration services to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Since that time, Gerben and his team of experienced trademark attorneys have worked with thousands of clients across the country, including the Memphis area. Whether you are looking to operate a food truck near Overton Park or expand your dental practice in Germantown, Gerben Law Firm is ready to assist you.
Federal Trademark Registration for Your Business
Top 5 Questions Memphis Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
- How is a trademark different than a copyright or a patent?
- A trademark can be anything that shows that a particular product or service is associated with your brand, including business or product names, slogans, and logos. Copyrights, on the other hand, protect creative works like novels, lyrics, and art, while patents protect novel inventions.
- What does the USPTO do?
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, examines and approves patent and trademark registrations. They also maintain their records. They do not, however, monitor your trademark’s use or enforce your trademark rights. These are the responsibility of the trademark owner.
- What is a priority date?
- The date you file your trademark application with the USPTO will become your priority date, which will give you priority for your trademark. Anyone looking to file a similar mark after your priority date will not be approved by the USPTO.
- Do I need to work with an attorney to file my application?
- U.S. citizens aren’t required to work with an attorney, but the USPTO strongly encourages it. One reason for this is due to the many detailed legal decisions that need to be made throughout the registration process. Working with an attorney will ensure that the process runs smoothly, and it’s also likely increase your chances of approval. A study by the University of North Carolina found that trademark applications submitted to the USPTO through an attorney were 50% more likely to be approved.
- What is an Office Action, and why did I receive one?
- Office Actions are frequently issued by examiners at the USPTO. Reasons for these Office Actions vary, but they usually serve as a request for additional information or clarification about information on your trademark application. The USPTO will also issue Office Actions to notify you that your application has been rejected. Whatever the reason, it’s important to respond to Office Actions appropriately, and prior to the deadline. Failing to respond in a timely manner could cause your trademark application to be rejected.
Common Misunderstandings about Filing Trademarks for Memphis Businesses
- My trademark will be protected even if I don’t register with the USPTO.
- The United States is a first-to-use country, which means you will have some common law protections just by using the mark in public. Unfortunately, those common law protections are extremely limited. It’s more challenging to enforce your trademark rights in court, and the rights you do have will only apply to the Memphis region. If you plan to expand to other areas, you may be excluded from certain regions if your mark is already in use by another business there. In order to have the presumption of nationwide validity, you’ll need to register your trademark with the USPTO.
- I should register for as many international classes as possible.
- The USPTO has 45 classes to represent the goods and services you plan to offer. While it may seem like a good idea to file for as many classes as possible, that may not be the best choice. One reason for this is the cost to register. Trademark application fees are charged per class, so choosing multiple classes, could greatly increase your registration costs. Second, selecting too many classes on your trademark application could be grounds for rejection by the USPTO. Only include the classes of goods and services you are currently offering or plan to offer in the near future.
- If my competitor hasn’t registered their trademark, I can register it to keep them from using it.
- This is likely not the case. First, because the U.S. is a first-to-use country, your competitor may have some common law rights to their mark, even if they have not registered with the USPTO. Second, knowingly registering a trademark that does not belong to you is a fraud, and could result in the cancellation of your trademark. Contact Gerben Law Firm if you are unsure about the availability of a particular trademark.
- I registered my trademark with the USPTO, so I am protected in other countries as well.
- Your federally registered trademark will not protect you in trademark disputes that arise in other countries. To gain trademark protections in a country outside the U.S., you will need to register your trademark in that country as well. We put together a blog post on explaining why you should register your mark in other countries. In today’s global economy, it’s wise to consider international registration, especially if you decide to do business outside the United States, either through sales, manufacturing, or distribution.
The Number of Trademarks Registered by Memphis Businesses (by Year)
How many trademarks have Memphis, TN 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 Memphis Businesses
Memphis is a thriving city with a strong history in entrepreneurship. If you’ve decided to join the Memphis business market, you know just how stressful starting out can be. From choosing the perfect location to hiring employees and branding the business, it can seem like the to-do list is never ending, but don’t overlook the essential step of trademark registration.
Consider this scenario: Tyler has been working as a cabinet installer for several years and has finally saved up enough money to start his own kitchen and bath remodeling company. He hopes to serve residents in Midtown and other areas who are buying older homes to renovate. Excited to get started, Tyler adds the logo for his company, Bluff City Kitchen and Bath, to his work trucks, website, and other marketing materials. A friend recommends trademark registration, but Tyler is on a tight budget, so he decides to wait.
Unfortunately, the owner of another business, Bluff City Remodeling, sees Tyler’s work van in the area. Even though the business names aren’t identical, this owner thinks there’s enough cause for confusion that Tyler may be infringing on his mark, so he calls his trademark attorney. A few weeks later, Tyler receives a cease-and-desist letter in the mail, requesting that he stop using the name Bluff City Kitchen and Bath immediately. The rebranding process could actually end up costing significantly more than if Tyler had started the registration process right away. Don’t wait to register your trademark. Contact Gerben Law Firm to learn more about our reasonable, flat rate trademark registration services today.