*Please note that while Gerben Law Firm, PLLC is not located in Wisconsin, it can work with companies and individuals from Wisconsin in registering a federal trademark because it is a federal matter.
Founded in 2008, Gerben Law Firm has worked with thousands of clients across the country, including the Milwaukee area. Founder Josh Gerben and his team of experienced trademark attorneys work with individuals and businesses of all sizes. Whether you plan to open a brewery in Riverwest or a woodworking shop in Whitefish Bay, Gerben Law firm is here to assist you.
Federal Trademark Registration for Your Business
Testimonials from our Clients in the Milwaukee Region
“Being a start-up Company and new to the process of trademarking, Josh and his team at Gerben Law made a process that seemed quite daunting, seamless. They were true partners that ensured we successfully navigated our request as efficiently and correctly the first time. Our team would think of no other firm to recommend when it comes to trademark law.”
– Neil, Co-Founder
Aftcra – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Top 4 Questions Milwaukee Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
- How are trademarks, copyrights, and patents different?
- Trademarks, copyrights, and patents are all forms of intellectual property, but each protects a different aspect of your business. Trademarks are anything that represents your brand in the marketplace, including business names, logos, slogans, and even colors or sounds. Copyrights, on the other hand, protect creative works, like novels, song lyrics, and pieces of art, while patents protect inventions.
- Do I need to register my trademark with the USPTO to be protected?
- The United States is a first-to-use country, which means you could have some limited protections to your mark simply by using it in public. It’s important to know, however, how limited these common law protections truly are. For instance, you will only be protected in trademark disputes that occur within the Milwaukee region. If you plan to expand to other areas in the future, then, you could be locked out of certain markets if similar marks are in use. In addition, you may have a more challenging time defending your trademark rights in court. In order to have the presumption of nationwide validity, and the freedom to use your mark anywhere in the country, you need to register your mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
- Can hiring a trademark attorney increase my chance of approval?
- Yes, it can! When you partner with an experienced trademark attorney, your trademark search will be more comprehensive and your application will be filed correctly the first time, both of which can contribute to a higher likelihood of approval. A recent study confirms this, as well. The University of North Carolina found that trademark applications submitted with the help of an attorney were fifty percent more likely to be approved!
- Will my federally registered trademark protect me in disputes outside the U.S.?
- In short, no. Your federally registered trademark will provide you valuable protections for your trademark, but those protections can only be enforced in disputes within the United States. If you do business outside the U.S., you should strongly consider registering your trademark in the countries your business reaches. Contact Gerben Law Firm to learn more about the process to register your trademark internationally.
Common Misunderstandings about Filing Trademarks for Milwaukee Businesses
- I registered my trademark with the State of Wisconsin, so there’s no need for a federal registration.
- Registering your trademark with the State of Wisconsin won’t hinder your federal registration, but it will not provide the same protections. The process to file your trademark application with the USPTO is often more detailed and complicated, but a federal registration will provide the presumption of nationwide validity for your mark.
- I registered my business name, and that is enough to protect my business.
- Obtaining trademark registration for your business name is certainly an important component of protecting your business, but it’s likely not the only trademark you’ll need to register. A trademark can be anything that represents your brand, which does include business names, but also product names, logos, slogans, sounds, colors, and even sounds. Contact Gerben Law Firm to learn more about which aspects of your business could benefit from trademark registration.
- My competitor’s trademark is not registered, so I can register it to prevent them from using it.
- If your competitor has been using the trademark in public, even if it has not been registered, they likely have some common law rights to it. In addition, knowingly registering a trademark that does not belong to you is a fraud, and could result in both a cancellation of your mark and potential legal liability. If you are unsure about the availability of a potential trademark, contact an experienced trademark attorney.
- I should register for as many International Classes as possible.
- Filing for many classes could increase the likelihood that your application is denied, and it could cost you more in filing fees as well. When selecting International Classes, it’s best to limit your classes to the goods and services that you are currently offering or plan to offer in the very near future.
- The USPTO will let me know if someone is using my trademark without my permission.
- The USPTO examines trademark applications and grants registration approvals, but they do not monitor your trademark’s use or enforce its exclusivity. That is the responsibility of a trademark owner. Fortunately, most trademark attorneys provide monitoring services and will let you know if potential infringement arises. They will also work with you to determine the best course of action if infringement is found.
The Number of Trademarks Registered by Milwaukee Businesses (by Year)
How many trademarks have Milwaukee, WI 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 Milwaukee Businesses
The recent revitalization in downtown Milwaukee has brought many entrepreneurs to the area. If you are planning to jump into the market with your own business soon, don’t wait to register your trademark. Starting the process early could save time, money, and headache down the road.
Consider this scenario: Ashley finds an open storefront in the Third Ward and decides it’s time to open her own shop, filled with jewelry, accessories, and home décor items. She quickly jumps on the location, begins purchasing inventory, and decides on the perfect name, Something Extra Boutique. She’s heard about trademark registration, but she ultimately decides that her business is too small and she is too busy to manage the process, and proceeds without it.
Unfortunately, Ashley soon learns she’s made a big mistake. If she had begun the trademark registration process right away, she would have learned of an online accessories store by the same name. Because the online store registered their trademark well before Ashley opened her doors, they are within their rights to ask her to close up shop and rebrand her business. Now Ashley is spending more time and money rebranding than she would have if she’d worked with a trademark attorney to register her business name.
Whether your business is just starting out or you’ve been open for years, don’t wait to register your trademark and ensure your brand is protected. Contact Gerben Law Firm to learn more about our trademark registration services.