*Please note that while Gerben Perrott PLLC is not located in Raleigh, it can assist businesses from North Carolina in registering a federal trademark because it is a federal matter.
Since it was established in 2008, Gerben Intellectual Property, founded by trademark attorney Josh Gerben, has registered thousands of trademarks for clients across the United States, including the Raleigh area. Gerben and his team of experienced trademark attorneys work with individuals and businesses of all sizes. Whether you plan to open a brewery in Five Points or grow your architecture firm in Apex, Gerben Intellectual Property is here to assist you.
Federal Trademark Registration for Your Business
Top Questions Raleigh Businesses Have About Obtaining a Trademark
- How is a trademark different from a copyright?
- A trademark indicates that a particular product or service is associated with a specific brand or business. Common trademarks include words, colors, slogans, and logos, but even sounds and smells can be protected through trademark registration. Copyrights, however, protect creative works, like song lyrics, poetry, novels, and works of art.
- When should I start the process to register my trademark?
- Ideally, the process to register a trademark should be one of the first things you do when starting a business. Before you buy signage and product labeling or create a website and marketing campaign, you need to know that the trademark you are using is available and is not confusingly similar to an existing mark. If you choose to forgo trademark registration, you may be unknowingly infringing on the trademark of another business, and they would be well within their rights to ask you to stop using it. Avoid this costly mistake by beginning the trademark registration process as soon as possible.
- What are International Classes?
- The USPTO has 47 different groups of goods and services known as International Classes. As you draft your application, you must select the classes that best match the goods or services you plan to offer under your trademark. You may register for one class or several classes. If you are unsure about which classes best match the goods or services you plan to offer, the experienced attorneys at Gerben Intellectual Property can help.
- What is the USPTO?
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, is a division of the Department of Commerce. Examiners at the USPTO review trademark and patent applications and grant approvals. The USPTO also maintains the records for all existing patents and trademarks.
Common Misconceptions about Filing Trademarks for Raleigh Businesses
- I registered my trademark with the State of North Carolina, so I don’t need to register with the USPTO.
- A trademark registered with the state won’t hinder a federal registration, but it does limit your protections. For instance, your mark will only be protected in the Raleigh area. If you plan to expand outside the region in the future, you could face challenges if a similar mark is already in use. While the process to apply for a federal trademark is more complicated, it will provide the presumption of validity nationwide. For tips on registering an international trademark, read our post here.
- My competitor has not registered its trademark, so I can register it to prohibit them from using it.
- The United States is a first-to-use country, which means that your competitor likely has some trademark rights, even if they haven’t registered it. In addition, knowingly registering another business’s trademark is fraud and cause for cancellation of your trademark. If you are unsure about the availability of a particular mark, contact Gerben Intellectual Property.
- It’s easy to register a trademark, so I can do it myself.
- The process to register a trademark is complex and detailed, from conducting a comprehensive trademark search to selecting International Classes and responding to Office Actions. Working with a trademark attorney ensures that the process runs smoothly, and, according to a study by the University of North Carolina, your chances of approval will increase as well. The study found that applications submitted with the assistance of a trademark attorney were up to 50 percent more likely to be approved by the USPTO.
- I should register for as many International Classes as possible.
- Trademark fees are determined by the number of classes you file, so multiple classes could greatly increase your overall trademark costs. In addition, filing for multiple classes could cause your trademark application to be rejected. For these reasons, it is best to only include the classes that represent the goods or services you offer now or plan to offer in the near future.
- The symbols “TM” and “®” mean the same thing.
- The trademark registration symbol ® indicates that your trademark has been federally registered. Using it prior to approval from the USPTO is a violation of federal law and could be grounds for rejection of your application. While your application is pending, you are able to use the ™ symbol.
The Number of Trademarks Registered by Raleigh Businesses (by Year)
How many trademarks have Raleigh, NC businesses registered over the years? Gerben Intellectual Property 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 Raleigh Businesses
Raleigh is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, making it a great place to start a new business. If you plan to open your own Raleigh-based business, don’t forget to protect yourself and your brand through trademark registration.
Consider this scenario: Bryan works for a local builder, but spends his evenings and weekends doing handyman work for homeowners in the Raleigh area. To increase his business, Bryan creates a website and starts handing out business cards to his customers, using the name Helping Hammer. Eventually, his customer base grows large enough that Bryan decides to quit his construction job and turn Helping Hammer into a fulltime business.
Unfortunately, just a few months later, Bryan learns some frustrating news. A contractor working in the Triangle also uses the name, and because he registered it with the USPTO, he’s well within his rights to ask Bryan to stop using the name. Now, Bryan must rebrand his website and try to rebuild the customer recognition he had worked so hard to build over the last several years, which is a costly and time consuming endeavor.
Whether you are just starting out or you have been in business for some time, don’t overlook the important step of protecting your business through trademark registration. Contact Gerben Intellectual Property today to learn more about our trademark registration services.