Gerben Intellectual Property was founded by trademark attorney Josh Gerben in 2008. Since then, Gerben and his experienced team have registered thousands of trademarks for clients across the country, including the Tampa Bay area. Gerben Intellectual Property works with individuals and businesses of any size, so whether you want to open a preschool in Westchase or expand your contracting business in Brandon, our attorneys are ready to assist you.
Federal Trademark Registration for Your Business
Top 5 Questions Tampa Businesses Have About Protecting a Trademark
- How is a trademark different than other types of intellectual property?
- The three most common forms of intellectual property are trademarks, patents, and copyrights. Trademarks protect anything that indicates a certain product or service is associated with a particular brand. Patents, on the other hand, protect inventions, while copyrights will protect creative works, like song lyrics, art, and novels.
- Do I need to register my trademark with the USPTO?
- In order to have the strongest protections and the presumption of nationwide validity, you need to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. While the United States is a first-to-use country and you will have some limited protections simply by using the mark, those protections may not be enough to protect your business. For instance, you will only be protected in the small geographic area where your business is located. This means that you could be restricted from expanding outside the Tampa Bay area if a confusingly similar trademark is already in use. You will also have a more challenging time asserting your trademark rights in court if your mark remains unregistered.
- Will hiring a trademark attorney increase my chance of approval?
- Yes, hiring a trademark attorney could increase your chances of approval. In fact, a study conducted by the University of North Carolina found that trademark applications submitted with the help of an attorney increased the likelihood of approval by up to 50%. This is likely because partnering with an experienced attorney ensures that a proper trademark search will be conducted, the application will be drafted correctly, and Office Actions will be responded to in a timely manner.
- What is a priority date?
- The date that you submit your application to the USPTO, you will be issued a priority date, which gives your brand first priority to the mark for which you are applying. Anyone looking to file a confusingly similar mark after your priority date will not be approved by the USPTO.
- When will my trademark expire?
- Great news! As long as you continue to use your trademark in the marketplace and meet renewal deadlines, your trademark won’t expire. However, your mark could be cancelled if you stop using the mark as it appears in your trademark application, or if you fail to renew your trademark on time. For new trademarks, the first renewal will occur between the fifth and sixth year, and then again between the ninth and tenth year. After that, you will need to renew your trademark every ten years.
Common Misunderstandings about Filing Trademarks for Tampa Businesses
- The USPTO will let me know when my trademark is being used by another business.
- The USPTO makes decisions on approval of registrations, and they maintain records for trademarks and patents. However, they will not alert you to any potential infringement. As a trademark owner, it will be your responsibility to monitor your trademark’s use. Fortunately, many trademark attorneys, including those at Gerben Intellectual Property, offer monitoring services for trademark owners. They will notify you of any possible infringement and make decisions about the best legal action to take, as well.
- A Google search serves as a sufficient comprehensive trademark search.
- A simple online search may seem like a budget friendly option, but it is likely not comprehensive enough to be effective. These free searches typically only return exact matches. Most trademark disputes, however, arise from confusingly similar marks, not exact matches. This means that even if you find no exact matches to your mark, and proceed with submitting your application, it could be rejected by the USPTO if a confusingly similar mark exists. Trademark attorneys have access to much more sophisticated software, which returns results on both exact and similar matches to your mark, so you can move forward with submitting your application in confidence.
- My registered trademark will protect me in international trademark disputes.
- I registered my business name, so my business is fully protected.
- Obtaining trademark registration for your business name is a strong start to protecting your brand, but it’s likely not the only registration you’ll need. Consider all the aspects of your business that represent your brand. This includes not just your business name, but your product names, logo, slogan, and even signature color. If you are unsure about which aspects of your business should be protected through trademark registration, contact Gerben Intellectual Property.
The Number of Trademarks Registered in Tampa by Year
How many trademarks have Tampa, FL businesses registered over the years? Gerben Intellectual Property collected the following data.
|Year||# of Trademarks Registered|
*data was gathered from the USPTO’s public database
Types of Trademark Services offered to Tampa, FL Clients
Additional Information on Trademark Registration for Tampa Businesses
With a desirable climate and steady growth, it’s always a great time to own a business in Tampa Bay. Whether you plan to open a business that caters to tourists or focuses on the many retirees moving to the area, you’ll have many tasks to undertake. However, while you focus on developing your product, selecting the perfect location, and hiring a team, don’t overlook the importance of trademark registration.
Consider this scenario: Jill loves walking the Riverwalk in Downtown Tampa and dreams of opening a coffee shop in one of the many office buildings along the route. When the perfect location becomes available, she immediately makes an offer and gets to work preparing for the grand opening of her shop, Riverside Roasters. Jill has heard of trademark registration, but knows there is no one in the area using the same name and decides to put off the process.
Unfortunately, Jill’s decision to postpone trademark registration turns out to have some costly consequences. Not long after Riverside Roasters opens its doors, a cease-and-desist letter arrives in the mail. A large coffee company out of San Antonio uses the same name, and they ship their coffee to customers across the country. Because they registered their mark years ago, they are within their legal rights when they ask Jill to shut down until her business has been rebranded. The process will result in more time and money lost than if Jill had conducted a comprehensive trademark search and filed an application with the USPTO from the beginning. Contact Gerben Intellectual Property today to start the process to protect your business through trademark registration.
Gerben Intellectual Property also works with businesses & individuals in these other major Florida metro cities: Orlando, Miami and Tallahassee.