Gerben Intellectual Property was founded by trademark attorney Josh Gerben in 2008. Since then, Gerben and his team of experienced attorneys have registered thousands of trademarks for clients across the country, including the Washington, D.C. area. We work with individuals and businesses of all sizes to provide professional trademark registration services for a reasonable flat rate. Whether you plan to open a food truck near Capitol Hill or expand your architecture firm near Georgetown, Gerben Intellectual Property is ready to assist you.
Federal Trademark Registration for Your Business
Top 5 Questions Washington, D.C. Businesses Have About Obtaining and Protecting a Trademark
- What is a trademark?
- A trademark can be anything that will represent your brand in the marketplace. Things like business names, product names, logos, and slogans are commonly trademarked, but even colors, sounds, and smells can become registered trademarks.
- AM I Required by Law to Register my Trademark?
- The United States is a common law country, which means you will have some protections for your mark simply by using it in the marketplace. These protections, however, are extremely limited. For example, you will only be protected in the small geographic area where your business is located, making it difficult to expand outside the D.C. area in the future. You’ll also have a more challenging time asserting your trademark rights in legal proceedings. In order to have full protection of your mark and the presumption of validity nationwide, you will need to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
- When should I start the process to register my trademark?
- Trademark registration should be one of your first priorities when starting a new business. Before you decide on a mark and begin to use it in the marketplace, it’s critical to know if that mark is available for use. Moving forward without that knowledge could lead to costly and time consuming rebranding later on, if it turns out your mark is already in use. Contact Gerben Intellectual Property today to start the process of protecting your brand through trademark registration.
- When can I start to use the ® symbol?
- Once your trademark application has been approved by the USPTO, you will be able to use the ® symbol. Before obtaining approval, you can use the ™ symbol. Using ® prior to registration can be tempting, but it’s important to know that using it before your mark has been approved is a fraud, and it could cause your trademark application to be canceled.
- What should I do if I think someone is infringing on my trademark?
- If you suspect potential infringement, it’s important to take action quickly (read more on how to report an infringement). However, it’s best to partner with a trademark attorney to assist you in the matter. Your attorney can evaluate the unique situation and make a determination about the best way to move forward. Often, a cease-and-desist letter is all you’d need to put the infringer on notice, but in some instances, your attorney might recommend more formal legal action.
Common Misunderstandings about Filing Trademarks for Washington, D.C. Businesses
- Trademarks, copyrights, and patents are all essentially the same.
- While trademarks, copyrights, and patents are all forms of intellectual property, each protects something different. Trademarks, for instance, protect those things that represent your brand, like business names, product names, and logos. Copyrights, on the other hand, protect works of authorship, like art, song lyrics, and poetry, while patents protect new and novel inventions.
- Another business is using the same trademark, so I cannot register it for myself.
- This is not true in all instances. The USPTO does allow businesses to use similar trademarks, as long as there is no likelihood of confusion in the marketplace. For example, both Dove Chocolates and Dove Soap have registered the word ‘Dove’ because consumers aren’t likely to confuse soap with chocolate. If you are unsure about the availability of a particular mark, contact Gerben Intellectual Property.
- I don’t need permission from a celebrity if I plan to trademark their name.
- If you plan to use the name of a celebrity or public figure in your trademark, you must provide written and signed consent from that person. Every year, the USPTO rejects thousands of trademark applications including names of public figures, celebrities, and politicians without consent from the individual.
- I only need one trademark registration to protect all of my trademarks.
- Each trademark application can only include one trademark, so it is likely that you will need to file multiple trademark applications. For example, your business name, product name, and logo will each require its own registration. Therefore, you would need to file three different trademark applications.
The Number of Trademarks Registered in Washington, D.C. by Year
How many trademarks have Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C. Clients
Additional Information on Trademark Registration for Washington, D.C. Businesses
With a booming economy, a strong tourism industry, and a steady full time population, it’s always a great time to own a business in Washington, D.C. When opening a business in our nation’s capital, it may seem like your to-do list is never ending. While it can be a busy time, you are never too busy to protect your business through trademark registration services.
Imagine this scenario: Grace is an event planner in the D.C. area that sees a need to match engaged couples with wedding vendors. She works with a developer for months to create an app called MatchMade. Then, she devotes her time to sign vendors up to the app before it becomes available to the public. Grace is so busy with her many tasks, she decides to put off trademark registration until a later date.
If Grace had taken the time to conduct a trademark search with the help of a trademark attorney, she would have learned that another developer had filed a trademark application for the same name months before. This developer’s app was also wedding related, matching brides to boutiques where they can find their dream dresses. Because there is a strong likelihood of confusion between the two applications, Grace must now halt downloads and take the costly and time consuming steps to rebrand her venture.
We understand that starting a new business is can be a hectic time. When you partner with Gerben Intellectual Property, you can remain focused on starting your business, while we focus on securing your trademark registration. Contact us today to learn more about our reasonable, flat rate trademark registration services.