Registering the trademark for your business name is a low-priced, high value action to secure your success.
So what is a trademark and why do I need one?
What is a Trademark
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies the source of goods.
A service mark is the same as a trademark, except it identifies the source of a service.
Trademarks and service marks (“marks”) help show who made the product or stands behind the service. Specifically, they represent a company’s goodwill and reputation. With it, you can carry on your business knowing you can defend your rights from copycats of your product or service.
Trademarking a Company Name
You may be able to protect your company name by registering it as a state mark, a federal mark, or both. Key factors are where you are using the mark, how you are using the mark, and what legal protection you desire.
Florida Department of State Registration
If you’re using your business name in the State of Florida, you can protect your business name just in that geographic area by filing a trademark application with the Secretary of State of Florida. It’s important that nobody else has registered the same mark for the same type of business in Florida. The registration process in Florida is relatively quick and inexpensive. Also, regardless of when you apply, Florida registrations protect you from the first date of use.
How to Register in Florida
You must submit samples of how and where you display the mark publicly. For trademarks, you can submit samples of the mark on products. Good samples are labels, decals, tags, wrappers, boxes, and containers. For service marks, you can submit samples that reflect the type of service being provided. Good samples are business cards, brochures, flyers, and newspaper advertisements.
Registration of a mark only protects you in the categories of goods and/or services in which your business operates. Therefore, you apply for particular categories. For example, if your business provides education and training, your service mark registration would protect just that category. In contrast, it would not protect your name, for example, in a musical instruments category. You can identify various categories (“classes”) to apply for registration. Furthermore, you can add new categories if your business expands in the future.
You can expand the geographic scope of your trademark protection by applying for a federal trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A federal registration can be filed if you are using your name:
- in the sale or transport of goods or the rendering of services in “interstate” commerce between more than one state or U.S. territory, or
- in commerce between the U.S. and another country.
As with state registrations, it’s important that nobody else has federally registered the same mark for the same type of business.
What’s Different than Florida Registration?
Federal registration provides additional benefits including:
- the ability to record the U.S. registration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods;
- the right to use the federal registration symbol “®”;
- the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court; and
- the use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries.
Along with the expanded geographic scope, federal trademark registration is more complex and costs more.
Similar to Florida state mark registration, Federal registration requires you show that you are using the mark. For goods, the mark must appear on the goods (e.g., tags or labels), the container for the goods, or displays associated with the goods. For services, the mark must be used in the sale or advertising of the services.
Protect your passion by applying to trademark your company name today!
Do you need help Trademarking Your Company Name, Logo, Slogan, or Product? We’re here for you. Contact us here.
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