TRADEMARK FAQs

Trademarks are brand identifiers: they let people know who the source of a good or service is.

Common examples of things that can be trademarked are business names, logos, and taglines. But the trademark universe is pretty huge. Colors, sounds, and scents can also be trademarks if they point people back to your specific brand. Even things like hashtags and domain names can receive trademark protection!

You can think of trademark rights as being both a sword and a shield: a sword to defend your property from theft or misuse and a shield against others who claim that you’ve taken something that belongs to them.

Trademarks and copyrights are both types of intellectual property that protect creativity, but they protect different things.

Trademarks protect your brand identity – which is made up of the things that help people recognize your business and tell it apart from other business. These things include the name of your business, your logo, and your tagline. Getting a trademark registration protects you from having your competitors use names, taglines, or logos that are similar to yours, which could confuse your customers and hurt your bottom line.

Copyrights protect your artistry and expertise – which is shown in the original creative works you produce. These creative works include photographs, online courses, fashion designs, music compositions, visual art, books, and more. Getting a copyright registration protects your rights as a creator, ensuring that others cannot copy, reproduce, distribute, or profit from your work without your permission.

There are 3 types of trademarks. federal trademarks, common law trademarks, and state trademarks.

 

Federal Trademarks
When people talk about getting a trademark, they’re almost ALWAYS referring to a federal trademark. That’s because federal trademarks give entrepreneurs the most protection by covering the whole country.

It’s easy to tell whether something is a federal trademark because it’ll have the ® symbol next to it.

To apply for a federal trademark, you apply online through a form provided by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

But don’t be fooled – the short application is a lot more complicated than it looks! And completing it incorrectly can have devastating, expensive, lifelong consequences for your business. Because of this, a federal trademark application should only be completed with an attorney’s help.

The other two types of trademarks don’t provide as much protection as federal trademarks.

Common Law Trademarks
Common law trademarks only have protection in the places where you actually have sales & people recognize your business. So the only way to get nationwide protection via  a common law trademark is to have a substantial volume of sales in every region of every state – which is impossible for most small businesses. 

You create common law trademark rights just by publicly using a name, tagline, or logo to sell your products – no filings necessary!

But the downside to this is that without a filing, there’s no legal record that you own the trademark. So it’s very difficult for anyone to know about your rights, and it’s much harder for you to defend your rights from competitors as a result.

Usually people let others know they’re claiming rights to a common law trademark by using the  symbol. Until you get a federal trademark, you’re usually relying on your common law trademark rights.

 

State Law Trademarks
State law trademarks only have protection in the states where they are issued.

The government agency that sets up corporations & LLCs in your state will often offer trademark registrations too. But don’t get confused by these trademarks!

Although they may seem like a cheaper alternative to a federal trademark,  the government agencies that create corporations and LLCs don’t talk to each other and don’t share databases. So it’s entirely possible that different companies can register the exact same trademark in different states without anyone realizing it – which would be horrible for everyone involved.

That kind of thing can’t happen with federal trademarks, since there’s one large database for all trademarks – no matter where the businesses that own them are located.

The federal trademark application process is no walk in the park. As more and more entrepreneurs learn how important this protection is, more and more of them are submitting trademark applications.

Because of this increase in the number of applications (which was made a bit worse by a backlog that started with COVID), it’s currently taking about 6-8 months after submitting an application before it is even reviewed by the USPTO. 

Then there are additional steps that must be taken after the application is reviewed. To learn more about the trademark process, please click here: https://mittonlaw.com/trademark-info/.

So the total application processing time from submission of the application to final decision by the USPTO can take 12-18 months (or longer, depending on how your specific application goes through the process).

But don’t worry –  you get to keep your trademark registration FOREVER if your application is approved, as long as you keep up with periodic filings!

And the long processing times are definitely a reason NOT to delay applying because the longer it takes for your application to be processed, the longer it will take for you to get nationwide protection for your brand.

At Mitton Law, we offer 3 different trademark packages so that entrepreneurs can match the level of service to their budget. 

Our packages are priced at $1,000, $3000, and $6000. This price includes the cost of the $175 initial legal consultation – meaning that after the consultation is completed, the remaining balance for the packages is $825, $2825, and $5825.

You can choose to pay the remaining balance in one payment, split it to 2, 3, or 4 payments, or break it up into as many as 24 payments using our convenient financing option via Affirm.

To learn more about what’s included in each package, please visit https://mittonlaw.com/trademark-packages.

 

 

For sure – you can save money by filing your trademark on your own or use a service like LegalZoom, Trademark Engine, Trademark Genius, or something similar.

Choosing to file your own trademark or going for a budget service instead of hiring an attorney is like trying to cut corners when building a new home instead of following the proper construction guidelines right from the start. It might seem like a way to save time and money initially, but in the long run, it can lead to structural issues, costly repairs, serious injuries, and mental & emotional anguish. 

But just as a well-constructed home provides comfort and security, a professionally handled trademark application ensures the solid legal foundation your brand needs to thrive and avoid future complications.

DIY and budget-service trademark applications have a high failure rate because they aren’t based on a strong legal strategy. So when the going gets tough, there’s no plan of action in place to deal with legal challenges and you could end up losing the trademark altogether!

But at Mitton Law, we’re 100% committed to making sure our clients have the appropriate legal counsel to make good decisions. Our managing attorney, Faith Mitton, will work closely with you to ensure that your trademark strategy is solid, legally sound, and capable of withstanding challenges. 

This way, you can navigate the trademark process in a way that gives you long-term protection and peace of mind, instead of getting a false sense of security that leaves you exposed to all kinds of risks.

Why Choose Mitton Law?

Figuring out which attorney to hire can be challenging when there are so many options. Here are some things to consider when evaluating whether to work with us. Our clients have chosen us because of our:

Clarity

Few things are worse for than having a lawyer you don’t  understand. When we communicate with or create a work product for our clients, we aim to be as clear and thorough as possible so that we leave no questions unanswered.

Predictability

Budgeting for legal services can be a challenge when you work with an attorney who only bills hourly. It’s almost impossible to determine how much a particular project will cost you. But we prioritize the use of flat fees so that our clients know exactly what to expect in terms of costs.

Flexibility

Even with flat fees, we know that high-quality legal representation may seem inaccessible to some clients with restricted budgets. We understand cash flow challenges & offer flexible payment plans that allow our clients to break up the payment of fees into manageable chunks that work for them.

Creativity

Our clients are trailblazers, charting their own course through new terrain. We provide innovative solutions to their legal issues & inventive strategies for their operations. Plus, we’re always seeking new ways to practice law & help our clients.

Reliability

In the DIY legal age, it can be hard to know who to trust. But instead of working with some faceless corporation,  our clients know exactly who their attorney is & what her credentials are, so they can be confident that they are receiving the best possible legal representation.

Tech-Savvy

Gone are the days when you had to meet your attorney in person & exchange paper documents. We believe in using industry-leading technology to create a seamless client experience. Our clients can communicate with us confidentially & access their case file from any Internet-connected device through our client portal.


Click HERE to view client testimonials!

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