Trademark FAQs

What is a trademark?

A trademark protects words and designs used to distinguish goods and services from those of others in the market. It is possible for the same trademark to protect different goods or services. An example is FORD™ for motor vehicles, and FORD™ for modelling.


What are trademarks used for?

The most common trademarks are either word marks or design marks. But anything that functions as a source identifier may be a trademark. Examples of such trademarks include trade dress (Apple™ has a trademark registration for the trade dress of an Apple™ store), color (pink for insulation), and sound (NBC™ chimes or MGM™’s roar of a lion).


How do I know if I need a trademark?

The United States is one of the few countries that recognizes common law trademarks. That is, trademark rights may be incurred by use of the mark without actually registering the mark in the Trademark Office. Unlike most countries, the United States requires proof that the mark is used in commerce regulated by Congress before a trademark registration will issue. Moreover, in the United States, trademark rights go to the first user of the mark, not the first person to file for registration of the mark.

If you choose to register your trademark, this creates a legal presumption that you own the trademark and have the right to use it. So, in federal court, your registration certificate proves ownership, eliminating the need for copious amounts of evidence.


Is a trademark important for online sales?

A number of online marketplaces grant enhanced privileges to sellers who have registered trademarks. An example of such is Amazon’s Brand Registry. Moreover, in the United States there are certain benefits that come from having a trademark registration. Additionally, online marketplaces may permit takedown requests for infringement of a registered mark. Generally, the mark has to be registered in the country in which the marketplace operates.


How long does it take to register a trademark?

A U.S. trademark registration issues in about twelve (12) months after a trademark application is filed if all goes well.

In the United States, trademark rights are not lost by a delay in filing a trademark application. Outside the United States most countries are first-to-file countries. Thus, rights in those countries may be lost by a delay in filing if the delay permits someone else to file first.


What happens if someone else has trademarked what I want to trademark?

This gets a little complicated but the short summary is that trademarks are organized by class. So, the first step would be to do research to determine if the trademark you are interested in using (but that someone else has already registered) is in the same class.


How much does it cost to register a trademark?

The standard legal fee ranges between $ 1,000- 2,500, which includes the search itself and gathering all the necessary information for processing the search.