Trademarking Essentials in California
Trademarks are one of the many protections afforded under Intellectual Property (IP) law. The purpose of a trademark is to distinguish a good through its use of a design, word, symbol, or phrase. While they are different from patents and copyright, trademarks must also be registered (or unregistered) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) through the California Secretary of State.
Registering a Trademark
When registering, the owner of the trademark can either be an individual or a business entity, and both can choose to have their attorneys file on their behalf. The application for a trademark registration requires a drawing page, which is a visual representation of the word, symbol, or phrase of a good to be distinguished from others. The trademark application can either be received online, in person, or by mail. It is important to make sure that the application follows the guidelines as presented by the USPTO, and that it presents accurate information regarding the good or product. Once the application has been filed, the trademark comes into force for five years. After the five years have elapsed, the owner can renew it for another five-year term.
Given that names can also be trademarked, a company can take steps to trademark its own business name. It is recommended to consult with an experienced attorney before filing the application in order to ensure that the name has not been previously registered by another entity. Furthermore, it is advised to not choose too generic of a name in case the application is rejected.