A Florida Trademark Attorney For the Best Way to Protect Your Ideas
WHAT IS A TRADEMARK OR SERVICEMARK?
Registered Patent Attorney Thomas Frost can help you find the best ways to protect your idea in Pinellas County, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota or Orlando area. From our St. Petersburg office we are able to assist you by telephone, fax and email to obtain a trademark or servicemark for your idea or invention.
A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or combination of same, which is adapted and used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify its goods and to distinguish its goods from those manufactured or offered by others. A servicemark is the same except it identifies the source of a service rather than a product. Trademarks and servicemarks can be registered through either state or federal offices. The added benefits of federal trademark or servicemark registration clearly outweighs the additional expense, as explained in my article, “Why Should I Obtain a United States Trademark Registration when a Florida Trademark is less expensive?”
When an application for a trademark is filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (in almost all cases now done electronically), the trademark examiner reviews the mark to determine if there will be a likelihood of confusion as to the source of goods/services with marks for any other pending applications or registered marks. The key is source since there are many marks that are similar in sound and connotation, but are in different classes of goods/services.
In order to obtain registration for a mark, proof has to be provided to show that the mark is being used in interstate commerce. While you can file for a mark as “intent to use,” only when the mark is in actual use can registration be granted.
SELECTING A TRADEMARK
The best trademark is one that is strong and inherently distinctive. Thus, trademarks which are arbitrary or fanciful in meaning are better than those which describe the basic characteristic of the goods or services with which the mark is used. Fanciful marks have no actual English meaning. Examples are KODAK, EXXON and CAMEL for cigarettes.
Merely descriptive words which clearly describe a feature of the associated goods or services are not afforded trademark coverage. LIGHT BEER merely describes a low fat beer, and could not be registered.
As with patents, prior to filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a search should be conducted to determine whether someone else already has a mark which is considered to cause likelihood of confusion if the proposed mark is filed for, or is using the same or similar mark with same or similar goods/services and, also, to ascertain the strength of the proposed trademark.