Wichita Business Law Attorneys Assist with Trademark Issues
Essential guidance for establishing and protecting your brand
Trademarks and service marks are recognizable symbols, designs, mascots or phrases that immediately call to mind companies and their products. If you are a small business owner, establishing a distinctive trademark is an essential part of your business plan. But just as important is guarding against the use of similar marks that could cause confusion in the marketplace. At Peggs Wheeler, LC, our knowledgeable attorneys counsel business owners on the steps they must take to establish their mark and to protect it from infringement.
An established trademark is a significant intellectual property asset, so it’s worth investing in a unique mark that your business can grow with. You should consult a marketing agency and graphic artists to develop a mark that captures the essence of your business. Once you want to move forward with a potential mark, there are basic steps you should take to register it:
- Conduct a trademark search — You need to determine whether there are conflicting marks anywhere in the United States and whether such marks are registered. Beware: there are many levels of trademark searches, so you get what you pay for. A cursory search may not turn up a mark that the USPTO later decides is in conflict with yours. So, make sure the service you hire does the most thorough search possible.
- Choose the filing option — You can file with the USPTO to register a trademark if you intend to use it in commerce or if you are already using it. Examine the requirements for each type of filing and decide which fits your circumstances.
- Select a Class or Classes and File — There is a fee for filing. The application is not complex, but mistakes will cause a delay and you might have to refile (and pay an additional fee). Get good advice to make sure your application is clear and complete.
- Respond — If the USPTO finds an issue with your application, you may receive an “Office Action,” asking for you to address the issue. A delay at this stage or an inadequate response can jeopardize your registration.
- Maintain — After the USPTO accepts your registration, you must fulfill the requirements to maintain the mark. If you fail to do this, the office might rule the mark abandoned.
Once you’ve registered your mark, you have federal protection against infringement within the United States. If you wish to protect your mark internationally, you should register with other jurisdictions. Infringement, the unauthorized use of your mark, can damage your business in several ways. When your trademark has been infringed, you have rights. Our business litigation attorneys can help put an end to infringement and hold the infringer accountable for damages for lost profits as sales go to look-alike companies.
Contact our Kansas business lawyers for assistance with trademark issues
An established trademark distinguishes your company as the supplier of your products and protects you from imitators. For knowledgeable assistance with a trademark issue, rely on Peggs Wheeler, LC. Call 316-512-7853 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Wichita office.