In 2017, the USPTO received more than 440,000 trademark applications, which is a 13.4% increase over 2016. These applications require a lot of information, including details about the intellectual property owner, the IP itself, how it will be used, and more.
There are many important things to know when it comes to trademark applications, and the best way to be prepared is to consult with an intellectual property attorney. Trust Larson & Larson for assistance in Tampa when you need professional assistance and protection for your brands, business, inventions, and works of art.
Different Applications for Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents
While similar, each type of intellectual property requires a different process for registration. Before you apply, make sure that you understand the differences.
- Trademarks: Usually a word, symbol, phrase, or design. The mark differentiates one product or brand from another. For example, the Nike “swoosh” or the McDonald’s arches are trademarked.
- Copyrights: Copyrights protect artistic or literary works. An example would be a film such as Casablanca.
- Patents: Patents protect inventions. For example, if you designed a cordless, solar-powered vacuum cleaner, then you would need a patent to protect the design.
The USPTO has a tool that helps you identify your awareness level of the various components of intellectual property. Utilize this tool before submitting trademark applications to gain a better understanding of your registration or consult with a lawyer in Tampa.
You Must Meet Certain Guidelines for Trademark Applications
For successful trademark registrations, applicants must meet certain guidelines. The mark cannot be too similar to another. If you want to register a logo for your Tampa business that has two palm trees, the USPTO may deny your application if another company’s logo with two palm trees looks too similar to yours. If your mark is likely to be confused with another, the USPTO will deny registration. However, if you are a clothing company that sells t-shirts and the other logo represents a banking service, then the USPTO may allow both the marks because they are not representative of related goods or services.
Fanciful and Arbitrary Trademarks
Generally, marks are categorized as fanciful or arbitrary, suggestive, descriptive, or generic. Fanciful or arbitrary marks are the strongest and most easily protected marks due to their inherent distinctiveness. Fanciful marks are not dictionary words and have no definition or known meaning. Arbitrary marks are real words, but they are not related to the goods or services. For example, Kodak is a fanciful mark, while Apple is an arbitrary mark.
Suggestive, Descriptive, and Generic Trademarks
Suggestive marks indirectly refer to the goods or services. For example, Microsoft (software for microcomputers). Descriptive marks simply describe the good or service, such as Bank of America. A generic mark is the common name for the goods or services and incapable of trademark protection, such as Restaurant for restaurant services.
Trust a Lawyer to Keep You Informed and On Track with Your Trademark Application
If you are ready to pursue your trademark applications, consult with a professional trademark attorney. At Larson & Larson in Tampa, we make sure our clients get the support they need when registering their intellectual property. Contact us online or give us a call at (813) 223-3226 to schedule a consultation.