Registering a trademark with the USPTO can be exciting, but it may also be a time of many questions. Before you begin the filing process in Tampa, here are some frequently asked questions to help you get started.
What is a Specimen?
When you file for a trademark, the USPTO will ask for a specimen. Put simply, a specimen is an example of your mark “in action.” However, it is more than just an image of your logo.
If you sell goods, you may need to submit a label, tag, container, or manual that shows your mark. For goods, the USPTO generally does not accept business cards, stationery, catalogs, or brochures as a specimen.
If your Tampa business offers services, you can demonstrate your specimen with a flyer, ad, brochure, or website. Again, stationery may not be an acceptable specimen. However, you may be able to use a business card, but it must include the mark and show the connection between the mark and the services you offer.
Can I Assign or Transfer Ownership of the Trademark?
You can assign ownership to another person or business if you abide by the USPTO’s transfer guidelines. The USPTO refers to transfers as assignments, which typically need a written contract to complete. Assignments will incur a fee. Any trademark can be sold or assigned to another person, even if they aren’t registered or are pending. Transfers must include the “goodwill” of the entity associated with the mark. It is possible to assign a mark to multiple entities, too.
How Can I Avoid Fraudulently Filing?
Many creators worry that they will submit a fraudulent filing on accident. The USPTO reserves the right to cancel any registration if they uncover fraudulent or false statements. If the USPTO cancels your application or registration, you cannot recover the fees you paid to file in the first place. Therefore, inaccuracies can be costly both in terms of registration fees as well as losing ownership of your mark. The best way to avoid fraudulent filing is to be completely honest and work with a trademark attorney in Tampa for assistance.
Do I Even Need to Register a Trademark?
You don’t have to register a trademark to use it but registering with the USPTO comes with many advantages. For one, you will have legal ownership over the mark, along with exclusive rights to use said mark in conjunction with your goods or services. Should anyone infringe upon your rights by using your mark, as the owner of the mark, an attorney in Tampa can help you sue to stop the infringement from happening.
How Long Do Trademarks Last?
If you successfully register a trademark with the USPTO, you must file a Declaration of Use between the fifth- and sixth-year anniversary of registering and within every nine- to ten-year anniversary of registering thereafter. The Declaration must include a specimen as well as the associated fee. As long as the owner reregisters every ten years, the owner can keep the trademark indefinitely.