A trademark is the logo or brand name that represents goods or services. As an entrepreneur in the Tampa area, you will want to file a trademark application to make sure that any intellectual property (IP) is protected. Registering your mark means that you have a symbol, image, sound, or other distinctive identifier for your goods or services that you want to protect from infringement.
Before submitting an application, make sure that you are applying for the right kind of protection — a trademark, a copyright, and a patent are all different. Copyrights protect original artistic works such as novels, songs, architecture, computer software, or poetry. Patents protect inventions like machines or industrial processes. Depending on your business or service, you may need to file for more than type of protection. For example, if you have designed a shoe that molds to the wearer’s foot, you may file a patent for the design, a trademark for the name of the shoe, and a copyright for the TV commercial to advertise your product.
1. Solidify Your Trademark and Your Business Plan
Before you begin the trademark application process in Tampa, you want to make sure that you have your business plan in order. The intellectual property that you wish to register —whether it is a logo, slogan, or something else— is going to be under critical review. Therefore, you need to be sure that you have extensively researched that your mark is unique and not too similar to another already in use. If your mark is too much like another, or if it is too vague, it may receive a rejection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO requires you to specify whether your mark is a standard character mark, a stylized/design mark, or a sound mark.
- A standard character mark is also known as a word mark. It is made of letters, words, or numbers in any combination or arrangement.
- A stylized/design mark is words or logos with a certain arrangement or appearance. The McDonald’s golden arches, for example, are a stylized logo.
- A sound mark, as its name indicates, is a sound that indicates a particular good, service, or brand. An example would be NBC’s chime, which was the first successful sound mark registration.
2. Work with a Trademark Attorney to Perfect Your Application
If you need assistance with your trademark application or any other intellectual property registration, consult with an IP lawyer in the Tampa area. They will be able to assist you with research and assessing the uniqueness of your mark. Having a professional with experience to guide you through the process and answer your questions is invaluable. In addition to gathering research about other similar marks, they can also review your application to ensure it will not be denied due to errors. Many submissions are delayed or rejected due to application errors.
What to Include with Your Trademark Application
There are many items and specific information that you must include in your trademark application. If you do not include the requirements, the submission may be rejected. Working with a trademark attorney can ensure that your application complies with all filing requirements.
3. Submit Your Trademark Application
Once you have reviewed your trademark application with an intellectual property attorney in Tampa, your attorney will submit it to the USPTO.
The fees for a trademark application include both attorney’s fees and government filing fees. By working with a trademark attorney in the Tampa area you can ensure that your application is filed correctly the first time. One of the most efficient ways of filing a submission is electronically, rather than physical mail. An intellectual property attorney Tampa can help you avoid unnecessary penalties and streamline your application process.
Trust Larson & Larson, P.A. in St. Petersburg for Assistance
Wherever you are in the trademark application process, the attorneys at Larson & Larson can help. We help Tampa Bay entrepreneurs register their intellectual property.