Trademark Attorney Michigan
Buckert Patent & Trademark Law Firm works with businesses and entrepreneurs to help them register their trademarks and protect their intellectual property. The firm has extensive knowledge of trademark law and procedures, and will work with you to register your trademarks, service marks, and slogans.
We utilize the Buckert ISGF process, which means we only file trademark applications with a relatively high likelihood of success. This prevents our clients from wasting their time and money, and has allowed the firm to achieve over a 90% trademark approval success rate.
The Buckert ISGF process includes:
- I – We interview the prospect to thoroughly understand their trademark needs and build a relationship with them
- S – We utilize proven search strategies to confirm the likelihood of obtaining trademark protection prior to filing a federal trademark application
- G – We provide guidance to clients on how to maximize the likelihood of obtaining trademark protection
- F – We file a U.S. trademark application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)
Our expertise and experience in intellectual property allows us to efficiently and skillfully obtain the trademark protection our clients are entitled to. As a result, we also give clients peace of mind knowing their competitors cannot copy their trademarks or logos, and cause harm to their reputation.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a recognizable word, design (logo), or a combination that identifies products or services from a particular source and distinguishes them from others to protect intellectual property. A trademark may be located on the product itself or on a package holding a product. They can also appear on other marketing materials including websites, pamphlets, physical and electronic communications, or other forms of intellectual property. Trademarks can be classified as either a word mark or a design mark.
A word mark is just that – words. When you file a trademark application for a word mark, you are just protecting a series of words. A work mark is one or more words that can be typed in a standard character format using a keyboard without any stylization.
In contrast, a design mark is generally a graphic design with or without wording, or just stylized wording. Often companies have a digital mascot or symbol that consumers associate with the company and these are design marks. Additionally, some design marks can include a graphic design and a combination of words. A registration for a design mark can protect the colors and stylized text of the words, as well as the graphic design of the mark.
Proper Use of a Trademark
When it comes to the filing of trademark applications, it is also important that the word mark or design mark be used properly as a trademark. Proper use can vary depending on where the applicant is using the mark. In particular, if being displayed on a website, the mark should be displayed at the top of the webpage and be spaced apart from other text and images. Also, the mark should not be embedded within a paragraph on a webpage which would not be considered proper trademark use. To enhance the mark, it should be in a larger size than other text on the webpage. If the mark is being used on a product, it should be shown in a larger size than the other text and spaced apart from other text and images.
Conducting a Trademark Search
To determine whether a trademark can be protected with a federal trademark registration, a trademark attorney can perform a trademark search using a federal trademark database. Trademark attorneys often use the USPTO database to perform trademark searches. Consumers may be unable to determine which products are from a particular company if trademarks from separate companies are too similar. To prevent confusion in the marketplace, laws have been created to prevent the use and registration of confusingly similar marks to registered trademarks.
Federal Trademark Application and Trademark Registration Process
An advantage of obtaining a federal trademark registration is that you obtain nationwide rights to exclusively use the mark on particular goods and services. However, the federal trademark application process for protecting your trademark (i.e intellectual property) is relatively complicated. Accordingly, it is very beneficial to use an experienced trademark attorney to handle the trademark process from start to finish to greatly increase the probability of obtaining a trademark registration. The steps you will encounter when submitting the federal trademark application include the following:
Selecting a Mark
You should select a mark that you are confident can be protected with a federal registration. You must also decide whether to protect a word mark or a design mark. Finally, you are required to specify exactly which products and services are covered by your mark.
Preparing and Filing Your Federal Trademark Application
A trademark attorney can prepare and file the federal trademark application with the USPTO.
Monitoring the Application Process
The trademark attorney will keep track of the progress of your application because more paperwork and requirements will usually need to be submitted. With their help, you won’t miss crucial deadlines.
Application Is Reviewed
The USPTO will evaluate your application and determine if it complies with all filing requirements. Then, your application will be assigned to a trademark examiner. The trademark examiner will review the trademark application and will perform a trademark search to make an initial determination of the registrability of the mark. It can take several months for the USPTO to complete this stage. Occasionally, the trademark examiner will discover a problem with your application or the mark. If so, they will issue an office action outlining the grounds for rejection. The attorney has six months to reply to an office action. If you or your attorney fail to respond, your application will be deemed to have been abandoned.
Approved and Published
The trademark application will be published in the USPTO’s Official Gazette after the trademark examiner approves it for publication – which means that the trademark examiner wants to allow the trademark registration. This is a weekly publication posting trademarks so anyone who believes they might be disadvantaged by a trademark can oppose its registration. Any opposition to registration must be filed within 30 days of publication of the mark.
If you initially filed a use-based trademark application, after the publication and the opposition period, the USPTO will register your trademark and provide you with a certificate of registration. Alternatively, if you initially filed an intent-to-use trademark application, after the publication and the opposition period, you will receive a Notice of Allowance and will be given six months to use the mark in commerce and to file a Statement of Use. The Statement of Use indicates that the applicant has used the mark in commerce on the goods and services identified in the trademark application. After the Statement of Use is filed and accepted, the USPTO will register your trademark and provide a certificate of registration
Maintaining Your Trademark Registration
The trademark attorney can docket future maintenance tasks that are required to keep your trademark registration alive, and to notify you at the appropriate times.
Michigan Trademark Registration
It can also be advantageous, in some circumstances, to obtain a state trademark registration instead of a federal trademark registration.
For example, if after performing the federal trademark search, the trademark attorney indicates that you have a relatively low probability of obtaining a federal trademark registration based on previously registered marks, you may still be able to obtain a state trademark registration.
Also, if you are never going to conduct business across state lines (which would prevent a federal trademark registration), and you want to protect your trademark, you may be able to obtain a state trademark registration.
A Michigan trademark attorney can handle the registration process for your mark in Michigan from start to finish.
How Can an Intellectual Property Lawyer Help?
Intellectual property attorneys can handle the federal trademark application from start to finish and provide a higher probability of obtaining a federal trademark registration and a Michigan trademark registration. Also, when you have questions about the trademark registration process, you can ask a trademark attorney (i.e., an intellectual property attorney) for guidance.
How Our Firm Can Help You
We are experts at obtaining federal trademark registrations and Michigan trademark registrations. If you need assistance with protecting your trademark, we can assist you through the entire trademark process. For more information, call Buckert Law Firm for a free consultation.