Trademark Brand

Basic Trademark Information

A trademark is a brand for your product or service that consumers recognize. The trademark can be a word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services. The trademark is used to distinguish the maker of that product or service in the marketplace.

Common-law Trademark Rights vs. Having a Registered Trademark

Trademark rights arise when either (1) you start using the trademark for your product or service or (2) when you file a trademark application to register a mark on the bona fide intent to use the mark associated with a product or service in commerce regulated by the U.S. Congress.

However, these rights are limited, and they only apply to the geographic area in which you’re providing your goods or services. If you want to have a strong protection for your trademark brand in the entire US, then you’ll need to register a federal trademark with the USPTO. Legalbiz makes it easy and affordable to apply for a federal trademark registration.

Unlike copyrights or patents, trademark rights can last indefinitely if the owner continues to use the mark to identify its goods or services. The term of a federal trademark registration is 10 years, with 10-year renewal terms. However, between the fifth and sixth year after the date of initial registration, the registrant must file an affidavit setting forth certain information to keep the registration alive.

Use of the "TM," "SM" and "®" Symbols

Anyone who claims rights in a trademark may use the TM (trademark) or SM (service mark) designation with the mark to alert the public to the claim. It is not necessary to have a registration, or even a pending application, to use these TM or SM symbols.

The registration symbol, ®, may only be used when the trademark is registered in the USPTO. It is improper to use this symbol at any point before getting a registration.

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