• Legal
    4 useful tips to register a trademark for a company

    Trademarking your company is essential to help customers and clients identify your services and goods. The requirement for trademark name filing is that your trademark is only for commerce purposes. Additionally, the label should not be the same or similar to another brand or company’s trademark. Once these requirements are met, you can approach either an attorney or trademark services for assistance. Here are a few more tips to remember while trademarking your company.

    Ensure your trademark is unique

    Conduct a thorough and complete trademark due diligence to ensure that your trademark is similar to that of another organization or brand, also known as trademark clearance research. This essential to stay out of legal troubles and avoid the expenses of rebranding in the future. Again, this type of research can help you to determine whether you can get exclusive rights on your brand.

    Pick a trademark that can be protected

    When it comes to trademarking your company or brand, it is advisable to pick something as fanciful as you can. Not all names and words can be protected as a trademark. For instance, “money holder” is a generic name for wallets or descriptive terms such as “the bag shop.” Such names are difficult to be protected using a trademark. Whereas if you pick a made-up word for your brand, such as Texaco®, it can be easily protected. Moreover, fanciful names are hard to replicate by others seeking to trademark their brand or company.

    Register as early as possible

    Trademarking your company name with the USPTO or The United States Patent and Trademark Office will give your exclusive rights. You own the trademark registration from the date you have filed your application. The earlier you file your trademark register, the easier it will be to prevent competitors from using a similar trademark. You will hold the rights to your brand from an earlier date. Also, the initial registration will be like a notice to your potential competitors.

    Monitor your trademark

    Registering your trademark is just the beginning. To completely safeguard your brand or company’s identity, you need to be on a constant lookout for copy-cats. To ensure that your brand identity is not diluted, you need to regularly monitor your trademark so that another company or brand does not use it; otherwise, you may lose the exclusive rights to your label. If you are planning to expand overseas, make sure to protect your trademark under foreign laws.

  • Legal
    4 important things to know before getting a company trademarked

    The business name and logo hold a great deal of importance, as they are an essential part of the identity of your business. A meaningful name or logo adds a good touch to the identity of your business. But how do you know if someone is not going to tweak and make it their own? That it won’t remain uniquely yours? This is where understanding trademark name filing and trademark services become important.

    Trademarking your company name provides value to the business. It also covers all your products and services under the trademark. This provides your business with its own brand status.

    Check availability

    Before you set out for the trademark name filing, do your research. Your research should include data collection to ensure that the availed trademark services do not infringe on someone else’s existing trademarks. Do not go in unprepared to file your documents only to have your application rejected. Plus, keep in mind that if you are planning a bigger, brighter future for your business, you cannot have trademarks similar to others,which can confuse users.

    Sooner the better

    Registration of a trademark after trademarking your company name is not a compulsion. However, it does allow one the right to sue the infringer under the civil and common law. The registration gives you rights to the name and logo that are solely yours, which makes it an offense if someone else is trying to use it. Hence, it is advisable to have the trademark registered without delay.

    Use correct symbols

    Before your application was registered, you were probably using the (™) symbol to indicate that you have applied to obtain a unique identity for your business. However, after having successfully trademarked your company name by using the trademark services your (™) symbol is no longer required. After receiving the get-go from the federal registration you will be required to use a different symbol. To indicate that the trademark name filing process has been completed, the symbol “R” is used.

    Keep track of your marks

    The growth and development of your business are associated with the names and logos that you trademark. It is important to keep track of your usage and your renewal dates, so you don’t lose your rights later on. Additionally, keeping track of the usage helps identify infringers, if any. It will also give you an idea if there are other companies or brands with trademarked symbols similar to yours.

  • Legal
    3 most inexpensive online trademark services

    A trademark can be a name, tagline, or logo to give a unique identification to your product or business. Trademarks are a valuable part of the intellectual property owned by a business, which helps in distinguishing goods and services in the same business sector.

    The cheapest way to get a trademark is to design and register one for yourself. It is recommended to get assistance when working with trademarks because a small error in registration and research can result in conflict from another party. There are online trademark search and registration services, which are cheaper alternatives to hiring a local trademark attorney, and can help you with efficient registration. Mentioned below are three online trademark services that are the cheapest ways to get a trademark.

    LegalZoom
    Established in 2001, the online trademark service is a reasonable alternative to hiring an attorney for your trademark. It allows you to choose from Basic and Complete coverage plans that are priced at $199 and $219 respectively. The complete coverage also provides color adjustment, digitization, and compilation of your trademark specimens, a feature that not every trademark service provides. LegalZoom is also highly rated due to its ease of use, and easy-to-understand questionnaires to gather necessary information. Moreover, it allows you to check the status online anytime, and provides assistance through call or email.

    TrademarkPlus
    It is one of the most popular and cheapest ways to get a trademark for your business. Average Trademark search and registration packages range from $199 to $399 while TrademarkPlus charges between $49 and $149. The trademark service claims to process any trademark search within one business day of receiving application materials. TrademarkPlus helps in identifying similar trademarks that may cause conflict, thereby avoiding the likelihood of application rejection. Its trademark watching service helps protect your business by monitoring your trademark at the national, federal state, or international level. You’ll also get an alert if anyone attempts to use a similar mark.

    Trademark Engine
    Another cheap way to get a trademark is to opt for Trademark Engine. It can be a good choice to trademark your intellectual property of your business. Its basic registration package starts from $99. The Standard Package includes Transfer/Assignment template and six months of trademark monitoring for $149. The Deluxe Package gives you a full year of trademark monitoring and 24-hour processing time for $199. Trademark Engine can also let you perform free trademark search of pending and even live trademarks. It also has its own learning center where it provides answers to various trademark and copyright related questions.

  • Legal
    3 simple and cheap ways to get a trademark

    If you’ve recently established a business, the first thing you must do is get a trademark for your company name. This protects your brand and ensures that no other business can make profits off your sales by starting a similar business with a similar name. There are several ways to acquire a trademark, and here, we’ll explore the three cheapest ways to get a trademark for your business.

    Register a business name in your state

    State trademark registration is probably the cheapest way to get a trademark for your company, but you must know that it offers protection only within your state. If you have formed a formal business entity, your business name is already registered in your state. This means other businesses are aware of your brand name, and no other company can be formed in your state with the same name. The fee for business entity formation varies in each state.

    In some states, your business name can be registered as a trade name, also known as a “doing business as” (DBA) name, if you operate as a sole proprietorship or partnership. Typically, the fee for registering your company name statewide ranges between $50 and $150, depending on the state.

    Trademark a business name with the USPTO

    Applying at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is another cheap way to get a trademark for your business. The significant benefit of getting a trademark through the USPTO is that it offers nationwide protection. You can apply for trademark registration online using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Alternatively, you can file a paper application, but it’s recommended that you do it electronically as there can be a substantial difference in fees. The fees for electronic filing with the USPTO start from $225 per class of goods and services, but they are much higher if you’re filing a paper application.

    Use online legal services

    Using online legal services is an excellent alternative if you’re not willing to pay considerable fees to a lawyer. Online legal services like LegalZoom.com, Legal-Sherpa.com, Trademarks411.com, and Trademarkia.com can help you file a trademark application. Online services typically advertise fees as low as $150-$200, depending on the kind of services you want. However, this fee is in addition to the filing fee you will be paying the government or the USPTO.

  • Legal
    4 tips to help you patent your brilliant ideas

    Got a brilliant idea in the middle of the night? Already have ideas to make it a reality? Now that you have an idea and have worked out all the math and are ready to kick start the process. The first thing you need to do is to secure your idea so that someone else does not plagiarize it. In order to do so, you need to patent your idea, which is a task in itself. Here are some tips that will be of great help with patenting an idea to get you started.

    Secure a space online

    In today’s technologically driven lifestyle, patenting an idea alone is not enough. Securing yourself a domain name and a web address before getting your trademark registered is a smart move. This way, you won’t need help patenting an idea all over again when you realize that you do not have a web address available for the trademark you already registered.

    Test the tide of your ideas

    A prototype helps define the functionality of your idea and brings to light the flaws, if any. In some instances, prototypes prove to be a saving grace as some ideas might theoretically seem brilliant but do not work out on a practical level. Not to mention, they are also a great ally in convincing your investors of your brilliance and obtaining brownie points when applying for patents. A prototype, therefore, provides much-needed help while patenting an idea that you envisioned.

    Get a professional ally

    Patenting an idea can be a daunting process. However, don’t give up on the first try. After you have done some basic research on your own and know enough of the paperwork involved in getting a patent for your idea, get help. Hiring a patent attorney is highly recommended, as they can help patent an idea on a professional level without all the technical and legal jargon fraying them.

    Be descriptive

    While you are in the front of the patent examiner trying to convince them why you deserve that patent, your description of your genius idea will serve you best. The idea, its description, the logic and semantics will help with swaying the officer your way when patenting an idea. This means that along with a prototype, you should also be well-versed in putting your idea into words.

  • Legal
    8 easy steps to patent an idea

    Federal governments grant inventors an exclusive right that gives them total ownership over their idea. These grants are called patents and provide protection for a period of time. To get a patent, the inventions must be concrete, useful, and unique. Naturally occurring substances and laws of nature, among others, cannot be patented under any circumstance. Some examples of patentable inventions include

    • Medical devices
    • Computer/tech products
    • Chemical formulas
    • Musical instruments
    • Medications

    Three different kinds of patents are recognized, they are

    • Utility patent
      Around 90 percent of all patent ideas fall under this type. New machines and processes qualify as a utility patent and are valid for 20 years from the date of filling.
    • Design patent
      As the name suggests, this patent is granted to unique designs of a product or manufactured object.
    • Plant patent
      The invention of a new and distinct variety of plant through means of asexual reproduction falls under this patent category.

    How to fill a patent application form?

    The regulatory authority for everything concerned with patents is the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It has laid down specific rules for filing applications, which are explained below:

    • Explore the USPTO (and other) databases
      It’s not entirely impossible that your invention could have already been patented earlier. So, before filling the application form, breeze through the USPTO database and a few other publications to ensure your product is indeed unique.
    • Reach out to a patent attorney
      The USPTO recommends contacting a registered patent attorney for filing your application. This is because the process can get slightly challenging and an attorney can help avoid mistakes that could prove costly later.
    • Check the type you need
      As explained earlier, there are three types of patent. So, determine which kind fits your idea.
    • Submit provisional patent application
      Filing a provisional application allows you to claim the right over the invention before anyone else.
    • Electronic Filing System
      The USPTO encourages inventors to fill their ideas through the Electronic Filing System (EFS-Web). It’s just as efficient as paper-based filing and allows authors to submit their inventions as is.
    • Prepare to present
      In this step, you’ll need to explain your entire invention from scratch. This includes defining the objective, abstract, methodology, etc. We advise taking the advice of an attorney.
    • Review the application
      After completing the application, review it time and again to make sure it explains your invention as perfectly as possible.
    • Patent process and approval
      A patent examiner is assigned to every case. Working closely with them ensures that any of their doubts are quickly cleared and your application moves forward. Upon approval from the examiner, you or your attorney will be notified.
  • Legal
    Copyright vs. trademark – Protecting your company’s name

    With more new businesses launching each year than we can keep up with, creating a unique business identity has become a top priority. Your company’s name represents your image in the outside world.

    If you’re looking to protect your company name, you’ll come across terms like “copyright” and “trademark.” You may also ask questions such as “how to copyright my company name?”. Well, to answer that, let’s first understand the difference between these two terms.

    Copyright vs. trademark

    The term copyright refers to the laws protecting intellectual property such as songs, books, paintings, and photographs. But ideas cannot be secured under copyright laws. This implies the idea you have for a novel or jingle cannot be covered unless it has manifested into a tangible asset. Essentially, after the novel is written and the jingle is composed, they can be protected. So, the answer to “how to copyright my company name?” is that it doesn’t fall under this category.

    Protecting your company’s name requires a trademark application. This will help clients easily distinguish your company and its products from those of your competitors. Your company needs to be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for protection. The USPTO only registers company trademarks that are not likely to be confused with existing ones.

    How to trademark your company name?

    You’ve understood why copyright isn’t needed, so let’s learn how to register your company name with the USPTO for a trademark. This three-step process will help you get this smoothly done.

    • Search the site
      A trademark search on the USPTO website can help you determine potential trademark problems like finding names that are similar to that of your company. Essentially, this search alerts you of the possibility that the likelihood of confusion with other brands may hinder registration for a trademark.
    • Submit an application
      If you feel hopeful after the search, the next step is to file an application with the USPTO. You can apply online through their website. A nominal fee will be charged for your trademark application. You can check the USPTO website for details.
    • Coordinate with a USPTO attorney
      An attorney representing the USPTO will review your trademark application and mail you if there are any problems. You must respond before the deadline to avoid your application from getting rejected.