Fayetteville, Arkansas Trademark Attorney
Trademarks are an important aspect of intellectual property. A trademark is a crucial detail that will be used by consumers to identify your product from a competitor’s product. That is why it is important to have a unique trademark and ensure that another individual or company does not infringe on your trademark rights. If you or a business associate needs assistance protecting your trademark, you should consult with an experienced Fayetteville trademark attorney.
At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP our attorneys are prepared to help you protect your trademark from infringement. We understand your need to maintain goodwill with consumers, and we are ready to assist you with all of your trademark needs. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us at (479) 439-9840 or reach us online.
What is a Trademark?
Generally, a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination of all four, that is used to distinguish the source of goods from other similar goods. A service mark is a similar type of mark used to identify a source of services rather than physical items. An example of a prominent trademark would be the mustang icon on a Ford Mustang; while a prominent service mark would be McDonald’s golden arches (which can also double as a trademark).
It is important to know the difference between trademarks, copyrights, and patents, the main protections under intellectual property law. Copyrights are used to protect original works of authorship, like a novel, a song, or a sculpture. Patents, instead, are used to protect inventions. For example, if you created a new type of vehicle, you would seek a patent to protect your invention from infringement. Trademarks, in contrast, protect any goods or items for sale that have a name or a unique logo. For example, if you came up with a memorable and unique name for the vehicle you designed, you could seek to have that registered as a trademark.
If you need to know more about creating a trademark, you should speak with an experienced Fayetteville trademark lawyer.
Registering a Trademark in Arkansas
To register a trademark, you must file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO will determine whether a trademark should be approved or denied registration. One of the main reasons a trademark is denied is for “likelihood of confusion” between the applicant’s trademark and a previously registered trademark. A trademark could even be denied if another person or business submitted an application with a similar mark that has not yet been approved.
To determine whether a trademark will cause a likelihood of confusion, the USPTO will primarily look at two factors:
- Whether the applicant’s mark and a previously registered mark are similar
- Whether the goods and/or services provided by each party would make it difficult for consumers to discern between the two trademarks
It is important to note that similar trademarks or similar goods and services are not enough to show a likelihood of confusion. If identical trademarks exist, but the goods or services are not similar, then it is possible that the USPTO will decide the marks do not cause confusion. Each case concerning similar trademarks is decided using the unique circumstances of the case.
You should also consider performing a thorough trademark search before you submit a registration application. While trademark registrations are considered on a case-by-case basis, executing a trademark search could help you save time and money waiting only to have your application denied. That is why it is important to have a strong trademark; some of the strongest trademarks are completely arbitrary or fanciful, while suggestive or descriptive trademarks are often harder to protect.
Even if your trademark is not registered, it may still have common law protections, but registering your mark will grant you even more advantages. Courts and federal law protect registered trademarks with set rules, whereas common law protections require an uphill battle in each case. For example, registration of your mark will grant you a legal presumption that you own the trademark and an exclusive right to use the trademark nationwide. Other protections that come with trademark registration include:
- Public notice of your ownership of the trademark
- Your trademark will be listed in USPTO’s online database
- Registration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to halt the importation of goods that infringe upon your trademark
- The ability to use the federal registration symbol “®”
- The right to file a lawsuit concerning trademark infringement
- The ability to use your U.S. trademark registration to support foreign mark registration
Fayetteville, Arkansas Trademark Lawyers
If you or a family member needs assistance to register a trademark, you should speak with an experienced Fayetteville trademark lawyer. At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, our lawyers have extensive experience handling complex trademark issues. Our firm can help you research and register your trademark with the USPTO. We are also available to help you litigate a trademark infringement case. To schedule your confidential consultation with one of our dedicated lawyers, call us at (479) 439-9840 or reach us online.