A Trademark is a word, symbol, name, or device, or some combinations of these things, that is used in conjunction with certain goods to identify the source of those goods. A Service Mark is such an item when used in conjunction with services instead of goods. Trademarks and service marks are often called “brands”. The purpose of a trademark or service mark is to distinguish the source of goods or services of one party from those of other parties, which becomes part of the goodwill of a business. Trademarks and Service Marks may also be used to protect certain other distinguishing aspects such as color, and in some cases may even protect sound, scent, flavor, and motion.
US trademark or service mark rights ordinarily arise when a mark is placed into actual use in commerce on goods or services. A qualifying trademark or service mark may be registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office, which provides several advantages to the holder of the registration. Among those are: a legal presumption of ownership of the mark and the exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on the listed goods or services; the ability to bring a lawsuit in federal court to enforce the mark against infringers; the right to use the ® symbol in connection with the mark; and the opportunity to recover increased damages and attorney fees in the event of a willful infringement. The US Patent and Trademark Office also allows applications for registration to be filed based on an applicant’s bona fide intention to use a mark.
It is possible for anyone to prepare and file a US trademark application on their own, just as it is possible for anyone to prepare and file a lawsuit on their own. However, because lawsuits can be difficult and complicated, clients ordinarily engage an attorney to represent, assist and guide them through the litigation process. Similarly, because the process for applying for US trademark protection can be challenging and complicated, an experienced trademark attorney should be consulted at the earliest possible opportunity to represent, assist and guide the applicant through the process.
Foreign Trademark Protection. Because trademark protection beyond the United States is frequently important to its clients, Sierra IP Law, PC has established connections with trademark law firms in many foreign countries, and can act as a liaison between its clients and these law firms to assist its clients in pursuing foreign trademark protection.
Enforcement. If trademark rights are infringed, the attorneys at Sierra IP Law, PC have the experience and expertise to enforce those rights or defend against them, through state or federal court litigation if necessary, on behalf of their clients.
Licensing. The attorneys at Sierra IP Law, PC also have experience and expertise in transferring or receiving US trademark rights from one party to another, in whole or in part, whether by way of sale, license, assignment or otherwise.
Difference from Patent or Copyright. A patent provides protection for an invention (such as a process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or improvement thereof; an ornamental design; or an asexually reproducible plant). A trademark is a distinctive word, symbol, name, device, or combination thereof used on certain goods to identify their source; a service mark is such a distinctive item used on certain services. A copyright provides protection for certain works of original authorship (expressions) including literary works, musical works, dramatic works, choreographic works, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, audiovisual works, and sound recordings.