Tacoma Trademark Lawyer

Trademark Lawyer Tacoma, WA

Trademark Lawyer Tacoma, WAIf you invent something useful to others, you might consider meeting with a trademark lawyer Tacoma, WA residents trust from Sierra IP Law, PC about applying for a patent to protect your rights. A patent credits you for your invention and prevents others from using, selling, or making it. If you are wondering whether you need a trademark or patent, we can help you figure that out. Typically, if you are attempting to protect a mark that is unique to your services or goods, then you need to apply for a trademark. However, if you want to protect the design of a product or the product itself, apply for a patent. The following steps are necessary to obtain a patent.

  1. Make Sure Your Idea or Invention Is Original

Before applying for a patent, it is necessary to confirm that you are the first person who has created your invention or are the first person to use an invention in a specific way. Even if a patent exists, you can still obtain a second patent if you develop a new way to apply an invention. 

  1. Consider Possible Future Applications

Your invention might include multiple uses, and someone else might consider those. If you want to get the most credit for your concept, think through as many potential modifications and applications as possible. Patenting various versions of your idea will give you the broadest range of credit.

  1. Select a Patent Type

As your Tacoma trademark lawyer can review with you, this step is critical to the patient application process. You may decide that one of these patent types suits your needs:

    • Provisional Patent: If you don't want to risk that someone else will move ahead with finalizing the same invention before you, you can receive exclusive rights to everything you develop until the time you receive this patent. Once you file a provisional patent, you have one year to finalize your concept.

    • Utility Patent: Your invention may qualify for a utility patent if deemed practical, beneficial, and operable. Obtaining a utility patent takes up to three years and requires payment of periodic maintenance fees; however, no one else can make, use or sell your invention for twenty years.

    • Design Patent: Design patents last fourteen years and prohibit others from replicating your physical and ornamental design. 
  1. Submit an Application

After selecting the appropriate patent, you can apply to The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patent applications are complicated documents that require an interpretation of technical terms and submission of specific details. Great care is required to fill out these multi-page documents.

  1. Wait for a Reply

Although it can take one year to hear back from the patent office, you will likely be asked to submit additional information that could determine whether or not you receive a patent. While you wait, you can work on plans to produce and distribute your invention. 

Inventing something new and useful takes significant effort and energy. Consult with our Tacoma lawyer trademark team from Sierra IP Law, PC to guide you through the patent or trademark process, and focus your attention on your invention.

Trademark Lawyer Tacoma, WA

Essential Roles of a Trademark Lawyer

Trademarks are essential in any business or company, which is why a trademark lawyer Tacoma, WA  business owners rely on an exceptional level of service should be contacted when dealing with such matters. One of the main reasons why this is the case, is because trademarks aid businesses in identifying their brand.  Moreover, this applies to all aspects within the business as well. This ranges from the marketing work that is done, the logo that the business has, the type of advertising that is done along with the kind of methods that are implemented, and more. These are some of the core aspects that aid in helping a business to establish their own identity, through a trademark.  Although simultaneously, if a company is not careful, their trademark can be used by other businesses that run a similar brand.  Sometimes, this is done intentionally, while other times, this is done unintentionally.  

Stolen & Misappropriated Trademarks

An example of a stolen trademark, would be a hypothetical situation, involving McDonalds vs Burger King, which if it were to happen, would be the ground for a trademark lawsuit to take place.  As many know, while McDonalds and Burger King are prominent fast food chains, and have their own unique identities, which is why people are able to differentiate them over the other.  However, let’s say that when it came to both fast food chains, Burger King ended up changing their slogan to something that was very similar to McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it!” This is an example of what trademark issues would look like.  The point being, if a business or company based in Tacoma or surrounding areas, feels like their trademark has been used, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it is important to contact a trademark lawyer in Tacoma, WA. An experienced lawyer that specializes in trademark law will be able to assist in identifying whether or not there are violations of intellectual property or trademark rights.

The Role of a Trademark Lawyer

What a trademark lawyer would aid in doing, is that they would answer questions, pertaining to the chain that has questions about why they feel their trademark has been stolen, and more.  For example; if McDonalds wanted to take legal action against Burger King, because they felt like their slogan was being used without permission, some of the questions that may end up being asked, would pertain to the following.  Is this the first trademark issue that you have had with Burger King? What has led to this incident?  Slogan aside, are there any other reasons, as to why you feel like your trademark is being stolen?  These are some of the questions that would be important to take into consideration.  Moreover, not each case is black and white, and as such, asking such questions, would aid in narrowing down  the legal case, in a refined manner. 

Common Misconceptions About Trademarks

If you wish to register a trademark, you may want to contact a trademark lawyer Tacoma, WA residents trust. Trademarks refer to any recognizable design or sign that identifies a product or service, but there are still many misunderstandings about them. Here are some common misconceptions about trademarks that you shouldn’t believe.

  • Performing a Google search is sufficient to find out if someone has registered a trademark. It might seem like you can find any information through a Google search these days. While Google is definitely a useful tool, you can’t always assume everything is true on the Internet. That’s why it’s worth it to hire a skilled lawyer. He or she will know what to look for and how to conduct an effective search.
  • Once you register a trademark, you don’t have to do anything else. Another common misconception is that you don’t have to take any other steps after registering a trademark. However, just because you have your trademark registered, doesn’t mean that competitors won’t try to copy them. That is why you must always keep an eye on your competitors. You can’t rely on the Trademark Office to do it for you.
  • You can always use your own name as a trademark. This isn’t true either. As a Tacoma trademark lawyer can confirm, trademark rights are only given to the first person to obtain registration for a particular name. Therefore, if you share the same name as someone else and that person registers the trademark first, you won’t be able to use it as a brand for your organization.
  • There is plenty of time to register a trademark. Some business owners make the mistake of waiting too long to register a trademark. They assume that there’s no rush. However, you must understand that trademark registration works on a first-to-file basis. If someone files the same trademark before you do, that person would generally be entitled to the trademark. Therefore, you should try to register your trademark as soon as possible.
  • Trademarks are only for big companies. Some small business owners don’t believe that they are suited for trademark protection. They may think it’s reserved for huge companies, like Adidas and Nike. However, the size of your business should not dictate whether or not you get a trademark registration. You never know if your business will experience major growth in the future. You want to protect your brand as soon as possible.
  • A registered trademark is enforceable globally. This is another common myth about trademarks. If your trademark is registered in the U.S., it is not enforceable in France and other countries. You will have to apply for multiple registrations in multiple countries.

  • You don’t need a lawyer. Registering a trademark can be complex, so it’s wise to have a Tacoma trademark lawyer on your side. He or she can make sure that you fill out your trademark application correctly and increase your chances of success.

Contact a Local Trademark Lawyer

Lastly, another important factor to consider, is that because the scenarios and facts of every case vary widely, it is important that legal businesses and companies who handle cases, such as trademark issues research the legal options that are available, so that a wide variety of different types of cases can be handled, in an effective manner. For example; Sierra IP Law, PC, has a strong focus on work aspects, pertaining to a multitude of cases, such as utility patents, plant patents, digital privacy laws, and more.  This aids in increasing variety, for the kind of work that needs to be done in a legal business.  

Potential Trademark Issues for Small Business Owners

A Tacoma, WA trademark lawyer knows that most businesses develop a logo or other symbol that they use to help advertise their business. The goal is to create a “brand” that consumers will recognize. As business start-up owners focus their efforts on creating a business plan, deciding what advertising techniques to use, and building a website, they often forget the importance of looking into trademark issues before using a brand name or logo for their businesses.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design, or a combination of these that identify particular goods. It is often a trademark that distinguishes one company’s goods from another company’s goods. While many business owners give significant thought and consideration to what trademark to choose, they may not realize the importance of choosing a trademark that is both eligible for federal registration and legally defensible. Every business owner wants to ensure that other businesses or parties cannot simply use their business trademark without permission. This is why there is a federal registration process and trademark laws. There is also a state registration process, as well.

How do you register a trademark?

As a Tacoma trademark lawyer can explain, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers a federal registry to help prevent the illegal use of trademarks. You can also run a search through USPTO when choosing a trademark so as to not violate any trademark laws and ensure that the trademark that you want to use is not a duplicate of another business’s trademark or too similar to another company brand.

Do I have to register my trademark with the state of Washington?

Many states, including the state of Washington, offer a similar trademark registry, through the Secretary of State’s Office. You also can search the state’s database of trademarks in order to avoid using or duplicating the trademark that you would like to use to market your business.

Are there any trademark restrictions?

Legal challenges to a trademark can be costly, and lengthy, and ultimately result in your inability to use the trademark that you chose for your business. Therefore, it makes the best business sense to complete state and federal trademark database searches prior to beginning to use the trademark that you have chosen. While this is not a foolproof way to protect your business trademark from legal challenges, it certainly will reduce the potential for lawsuits about your trademark, which is a tremendous advantage.

Contact a Trademark Law Firm for Legal Help

All businesses, both large and small, should be aware of trademark issues and how they can result in expensive, lengthy litigation. In order to avoid future legal issues, it is in your company’s best interest to have an experienced Tacoma trademark lawyer complete the search and documentation needed to register your company’s trademark. Call Sierra IP Law, PC to discover the full spectrum of trademark, intellectual property, and other legal representation our firm provides. We are here to counsel you on every move that you take with regard to your business.

5 Things You Might Be Surprised You Can Trademark

With the help of a Tacoma, WA trademark lawyer, trademarking is an important step for businesses and individuals to protect their brand and the unique elements of their products or services. You might think only logos and company names can be trademarked, but there are actually many more things that can be trademarked. Learn about five things you may be surprised you can trademark, and then contact a lawyer at Sierra IP Law, PC for help.

1) Words

When it comes to trademark law, the term “words” is used very broadly. It can refer to anything from a full phrase, to just a single letter or number. Generally speaking, any unique words that distinguish your product or service from other competitors can be trademarked. However, there are certain words that are off-limits for trademarks. These include generic terms, like “Apple” for fruit or “Milk” for a dairy product, as well as terms used to describe a general class of goods or services, such as “computer” for technology or “accounting” for financial services. Additionally, trademarks can not be immoral, deceptive, scandalous, or disparaging.

2) Phrases

If you have a clever phrase or slogan that is unique to your business, you may be able to protect it with a trademark. Trademarking phrases can help you differentiate your brand from competitors and ensure that consumers associate the phrase with your business. It’s important to note, however, that when applying for a trademark, the phrase must be used in association with specific goods or services. This means that merely having a phrase or slogan won’t guarantee a trademark.

3) Colors

You may be surprised to know that you can trademark a color. This is true if the color is used in association with goods or services, and serves to identify the source of those goods or services. For example, the color pink has been trademarked in connection with construction and building materials by Home Depot. If a customer sees the color pink on building materials, they would immediately recognize it as originating from Home Depot. While trademarking a color is difficult to enforce, it does provide protection for the owner’s goods and services. To trademark a color, you must demonstrate that the public associates that particular color with your goods or services, and that you have used the color exclusively in commerce for at least five years.

4) Personal Names

If you have a unique name that is associated with your business or brand, then you may be able to trademark it. A Tacoma trademark lawyer will be able to help you determine if your name is eligible for trademark protection. If it is, you can gain exclusive rights to the use of that name in association with the goods and services listed in the application. That means others won’t be able to use the same name or a confusingly similar one when offering similar products and services.

5) Sounds

If you have an audio jingle or a sound that has become associated with your business, it may be possible to trademark it and protect it from being used by competitors. Generally speaking, sound trademarks must be distinctive, meaning they should be widely recognizable by your target customers as being associated with your business. Additionally, the trademark must not be functional - meaning it cannot be seen as having any functional purpose other than identifying your business.

If you need the help of a Tacoma trademark lawyer then contact one today at Sierra IP Law, PC for help!

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