Home » US Laws Surrounding Trademarks 

US Laws Surrounding Trademarks 

Companies will find themselves hiring counsel to file a trademark. US law defines trademarks as words, phrases, symbols, devices, and even colors. Any of these things can be eligible to receive a trademark when applied for. They relate to anything that will identify good as relating to a particular party or company. The proviso, though, is that trademarks must be used in commercial settings when it comes to receiving protection from the law.

How someone Can Check if a Trademarks is Registered in the US

A company must know how to check if there is a trademark registered already or contact a lawyer to check. This will save time in not applying for a trademark that is highly likely to be refused because it exists already. 

To check, the USPTO trademark database can be searched. You can use the trademark name search to see if a name is already there. If you are searching for a design mark in terms of a logo, you would need to look up your design code by making use of the USPTO Design Search Code Manual.

Does a US Trademark Provide International Protection?

US trademark registration does not protect a trademark in other countries. This is because trademarks are territorial and so need to be filed in each country. This then protects a company’s ideas and interests in that country too.

Filing with a specific country will mean checking the WIPO list of international trademark offices.

Can Non-US Companies or Citizens File Trademarks?

It is possible for companies or individuals not US-based to file trademarks but they must use a US attorney to do so. This makes sense as US attorneys are familiar with the American laws and the trademarks that exist already there.

Types of Trademarks

There are three types of trademarks that can be applied for.These include:

  1. Arbitrary and Fanciful Trademarks – the strongest of the trademarks registered will be those that are not connected to the products they are used on. This provides more flexibility for their owner.
  2. Suggestive Trademarks.
  3. Descriptive Trademarks.

What Will Happen if Someone Uses a Trademarked Name?

If an individual or company should use a trademark without obtaining express permission when they have no legal right to use it, then the trademark’s owner will be able to sue for trademark infringement. In the instance of a cannabis company, there are lots of fresh start-ups and often business owners don’t stop to consider trademark or copyright infringements when starting a business for the first time. This is another instance where an marijuana trademark lawyer well versed in branding law will either be helpful to smoothen out your business plan or settle a case with another company.

Trademark damages will involve monetary compensation that is awarded based on any loss of profits or economic harm that is caused to the company whose copyright has been infringed.

Can the Trademark Symbol Be Used Without Registering?

A company can use the TM symbol without registering but it will hold no legal meaning and provide no protection. It will not be difficult for others to check that there is no actual trademark in existence. These symbols will be seen after names and will, however, more often than not mean there is copyright protection. It is always worth checking the database mentioned, though.

You can liken the idea of using a fake TM symbol to having a burglar alarm that does not ring. It may deter a few but maybe not for long. Once it is discovered that the trademark is not worth the paper it is written on, so to speak, it will be worthless to a company. It is important to register for a genuine trademark to protect the products and interests of a company going forward. It is worth the legal effort to achievethis, and an attorney will, in any case, help a company through the whole process. The reward of copyright acceptance to a company will be greater market share in terms of a product’s sales.

The above is intended to provide a greater understanding of trademarks. It is always worth consulting an attorney to find out whether you are eligible to apply for a trademark and then using their services to register that trademark officially so that legal protection is provided. A company with a trademark will be able to gain the edge over its competitors that will then not be able to make use of their unique selling points to profit. It is so valuable to have that trademark and know that a special product is protected in the country where it is to be sold. This may begin in the US and then spread to other foreign parts as distributions increase further afield.