What is “Mark Registration”?
In the context of intellectual property rights, “mark registration” or trademark registration refers to exclusive legal rights to use certain words or images associated with the company’s name brand. This is usually the company’s visual logo, along with keywords such as a slogan or company name.
A mark allows the public to readily identify a product and more importantly, to associate it with the company that produces and sells the product. Trademarks can also be used for services, not just products sold.
In many cases, a trademark will not be granted if it’s already being used by another company, or if it is likely to lead to “confusion” with another mark already being used. Getting a mark registered is probably one of the most important steps for preventing trademark infringement lawsuits.
What is Needed for Mark Registration?
Mark registration is a specific process that is usually done with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In order to register a mark, there is usually a fee (one fee for each mark registered). The process can often take a while to complete, and may require extensive legal documentation of the use of the mark. For instance, the applicant will usually be required to provide:
- A copy of the words and image associated with the mark
- The date of first use in commerce, if applicable
- A “specimen”, which is an example of how the mark is being used in business, along with the services provided in connection with the mark
- Other legal documents and items connected with the company mark
The rules and specifications for trademark application specimens can be fairly specific and may require the assistance of a lawyer.
What if I Have a Complaint or Issue With Mark Registration?
One important part about mark registration is that the mark can’t already be in use elsewhere. This requires a search of the intellectual property databases online in order to make sure that the mark isn’t already being claimed or in use in connection with another product or service. This is a complicated process that may also require the assistance of an attorney.
Alternatively, it may be the case that another business entity is attempting to use your mark that already has official protected status. In such cases, you may be able to sue for infringement damages and other remedies if the unauthorized usage has caused your business any losses.
Do I Need an Attorney for Help With Mark Registration?
Registering a mark is a complex process, and generally requires the assistance and oversight of a qualified intellectual property lawyer. Your attorney can help you with the various aspects of the registration process, including searches through databases, and the providing of the required documents. Also, a lawyer may be needed if you need to file a lawsuit regarding a protected trademark.