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Trademarks

International Companies Required to Have US Legal Representation to File a Trademark

A new rule from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires all international companies that wish to file a trademark application do so with the help of an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the United States. This includes any company wishing to file an application from Canada, as well. The new rule went into effect on August 3, 2019. The experienced intellectual property attorneys from the Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC can represent your company when you file an application for a trademark with the USPTO. 

The Rules for Canadian Companies

Canadian companies are no longer allowed to be represented by a Canadian attorney when filing for a trademark with the USPTO. This rule is in place for new trademark issues that are brought before the USPTO. Any existing trademark attorneys from Canada are permitted to represent their clients, if they are eligible, but the USPTO will still only communicate with the attorney appointed in the United States.

The Goals of the New Rule

The goals of the new rule from the USPTO include the following:

  • Safeguard the register for United States trademarks
  • Improve accuracy of all trademark applications made with the USPTO
  • Increase the compliance of customers of the USPTO with the trademark regulations and laws in place in the United States

Reasons for the New Rule

Aside from the goals mentioned above, the USPTO was forced to initiate the new rule for a few reasons. One of those reasons was that many trademark agents were operating under the guise that they were practicing law, representing trademark applicants of foreign companies without having the authorization to practice law. This means that these agents are not permitted to represent parties, registrants or applicants in front of the USPTO. The bottom line here is that the USPTO wants foreign applicants to be represented in the United States by a licensed attorney who knows the law and the requirements for filing a trademark application.

How an Attorney From the U.S. can Help

Now that your foreign company is required to have legal counsel from an attorney in the United States, you should know the benefits of working with one. The benefits include the following:

  • Search before filing the application to avoid wasting marketing dollars and time and infringement lawsuits 
  • Complete review of your application to ensure it meets United States laws and regulations
  • Correct any mistakes on your forms that could lead to the denial of your application
  • Legal strategy for filing your application 
  • Answer all of your questions related to the application process
  • File your application with the USPTO
  • Represent you in front of the USPTO and handle any opposition proceedings

Filing a Trademark from Outside the United States? Call the Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC

When you wish to file a trademark with the USPTO and are operating as a foreign company, the team from the Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC will be able to examine your situation, help complete the application, and represent you in front of the USPTO when you submit your trademark application. Call our office at 813-586-3351 or email us at consult@blawfirmpllc.com to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We look forward to being of service! 

Categories
Business Law Trademarks

Do I Own the Domain if I Own the Trademark?

If you are currently the owner of a specific domain, you might want to know if you are the owner of its trademark, too. People often tend to confuse the two, but there are differences between owning a domain name and owning a trademark. Just because you are the owner of a domain does not mean that you own its trademark. It is possible to own both, but you would need to take extra steps to make sure that you are the owner of both the domain and the trademark when you have a business and a website for it.

What is the Difference Between Owning a Domain Name and a Trademark?

When you are the owner of the domain, you are the one who owns the name of a specific website. As an example, if someone owns a website called ThisIsMyDomain.com, it belongs to them because it is registered to them. If someone creates a trademark, they may own the rights to that specific phrase, but they cannot use it for their domain name because it is already being used. While there is a difference between owning a domain name and owning a trademark, there is a way to make sure that you can own both.

What Does a Person Need to do to Own a Domain Name and a Trademark?

If you own a domain and you would like to own the trademark because you do not want to have to worry about someone else trademarking the name in the future, you would need to hire a trademark attorney to complete a detailed search to find out if the domain has already been trademarked or used in commerce. If nobody has trademarked it or used it, you can take the next step to obtain the trademark.

The Trademark registration process is lengthy and complex. You must hire a business lawyer to handle the registration for you so that you do not risk a rejection from the USPTO examiner.

Why is it Beneficial to Own Both a Domain and a Trademark?

When you have federally registered and trademarked your domain name, you can keep others from attempting to replicate that domain name or use something that is similar. When you are trying to brand your business, the last thing you need is someone to come along and attempt to steal your ideas while using a name that imitates the one you have created on your own. If you own a domain and a federally registered trademark, you can protect your business and website by making it much harder for people to try to steal your traffic or the number of customers you currently have. Although it does require taking extra steps, it is important to have that federally registered trademark for your domain name if you want to avoid having any problems in the future.

Need help applying for a trademark now that you currently own a domain? Let the Benkabbou Law Firm assist you. Our experienced business lawyers look forward to working with you.

Complete our
contact form to get started with your consultation. You can also call us at 813-586-3351 or send us an email at consult@blawfirmpllc.com for more information. 

Categories
Trademarks

How Trademarks can Benefit Your Business

With the number of companies in the market competing for your business, branding is increasingly important today. In this regard, trademarks can benefit business and be an important tool for a business owner, provided it is used properly. As an experienced trademark lawyer in Tampa, we want businesses to be aware of the benefits a trademark can offer. And provide your business the necessary steps to protect it.

How Trademarks can benefit business?

To summarize, a trademark will generally consist of a word, phrase, image, or symbol that is immediately identified as being associated with a company. Think of the Nike swoosh or the Apple logo on smartphones. Whether they realize it or not, consumers encounter numerous trademarks throughout the course of a typical day and they influence brand loyalty and purchasing decisions.  According to Entrepreneur, some of the main reasons why a trademark is important for your business include:

  • Trademarks make for more effective communications tool. Trademarks convey technical and emotional attributes about a company and its products, allowing businesses to communicate their message to a broader audience by bridging language barriers.
  • A Trademark can distinguish your company from others. A trademark is your brand. It allows consumers and clients to immediately identify your business among competitors and encourages brand loyalty.
  • Trademarks make it easier to attract and hire valuable employees. By providing your business with a clearly identifiable brand and building its market reputation, trademarks allow companies to attract the top talent in their respective fields.
  • Trademarks boost a businesses marketing efforts. Trademarks convey a lot in just a small amount of space. They lend themselves well to product placement and sponsorship’s, making marketing and advertising easier, and are particularly useful in the media.

Why your business needs a Registered Trademark

In comparison to a Copyright, which protects art or literary works, or a Patent, which protects an invention. Registered Trademarks protect company brand names and logos.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), trademark rights come with actual use, provided the brand name or logo does not too closely resemble that which another company or product currently uses.

The rights for a company to use a trademark never expire, provided the company continues to use it on a regular basis. This is true regardless of whether a company has filed to have it registered. There are numerous advantages to registering a company trademark. These include:

  • Provides a legal presumption of ownership and the rights to exclusivity.
  • Affords federal protections, including the right to file a federal lawsuit.
  • Recognized by foreign countries and U.S. Customs and Border officials, it can decrease the likelihood of fraud in imported goods.

When a trademark is not registered, the letters ‘TM’ will appear after a company logo. Only a registered trademark will have the ® symbol attached to it.

Consult with a Tampa Trademark Lawyer

Get the trusted legal guidance your business needs to protect its brand and reach out to the Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC. Contact our Tampa trademark lawyer and request a consultation at our office today.

Categories
Business Law Trademarks

How Can I Protect My Brand?

As baby entrepreneurs it is easy to get confused by all of the information that is out there. It’s even more confusing to try and figure out the legal implications of your brand on google or YouTube or whatever else you may start to look. New entrepreneurs spend so much time focusing on coming up with names, logos, color schemes, and all the creative stuff that identifies their brand.

However, before you get cute with the fun stuff, it’s important to consider their legal implications before you start creating them. Failing to do so can mean you lose all of your marketing money used to create a website, logos, business cards, brochures or any marketing money spent to promote a brand that cannot be protected. It can also mean the inability to protect your brand and losing any Trademark protection that would have been afforded to you. Yikes!!

A properly registered Trademark is how you protect your brand. Trademarks are any names, marks or any device used to identify the brand of the services being provided or the products being sold. Trademarks are not just limited to names and logos. They can also include slogans, colors, smells, sounds, product packaging or any identifying feature of a brand that would help a consumer identify it in commerce.

Every company or brand has at least one Trademark. It is important to properly identify your Trademarks. Often times new entrepreneurs do not know how to correctly identify their Trademarks and limit themselves to names and logos only. It is important to take your business matters seriously by investing in a business and intellectual property attorney. The cost of losing your brand far outweigh the cost of legal fees.

I hope the information has been helpful, of course, it is not everything that you will need to consider as I cannot teach you Trademark Law. I know some of the concepts are difficult to grasp, trust me, even lawyers have a hard time with them. Trademark Law is a very complex area of the law. The best investment that you can make in your business is in the protection of it. If you are not able to secure your competitive edge in your market, then you will not be in business long and your fancy website and logo will mean nothing. So invest wisely and save money by doing things right the first time.

No Attorney-Client Relationship Created by Use of this website: Neither your receipt of information from this website, nor your use of this email to contact The Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC or Salma Benkabbou, Esq. creates an attorney-client relationship between you and The Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC. As a matter of policy, The Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC does not accept a new client without first investigating for possible conflicts of interests and obtaining a signed engagement letter. (The Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC may, for example, already represent another party involved in your matter.) Accordingly, you should not use this website to provide confidential information about a legal matter of yours to The Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC.

No Legal Advice Intended: This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems.

Categories
Business Law Trademarks

What is a Trademark?

A Trademark is a word, symbol, sound, image or logo that is legally registered with the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) that represents a company or a product. When you think of a trademark, think of it as the identifying image or sound of a particular company or product.

A trademark does not only identify products, it also identifies services. A trademark that identifies services is technically considered a service mark but it is still generally referred to as a trademark.

Trademarks are essential because they allow consumers to identify a particular company’s product or services very quickly. It’s much easier for a consumer to see a particular name or logo that identifies the “goodwill” of the product they are going to purchase or that of the services they are about to receive.

What is goodwill you might ask?

A company spends lots of time and money perfecting their products or their services and ensuring that the quality of the products or services on the market is up to their standards. The value of the quality that is generated by the company is called goodwill. The goodwill of a company is what separates it from its competitors.

For example, a consumer may want to purchase a sneaker with the brand Nike as opposed to a sneaker with no brand recognition. Nike has generated a lot of goodwill in the high quality products that they produce.

A consumer will pay more for a Nike brand sneaker than a sneaker with a brand that has not yet generated their goodwill. As you can see trademarks are essential for business growth and brand protection.