Intellectual property rights offer essential protection for businesses of all sizes, with trademarks being one of the most important of them all. Accordingly, it’s worthwhile to understand the intricacies of trademark registration, particularly for those in the Chicago area. To help navigate this process, we break down some of the most commonly asked questions regarding trademark registration.

What Exactly is a Trademark?

A trademark is any legally protected identifier intended to set a product or service apart from the competition. This can include phrases, symbols, words, designs, and images, depending on the country or jurisdiction. Essentially, a trademark serves as a “badge” for a product or service, allowing consumers to easily deduce what the source is. This structured recognition undermines the risk of confusion and allows businesses to build successful and reliable products.

Who Can Obtain a Trademark?

Businesses operating in the US and internationally, as well as individuals, may file for a trademark. Regardless of the company size, any business that offers a product or service can benefit from trademark protection.

What’s the Difference Between a Trademark and a Copyright?

A trademark applies to works that can distinguish a brand from another, while a copyright grants protection to original works of authorship, such as books, music, or photos. A trademark protects names and other identifiers, while copyrights protect the works themselves.

What Does ‘Registration’ Mean for a Trademark?

Registration offers expedited legal protection. When granted, it serves as prima facie evidence of a mark’s validity. This is because all marks must go through a thorough review process, during which the mark’s descriptiveness, legality, and uniqueness are characterized. LED BY A TEAM OF TOP ATTORNEYS WITH UP TO 14 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE,

What’s the Process of Registration?

The application process can seem daunting; however, with experienced counsel, the process can be straightforward and manageable. To start, an attorney may perform a clearance search to make sure the mark is available. Otherwise, an applicant may face an expensive opposition dispute, which involves defending the mark’s validity. Potentially, this can result in a drawn-out battle with no guaranteed positive outcome.

The next step is filing a trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office. During the examination process, the applicant will correspond directly with the examining attorney from the USPTO, which can be another complex procedure, often warranting experienced counsel.

The examination usually ends with either an allowance or a denial of the applicant’s mark. The allowance of the mark means that it is ready to be published in the USPTO’s Official Gazette for a period of 30 days. During this period of time, third parties may submit evidence to oppose or cancel the registration of the applicant’s mark.

If no opposition is made, the mark will be registered and one has to renew the mark in specific intervals to maintain the registration.

Who Should Handle the Registration and Maintenance of a Trademark?

It’s always advisable to hire a qualified attorney that you trust. Those in Chicago and neighboring areas should consider the experienced attorneys available through UpCounsel. Our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of trademark registration and maintenance and can offer great advice on the overall IP strategy of a business.


trademark registration,

IP Protection,