If you intend to embark on establishing a business in Chicago, you must consider registering a trademark as part of the process. Doing so guarantees you the exclusive right to use whatever mark or emblem you choose, safeguarding it from potential infringers or squatters looking for a free ride on the reputation you have worked hard to build. But registering a trademark is far from an uncomplicated process. Apart from sorting out issues such as finding the right lawyer and researching applicable local laws, there are also numerous other details you may need to address. To help you get started, we have compiled the following list of frequently asked questions about registering a trademark in Chicago.

What Is a Trademark?

A trademark is an officially registered symbol, name or phrase affixed to a product or service sold in the marketplace. When someone registers a trademark, it serves as a message to the public that the product or service branded by the mark is created and owned by a particular individual or organization. The registration is also a declaration of uniqueness, by conveying that only the owner has the right to use the corresponding symbol, name or phrase.

What Are the Benefits of Registering a Trademark?

The main benefit of registering a trademark is the protection it offers for any unique brand associated with your business. It deters others from using the same mark to a certain degree, and can also be used as a tool to address infringement when it does occur. By registering a trademark, you safeguard your brand from being attacked or misused, and you may even be eligible for registering it at a national level, yielding even greater legal safeguards.

How Do I Choose the Right Trademark?

If you’re looking for a symbol, logo or phrase to trademark, you need to choose carefully. This is especially important in cases of service companies, because you can often trademark a phrase that will serve as the foundation of your brand. The best trademarks are those that are easily identifyable and which don’t conflict with existing trademarks.

How Do I Register a Trademark in Chicago?

Begin the registration process by consulting a qualified business lawyer who is licensed to practice in Chicago. An experienced attorney will have the expertise to help you appropriately apply for a trademark registration from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The application process may take up to two years or longer, and when successful will yield you your own unique trademark in the Windy City.

Can I Represent Myself When Registering a Trademark?

It is possible to represent yourself during the entire trademark application process. However, bear in mind that registration may be an arduous task, and doing it on your own can hinder the chances of successfully obtaining a trademark that suits your needs. Consulting a lawyer who specializes in business law will ensure that you are well prepared when the matter heads to the court room.


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