Top 5 Things to Consider When Registering a Trademark in Chicago
Start Your Trademark Search in the City of Big Shoulders: Chicago3 min read
If you’re based in Chicago and looking for legal counsel to help you register a trademark, the City of Big Shoulders is a great place to begin your search. Luckily, there are plenty of experienced professionals in the Windy City who have the expertise to help protect the interests of individuals and businesses, big and small. Before embarking on the process of trademark registration, there are some key considerations. Here are the top five things to take into account when registering a trademark in Chicago.
1. Understand What Can Be Trademarked
The first step is to get a clear understanding of the types of items which can be trademarked. A trademark is a type of intellectual property that distinguishes a product or service from another and acts as an indicator of origin. Commonly, trademarks can be brand names, logos, slogans, or symbols used to identify a company, product, or service. An individual or business can successfully apply to register trademarks in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
It’s important to remember, registering a trademark in Chicago does not grant exclusive use of a particular phrase, symbol, or design.
The USPTO will grant approval for a trademark registration as long as those seeking trademark protection can demonstrate they have a unique product with features which separate them from the competition.
2. Check For Conflicting Trademarks
The next step in the process is to check if any trademarks are already registered in the USPTO database. This is essential do, as registering a trademark in Chicago may be rejected if someone else has already claimed it.
To conduct a trademark search, use the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System. Enter the trademark, or a similar term, you are considering registering to ensure there are no conflicting registrations. It’s best practice to continue the process with a more thorough search to increase the chances of uncovering additional conflicting marks that may have been missed from the search query.
3. Confirm The Feasibility of Your Trademark
Trademark registration is only available for unique products and services. The USPTO often rejects applications if they are deemed too vague or descriptive, or worse, deceptive or illegal. This is why it’s best to seek the services of qualified legal counsel before filing an application for registration.
An experienced attorney with expertise in trademarks can offer sound advice and also assist with completion of the trademark filing requirements. Legal counsel can also ensure any legal disputes that may arise from conflicting registrations are properly handled.
4. Avoid Commonly Misused Words and Symbols
It’s important to avoid using certain commonly-used words and symbols when applying to register a trademark in Chicago. These include ‘generic” terms which are used to describe products and services and geographic terms used to describe a general location. Symbols such as the ® or ™ cannot appear on trademark applications as they denote a product or service is already registered.
5. Determine The Best Platform To Protect Your Trademark
Once a trademark is successfully registered with the USPTO, it’s important to ensure it’s correctly and actively defended against potential infringement. A good start is to make sure you’ve done everything in your power to protect your trademark prior to registration. This could include displaying a trademark notice on all product packaging, labels, or advertising campaigns and including an indication of where the trademark is registered in the United States.
Another way to protect your trademark is to use the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy. This prevents cybersquatters from taking control of domain names that contain your registered trademark.
Registering a trademark in Chicago requires diligence and patience to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Taking the time to understand the process – from conducting a detailed search to registering the mark in the USPTO database – is key. Finally, seeking advice from trusted legal advisors can give you the benefit of their expertise so you can rest assured your trademark is safely registered and successfully defended.