Updated July 13, 2020:

To trademark a name in Georgia, applicants may submit an application for registration with the Office of the Secretary of State. If the statutory requirements have been met, the secretary of state will issue a certificate of registration.

How to Protect Your Business Brand Name, Trademark, and Property

Creating a name for your company is considered by many to be one of the most exciting aspects of starting a business. Putting in the effort that's needed to construct the perfect name can be time-consuming and stressful but also rewarding.

Once you've chosen the name, the next step is to protect it. The first step in protecting a business name is to make sure it's rightfully your name to protect. In other words, you must determine that no other party is using the name. A reasonable amount of upfront due diligence will help protect your company from expensive trademark lawsuits.

Perform a business name search to ensure that no other company is currently using the name. This preliminary search is crucial because you don't want to waste time and money on a business name that's already in use. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows applicants to use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to research existing trademarks.

Another option is to use a professional trademark service to perform a search on your behalf. Although it's fairly expensive, knowing that a comprehensive search has been done will provide peace of mind.

Once you've verified that the trademark isn't being used by another business, the next step is to register it with your state's registry and the USPTO. A trademark is a valuable, intangible asset that customers use to associate quality with a brand. Registering the trademark will provide you with exclusive rights to the name, and you'll be able to sue other parties for damages if they use it without your permission.

The protection provided by registering your trademark is extremely beneficial. That is why it is strongly recommended that companies register their brand name, as well as any other popular products or services.

Why Are Trademark Registration Applications Refused?

Your trademark registration application may be refused or declined in cases where:

  • A similar mark already exists.
  • A similar marketing approach already exists.
  • A generic description of a geographical location, product, or service makes it confusing when compared to other brands.
  • It is misleading, confusing, or deceptive.

How to Avoid Pitfalls When Filing a Trademark

To avoid any setbacks when registering for a service mark or trademark, it's highly recommended that you:

  • Avoid using generic terms or descriptions.
  • Avoid the use of vulgar words or phrases.
  • Proactively trademark your slogan, tagline, and internet domain.
  • Perform a comprehensive trademark search that includes common law and unregistered marks.

Trademark Registration in the Country of Georgia

Only on rare occasions may an unregistered trademark gain protection in the country of Georgia. All trademark applications must be submitted and filed with the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia (Sakpatenti). Trademarks may also be internationally registered with the country of Georgia as a member state of the Madrid Protocol. When registering a trademark in Georgia, it's important to consider the following:

  • Applicant: Individuals or parties claiming to be the rightful owner of a trademark may submit an application for registration of the mark.
  • Classification of goods: The latest edition of the classification of goods and services should be used.
  • Notarization: Legalization or notarization is not required for a power of attorney.
  • Trademark search: Searches may be completed in prepaid databases.
  • Application filing: In order to file an application, the following documents and information must be submitted:
    • Trademark image/name
    • Applicant's name and address
  • Examination: A formal examination that verifies the compliance of the application should be completed.
  • Transition from filing to registration: Typically, trademark registration takes about 18 months.
  • Opposition term: Oppositions may be filed against a trademark within three months of the publishing of the application.
  • Protection term: Once registered, a trademark is valid for 10 years.
  • Renewal requirements: While the trademark is valid, it may be renewed anytime within 12 months of expiring. A registered trademark may be renewed within six months following the expiration date without incurring an additional processing fee for the delayed renewal.
  • Grace period: The non-use grace period extends for five years following registration.

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