Top 5% of Trademark Lawyers in Chicago, Illinois | UpCounsel

Chicago Trademark Attorneys & Lawyers

Caleb St.-Jean Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

After working for more than five years in software development and technology consulting, Caleb St.-Jean earned his JD from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. As a patent attorney at the Law Office of Caleb St.-Jean, he is committed to seeing long-term success for his clients. He provides small companies with individualized strategies and better business ideas at an affordable price.
21 reviews

Jonathan Grossman Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Jonathan Grossman is a business attorney and an entrepreneur. He has eight years’ experience and have worked with some of the leading law firms in the United States. He has a degree in law, which he obtained from the University of Kansas School of Law. Jonathan is licensed to practice law in Illinois and New York. He operates his own law firm and have also worked as a patent counsel at Fresenius Kabi USA for three years before starting his own business.
12 reviews

Adam Urbanczyk Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Adam Urbanczyk is Principal Attorney at the law group Au, LLC in Chicago, Illinois. A successful litigator, he specializes in intellectual property, business law, and patent law, and has particular expertise in software, internet, and social media issues. Adam received his J.D. from the John Marshall Law School. He is admitted to the DC, Illinois, and Patent Bars, and is also Of Counsel at Progressive Law Group.
7 reviews

Drew Whiting Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Entrepreneurs face many unique challenges, and Drew Whiting understands that first hand because he is an entrepreneur himself. He loves sharing his legal knowledge and experience with up and coming businesses. He has experience working with mobile businesses, those who offer financial services, packaged good manufacturers, restaurants, bars, and taverns, and several technology-related enterprises.
5 reviews

Sean Goodwin Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Sean Goodwin may be located in the Midwest, but he serves clients across the United States. He focuses on entrepreneurial needs and his practice areas include everything from patents to copyrights to IP strategy. A particular area of strength and expertise for Sean is intellectual property. He is also a registered U.S. Patent Attorney.
5 reviews

Peter Stasiewicz Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Mr. Stasiewicz specializes in litigation, including breach of contract and warranty matters, fraud, and lender liability. He can also help with matters relating to business formation, employment, and intellectual property.
3 reviews

Scott Weisman Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Scott Weisman is a business attorney that focuses on transactional law and general business law. He primarily assists companies in the technology industry. Scott has 12 years of experience as a lawyer and is able to assist with intellectual property matters, commercial contracts and business formation matters as well. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois. Scott has been the principal of his own law office since 2012.
2 reviews

Kristin Cass Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Kristin Cass has over 23 years of experience as a corporate attorney. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and New York, and have worked with some of the top legal firms in the United States. Kristin graduated from the University Of Chicago Law School with a Juris Doctorate degree. She primarily focuses on business formations and general business operations, but also has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating commercial contracts.
2 reviews

Kevin Keener Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Kevin Keener is an intellectual property attorney with almost a decade of experience. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and he is also a member of the Illinois Patent Bar. Kevin holds a Juris Doctor in law, which he obtained after graduating from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He specializes in commercial contracts, labor and employment law, and general IP-related matters. Keener is currently a partner attorney at Keener and Associates, P.C.
2 reviews

Anastasios Garbis Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

As a registered patent attorney, Anastasios Garbis dedicates his time to advising entrepreneurs and small businesses on intellectual property matters. At his firm, Garbis Law, LLC, he supports clients in protecting their brands, inventions, and art through accessible and transparent legal services. Mr. Garbis speaks both English and Greek at a native level.
2 reviews

Justin Strane Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Attorney Justin Strane is admitted to the Bar Admission in the Northern District of Illinois and Illinois. Strane has represented top clients and has had great success with the cases he has been faced with. Attorney Strane represented an investor in purchasing a multi-million-dollar property in downtown Chicago. With experience in commercial real estate and business law, you can rely on Justin to help you out.
2 reviews

Patrice Perkins Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Patrice Perkins is a Transnational Business and Intellectual Property Attorney, working with creative entrepreneurs, innovators and change agents. Her experience is extensive and includes business formations, structures, drafts and negotiates talent deals, licensing agreements and more. Her legal career began when she worked as a Research Assistant to Susan Bandes, a distinguished professor at DePaul College of Law - which is also where she obtained her J.D. in 2008.
2 reviews

Noam Raz Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Noam Raz has a specialized focus advising individuals and companies based in the United States or Israel that have legal matters or transactions made across the border. Because Noam is fluent in both Hebrew and English as well as both American and Israeli culture, he is in a unique position to offer advice to companies in both countries. Additionally, he is licensed as an attorney in Israel, Illinois, and Michigan.
5 reviews

Joe Giamanco Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Joe Giamanco is a seasoned attorney that has handled over 45 jury trials and was lead counsel for 43 of those. In addition to that, Attorney Giamanco has been to over 500 arbitration hearings. When it comes down to it, Mr. Giamanco will help you settle your case and he has experience practicing business law, personal injury law, and DUIs.
2 reviews

Malaika Tyson Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Malaika Tyson is an intellectual property attorney with six years’ experience. She is exceptionally skilled in dealing with legal matters that involve patents, as well as trademark and copyright law. Malaika is also experienced in dealing with mergers and acquisitions. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and is also a member of the Illinois Patent Bar. Malaika obtained her law degree from the University of Chicago. She has been a partner at McAndrews, Held and Malloy since 2011.
2 reviews

Gianna Scatchell Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Operating a boutique firm in Chicago, IL, Gianna Scatchell has a unique niche representing high profile clients with privacy based litigation including cyber-bullying claims, revenge porn, defamation and smear-campaigns, and copyright and trademark disputes. She also counsels law enforcement agencies and schools on the distinctive privacy and compliance challenges caused by today’s technology.
2 reviews

Eric Onyango Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Eric Onyango is an attorney at law with more than four years of experience. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and has been admitted to the U.S. Tax Court. Eric obtained his degree in law from The John Marshall Law School. He mainly focuses on labor and employment-related legal matters, but is also experienced in dealing with startup businesses. Eric is also skilled in dealing with tax law matters. He is currently serving as the managing attorney at Prime Legal LLC.
2 reviews

Michael Osty Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Michael Osty is both a corporate attorney and a legal adviser. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and has been serving corporate clients for more than two decades. Michael received his law degree from the John Marshall Law School. He primarily specializes in dealing with legal cases that involve commercial contracts. Michael has been serving as the director and legal advisor of Beijing Yunhan Longxing Science & Tech Company since October 2011.
2 reviews

Zafar Musvi Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Former licensed investment representative and banking professional. Dedicated and passionate outside counsel with 6 years of experience providing transactional, advisory, a... read more
2 reviews

Christopher Matern Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Christopher Matern is a well-rounded attorney who practices business law to include contract negotiations, commercial real estate, and even new business formation. Attorney Matern’s mission is to provide the best legal services to all clients throughout Chicago and Illinois. Mr. Matern has received multiple awards to include the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors-First Recipient of the Member of the Decade Award.
2 reviews

Jeffrey Antonelli Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

With over 15 years of experience, Attorney Jeffrey Antonelli is committed to his clients and helping them achieve the results they want from their cases. Antonelli Law is Antonelli’s practice and is recognized as one of two top practices throughout the country that handles cases related to BitTorrent copyrights and commercial drones. Attorney Antonelli is a solid, successful litigator and also specializes in trademark and copyright suits.
2 reviews

Erik Rakoczy Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Before attending law school, Erik Rakoczy worked as an author and editor. These experiences have contributed to his success in legal research and writing. His experience in technology and business has equipped him with powerful tools to guide entrepreneurs through building business ventures and growing startups. Mr. Rakoczy is a volunteer at the National Lawyers Guild and First Defense Legal Aid.
2 reviews

Adam Scavone Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Adam Scavone is in a unique position as a lawyer. One of his passions is fighting for the legalization of cannabis - in fact, he even co-founded the New York Cannabis Alliance in 2010. Beyond that, he is a capable lawyer, specializing in helping startups get off the ground. He believes that new business owners have enough to worry about and he wants to take the legal matters off their hands so they can focus on what’s important: building their business.
2 reviews

Kalpesh Patel Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Kalpesh Patel is a business attorney that has been licensed to practice law in Illinois for the past three years. He has a J.D. in law, which he obtained from the Florida Coastal School of Law. Kalpesh also has a degree in business management and several other certificates in legal areas. Kalpesh focuses on assisting entrepreneurs and startups overcome legal issues that arise with business formation. He is currently a partner at Wallock Patel.
2 reviews

Jonathan Pasky Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Jon is a startup and patent attorney with a goal of educating entrepreneurs about the benefits of intellectual property protection and utilization. His firm was established to cater to modern businesses and offers a flat-fee general counsel service. Jon has been involved organizing in well-attended tech events and co-founded Techweek, the country’s leading technology conference and festival.
2 reviews

Patrick Long Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

• Over 10 years of experience handling complex transactions in highly regulated industries, in domestic and international markets for commercial and government entities. •... read more
1 review

Mark Swiderski Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Mark Swiderski is a general corporate attorney. He recently managed a multi-million dollar locomotive sale and lease financing deal for the National Railway Equipment Company. Mark practices law in Illinois and is also a member of the State Bar of Illinois. He received his legal degree from the Loyola University Chicago College of Law. Mark has experience in legal matters related to business formation, securities and commercial contracts. He recently became an associate attorney at Litwin Law.

Joseph Tylutki Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Joseph is a results-oriented General Counsel and business executive with comprehensive experience analyzing, structuring, negotiating, and executing sophisticated transactions. He is known as a trusted adviser to boards of directors, executive management teams, and key stakeholders. In addition to his legal experience, he applies his MBA to bring a business focus for his clients.

Maria Mazza Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Maria Mazza is a business lawyer who has almost two decades worth of experience. She has been licensed to practice law in Illinois. Maria has a Juris Doctorate degree in law, which she obtained after she graduated from the University of Illinois. She primarily focuses on legal matters that involves real estate law. Maria is also experienced in drafting, negotiating and reviewing commercial contracts. She currently serves as an attorney at Kozacky Weitzel McGrath.

Tawfiq Ali Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Tawfiq Ali is a dedicated and experienced lawyer that specialized in complex negotiations and litigations. His mission is to protect what is most important to a business. Attorney Ali has helped a Fortune 500 company completely dismiss a class action that would have leaked unknown liability. He has also helped other companies protect their trade secrets and release liability that could have caused irreparable damages to the company.

Aaron Gillett Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

When it comes to business law, count on Aaron Gillett to walk you through it. With experience in all areas of business law including acquisition, formation, and even sales, Mr. Gillett is able to pave the way to success for you and your business. Mr. Gillett graduated magna cum laude and was even named to the Order of the Coif. In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Gillett works as a pro bono attorney for the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services.

Chris Werner Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Chris Werner has 13 years of experience in the legal field and his practice focuses on commercial disputes, business transactions, and commercial litigation. Throughout his years, Mr. Werner has helped businesses throughout Florida, California, and Chicago. With an aggressive approach to all litigation cases, Attorney Werner is here to help you.

Cara Dearman Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Based in Mount Prospect, Illinois, Cara Dearman is an attorney with expertise in privacy and data law. She is Senior Counsel at the Sears Holding Corporation and focuses on privacy issues. An experienced litigator, she previously worked at Wheeler, Trigg, O'Donnell in Denver, and at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York. Cara holds a J.D., with High Honors, from The University of Texas School of Law.

Margaret (Margie) O'connor Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Margaret O’Connor graduated from Notre Dame with a bachelor’s of science degree in math before studying law at Loyola University Chicago. Although Margie O’Connor is a general attorney who has worked in a big firm and government environments, she prefers advocating for clients in corporate law, assisting executives with improving their processes while being conscious of budgets and bottom lines.

Jordan Finfer Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Jordan Finfer is best known for his tactful and delicate approach to all business legal matters. Mr. Finfer will tailor and customize all legal strategies with your business in mind. He has a high success rate and has helped yield settlements into the six-figure range for many different cases. Whether you need help trademarking a name or you have questions about employment laws, Attorney Finfer is ready to help you.

Josh Goldberg Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Josh Goldberg has over 13 years of experience in the legal field and has represented many large companies including Whirlpool, Yahoo, and Wolcott. He specializes in commercial litigation, criminal law, bankruptcy, and intellectual property laws. Before joining his current practice, Mr. Goldberg worked at an international law firm and has extensive experience in international law.

Louis Phillips Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Attorney Louis Phillips is a partner at PFS Ltd. and handles all types of litigation matters that businesses may experience including trademark infringement, contract disputes, and fraud claims. You can be rest assured that Mr. Phillips is tough and aggressive in the courtroom to ensure your rights and trademarks are protected at all times.

Jeffrey Norberg Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Jeffrey has worked for two premier law firms in Silicon Valley handling intellectual property disputes for some of the world's best known brands, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter. At his firm, Norberg Law, he applies his big firm experience with the efficiency of a small practice to help companies and individuals navigate intellectual property disputes.

John Ellis Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Although his main focus is bringing and defending lawsuits related to breach of contract, personal injury, fraud, and trademark infringement, John Ellis also provides hourly general counsel to clients to help them avoid litigation. Mr. Ellis values frequent client communication and employs an aggressive, but civil, style of litigation to gain prompt, fair results.

Mark Grzymala Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Attorney Mark Grzymala is the founder of Grzymala Law Office, P.C. His law office focuses on mechanics liens, commercial litigation, corporate law, and construction law. He is dedicated to representing clients who are small business owners, subcontractors, owners, developers, and the like. Attorney Grzymala was raised in small business, so he is able to connect with his clients and he knows exactly what they need and the guidance required. He is also trained in real estate disputes, collection actions, and evictions.

Vlad Chirica Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Born in Bucharest, Romania, but now residing in Illinois, Vlad Chirica is an associate attorney. Previously working at Berton N. Ring, PC, Chirica argued pre-trial motions, attended daily court calls, and drafted motions and pleadings. He comes with much experience issuing subpoenas and leading depositions. Chirica has a wide breadth of work capabilities as a former law clerk, web designer, marketing consultant, and legal research assistant.

Benjamin Rotman Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Benjamin is a patent attorney at Rosenbaum IP, PC who focuses on intellectual property portfolio development and management as well as anti-counterfeiting enforcement. Before beginning his career in law, he was a senior mechanical engineer with Motorola Mobility. His experience in patent portfolio management includes prior art searching and preparation of licensing agreements.

Maudia Washington Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Currently, Maudia is working for Trine University as a Business Law Adjunct Professor, as well as at the University of Phoenix as the Business Management Adjunct Professor. She has also worked on several contracts along with the Federal Government and on property development worth some $8.5 million. Her focus is on many different areas, including business law, tax law and employment law. She attended Michigan State University and received her J.D. in Business Law.

Ric Gruber Jr Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

With an impressive entrepreneurial resume and education, Partner and COO of Pasky Gruber LLC, Ric Gruber, Jr. offers tremendous value to his clients. With an LL.M. in Information Technology and Privacy Law, his practice focuses on transactional IP and other IP related issues, privacy compliance, and advertising law. A successful franchisor, he also advises clients on franchise law and hospitality.

Zareefa Burki Flener Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Zareefa is the Principal of FLENER IP LAW, where she helps her clients manage their intellectual property portfolios. She has practiced Law for over a decade and her experience extends to international and patent portfolios in fields such as electrical, mechanical, pharma, biotech, design and computer software. In 2014-2016, Zareefa has been recognized as an IP Star in Illinois and in the United States as well as in the Top 250 women in IP. She graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Fielden Fleming Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Fielden Fleming is an Attorney, Consultant and a Regulatory Specialist with five years of experience in the legal world. He works for Marvesta and before that he worked for PowerPlan, Inc. His experience extends to analyzing and drafting contracts, complying with regulation, monitoring and managing risk, as well as streamlining their business processes. He attended the John Marshall Law School and added his J.D. to his other qualifications - BA in Economics and Management, History and Finance.

John J Mcguirk Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

John J Mcguirk has over 49 years worth of experience in the legal world. This is inclusive of the Commercial Litigation work which he has done for companies such as Amoco, Mobil and Rohm. His specialties include handling discovery issues in complex litigation matters. At the University of Chicago, John focuses on all phases of patent development and litigation. In 1964, he graduated from the University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law with his J.D.

Douglas Belofsky Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Douglas Belofsky is a litigation attorney with more than 31 years of experience. He is exceptionally experienced in drafting, negotiating and reviewing commercial contracts. Douglas also deals with labor and employment law, as well as debt and bankruptcy. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the Washington University School of Law. Since January 2013, Douglas has been managing his own law office.

Dennis Esford Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Dennis Esford is a professional commercial litigation attorney that has experience in both federal and state courts. Although he is a successful litigator, he also focuses on trade secret suits, tort claims, copyright infringements, and business contract claims. Attorney Esford allows his 12 years of experience to guide him and be fearless in the courtroom.

Peter Moore Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Peter Moore is a litigator with 13 years’ experience. He has extensive experience in dealing with legal cases related to the internet, technology and computer industries. Peter is licensed to practice law in California and Illinois. He obtained his degree in law from the Northwestern University School of Law. Peter has represented Symantec, AOL, Motorola and various other upscale corporate clients. He is currently the president of Legistek Corporation.

Diana Laskaris Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Licensed in Illinois and New York, Diana Laskaris is an attorney with expertise in legal strategy and planning as well as business consulting. She has worked in product development, business operations and development, marketing and communication, and operational management. Bringing fifteen years of experience, she is also deeply committed to nonprofit and volunteer causes. Diana received her J.D. from Loyola Law School.

Sean P. Patrick, Esq. Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Sean P. Patrick, Esq. works as a co-managing partner at Rifkind Patrick LLC. Mr. Patrick is best known for his knowledge of business law and has helped hundreds of clients in regulatory compliance, trade secrets, business law, and product liability cases. Mr. Patrick is an active member of both the Illinois State Bar Association and Chicago Bar Association. In addition to his business law experience, Mr. Patrick worked as a legal clerk at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Nicole Robbins Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Nicole Robbins is a corporate attorney who has served both small and large companies, including some of the largest Fortune 40 companies. She has an extensive background on business legal issues and also specializes in commercial real estate, e-commerce, retail and various other categories. Nicole has worked as a corporate attorney at Walgreens and started her own law firm in 2011. She obtained her J.D. in law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and have more than 10 years’ experience.

Maudia Washington Trademark Lawyer for Chicago, IL

Maudia Washington owns her own law firm, handling Bankruptcy, Real Estate and Business matters. Previously, she worked as a Business Law Adjunct Professor at Trine University. Maudia is a member of the American Bar Association and has experience in drafting and reviewing contracts, purchasing new homes or commercial property, franchising businesses and more. She obtained her J.D. from the Michigan State University.
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Chicago, IL
"We registered a company that sells medical products. We are looking to register our brand, which has the same name as the company, as a trademark. Ideally we would like a lawyer who can help with the registration process and has a deep understanding of the process"
Have you done any of the following with your proposed trademark?
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"I want to register a trademark for the company that I created. I have already created a logo and domain names (.com, .net., and .org). I am also looking to start the registration process internationally as well. I currently have an LLC, but I am thinking about opening a new company in the future to use this brand so I want to register the trademark now as an individual."
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Legal Tips and Information



What Makes for a Valid Trademark?


In the startup world, trademark issues are rampant.  Many teams struggle to develop unique marks for their business, products, and services – and may be somewhat lost with regard to the law surrounding trademarks.


When developing a mark that you intend to protect against potential infringement, it is crucial that you and your team understand what makes a trademark valid and enforceable under the law.  Fortunately, the law (on the surface) is fairly uncomplicated: only distinctive trademarks are enforceable.


So, how do you know whether your mark is distinctive?


In the United States, there are certain core elements that – separately – function as the basis for a valid, distinctive trademark.



Arbitrary or Fanciful


If your mark is deemed arbitrary or fanciful, it will likely be considered to have inherent distinctiveness, and will therefore enjoy a high degree of trademark protection.


Fanciful marks have no meaning outside of the trademark context.  They are created for exclusive purpose of defining and demarcating a unique product, service, or company.  Google, Exxon, and Clorox are examples of fanciful marks with substantial brand recognition.


An arbitrary mark may have its own meaning outside of the trademark context, but this meaning is unrelated to the trademark.  Apple (the company) is a famous example of an arbitrary mark.  “Apple” refers to a type of fruit, of course, but the mark is used in a completely arbitrary manner to refer to the technology company and its products/services.




Suggestive marks are considered inherently distinctive and therefore entitled to a high degree of trademark protection, though not to the same degree as arbitrary and fanciful marks.  A suggestive mark is one in which the name does not directly or obviously describe the character of specific products or services, but with some imagination, is evocative of such character.  For example, the bus company name Greyhound is suggestive of speed, which is evocative of the character of the service provided, but this connection requires some imagination.




Descriptive marks are not ideal, but are quite common in the startup world.  A descriptive mark – both in and out of context – to some degree describes, and does not merely suggest, the character of the relevant products or services.  Descriptive marks are not considered inherently distinctive, and do not enjoy any trademark protection by default.


To entitle your descriptive mark to trademark protection, you must show that it acquired secondary meaning.  A mark will be deemed to have acquired secondary meaning if the evidence demonstrates that the mark has come to be associated with a particular product, service, or company.  For example, if you sell a product marked as “Jar of Beeswax,” you would have to show that the mark has come to be associated with your product specifically, and not with “beeswax jars” generally.




Generic marks are not entitled to any protection, and may not acquire secondary meaning.  To put it bluntly: a generic mark can never be protectable.  Generic marks typically refer to the categorical name of a product.  For example, a pen company selling a ballpoint pen product called “Ballpoint Pen” would not be able to protect that mark, as it generically names the category of the product.



The Different Levels of Trademark Registration


Obtaining trademark protection is rather uncomplicated, though there are several options available with various advantages and disadvantages.  As the options may confuse or overwhelm startups, let’s break them down into simpler, easier-to-digest parts.


Federal Trademark Registration


To register your mark federally, you’ll first have to show that your mark is being used and/or advertised across state lines (i.e., that it is not limited to one state) or is being used and/or advertised internationally.  Then, you’ll have to register your mark with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).


Federal registration provides a number of important benefits: 1) it gives notice to potential trademark infringers about the existence of your mark; 2) it enables you to sue a defendant for infringement; 3) and federal registration grants you a presumption of validity and ownership as to the mark.


Illinois State Trademark Registration


If your mark is not being used, promoted, etc. across state lines or internationally, you may only be entitled to register it in the state where it is being exclusively used and promoted – here, the state of Illinois.

If you have a federal trademark registration, you do not need to register on a state-by-state basis.


With state registration in-hand, you are entitled to sue defendants who infringe upon your state trademark.  You cannot sue those who infringe beyond state lines.

A skilled Chicago trademark attorney will ensure that you conduct an extensive trademark search to suss out conflicting trademarks in other state jurisdictions and in the federal register.  If another party has an existing trademark, it may preempt your new Illinois-registered trademark.


Common Law Default Protection


You are not required to register a trademark to enjoy trademark protection, though it is good policy to do so.  In the United States, you may be entitled to common law trademark protection if you are the first to use a given mark in the stream of commerce.

For example, suppose that you develop a product called “SleekTan,” which is a new tanning cream.  You sell it over the years without ever having registered in Illinois or federally with the USPTO.  If you were the first to ever use the name “SleekTan” in the stream of commerce, then you likely are entitled to common law trademark protection.  You can sue infringers on the basis of this protection.


The problem with common law protection is that it is rarely applicable to geographic regions in which the mark is not established.  Common law protection applies to those geographic regions where the mark has demonstrated brand recognition.  If you use a mark locally, you may not be able to prevent a company across the country from using the same mark and building a significant reputation with it.  If you intend to expand your business beyond your geographic foundations, then it is important to register your mark with the help of a trademark lawyer.


Trademark Infringement


Once you’ve entered the stream of commerce with your mark, you and your team may occasionally discover potential trademark infringement issues, both in your industry and outside of it.  The possibility of trademark infringement can be quite frightening for a budding startup.  Most startups invest a substantial amount of money, time, and energy into developing a cohesive, popular brand, and trademark infringement can stall company momentum.


For this reason, it is generally recommended that startups work with an experienced trademark attorney.  Infringement concerns must be dealt with swiftly so as to minimize brand damage.



What Counts as Infringement?


A defendant will be found to have infringed on your trademark if it can be shown that consumers will be confused as to the source of the goods or services associated with the mark.

Whether a regular consumer would likely be confused is a matter for the courts to decide.  They will weigh all the evidence and determine whether a consumer is likely to be confused between the marks at-issue.  The factors include, but are not limited to: a) the level of protection granted to the mark itself (remember, arbitrary and fanciful are granted the highest level of protection, then suggestive, then descriptive, then generic); b) the similarity of the marks to each other, both in terms of content and aesthetic; c) evidence of consumer confusion; d) marketing overlap; and e) the defendant’s intent to infringe.

This can all be a bit overwhelming at first, so let’s clarify with an example.

Suppose that you develop a product called “SleekTan,” a tanning cream.  Another company later develops a glossy wood epoxy called “Sleek Wood Tan,” meant for coating wood decks.

From the facts presented, it is likely that no infringement has occurred, despite the similarity of the marks.  The mark “SleekTan” is suggestive, and is entitled to a high degree of protection, but the marks are still different in content.  Further, consumers are unlikely to be confused since the products are used for entirely different purposes.  The marketing channels used are also likely to be different, given the products’ function.  Even if you were able to show that the defendant intended to infringe on your product, the court may find that no infringement actually occurred.


As trademark infringement is quite specific to the facts of the case, it is important that you work with an experienced, knowledgeable Chicago trademark lawyer.  It is worth seeking the consultation of a lawyer prior to any infringement, as your lawyer will be able to advise you on the strength of your trademark protection and how to best preserve your mark (through registration, advertisement, etc.).

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Legal Services Offered by Our On-Demand Chicago Trademark Attorneys

Our experienced Chicago trademark attorneys & lawyers represent individuals and businesses with everything they need to secure and protect their trademarks. Our attorneys can help individuals with everything from trademark clearance searches to determine whether the desired mark is available for adoption, use, and registration. By reviewing the search reports thoroughly, they can conclusively determine the extent to which a mark is already being used and the potential success of filing a trademark.

Trademark licensing can be complex, but our trademark attorneys have experience drafting agreements on behalf of both licensees and trademark owners - thus allowing you to capitalize on your valuable intellectual property. Our Chicago trademark attorneys can also draft and file your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), including Intent to Use and Use in Commerce applications.

Our attorneys can also help protect your trademark around the globe by assisting clients with filing trademark applications under the Madrid Protocol, which allows trademark holders to obtain protection in multiple countries by filing a single application.

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Related Articles

Trademark Licensing

  • 13 min read

What Is Trademark Licensing?

Trademark licensing is the process by which a registered trademark owner, called a licensor or proprietor, allows another party, called a licensee, to make and distribute specific products or services under the licensor's trademark agreement. Trademark licensing is a type of merchandise agreement.

The licensor receives a certain amount of money or royalties, a percentage of all sales, in exchange for sharing the trademark. This compensation is also called consideration. Fashion and consumer products concerned with sports and entertainment are often sold under a trademark licensing agreement.

The licensee usually creates a trademark licensing agreement, but a licensor can also create this document. Both parties usually agree upon the terms before creating a trademark licensing agreement.

To be eligible for legal enforcement, a trademark license


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Trademark Fees

  • 4 min read

What Are Trademark Fees?

Trademark fees are the costs associated with filing to legally register a trademark. Selecting and registering a trademark is important as is knowing the proper fees since trademark registration packages can vary in coverage and pricing. You can register your trademark in specific categories, or classes, of goods and services.

Why are Trademark Fees Important?

Trademark fees are set at certain rates which have been estimated to cover future costs. These costs include operating costs and reserve funds. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) increased several trademark fees on January 14, 2017. For example, paper filings have increased anywhere between $75 to $200 pe


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Trademark Blog Name

  • 5 min read

How to Trademark a Blog Name

  1. Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.
  2. Browse the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database to see if anyone else has already registered your blog name in the appropriate category.
  3. Submit your blog name trademark application with the filing fee. The USPTO charges about $300 for trademark registration.

What Is a Blog Name Trademark?

A trademark is a brand that's linked to the source and quality of goods and services. Registering your blog name can help your website stand out


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Trademark Disclaimer

  • 3 min read

What is a Trademark Disclaimer?

A trademark disclaimer is a statement placed in a trademark application or registration to show that the owner doesn't claim rights to a portion of the trademark, usually words considered to be generic, descriptive or informational. 

Why is a Trademark Disclaimer Important?

Disclaiming part of the text in a trademark application shows the United States Patent and Trademark Office that you are not requesting exclusive rights to a term that can't be registered according to law. If two companies are applying for similar trademarks, and your company disclaims the use of words that can't be registered, while the other company doesn't, the trademark office is more likely to approve your application. Also, a disclaimer can help courts make a decision in trademark disputes


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Trade Dress Infringement

  • 10 min read

What Is Trade Dress Infringement?

Trade dress infringement occurs when one company uses trade dress similar enough to another's to cause a "likelihood of confusion" in an ordinary buyer's mind. The legal term "trade dress" refers to the general appearance of a product or its packaging that reveals its source to customers. Think of McDonald's Happy Meal boxes, for example. Companies who provide services can also have trade dress in the atmosphere or decor in which those services are provided. Picture the high ceilings and Grecian columns of The Cheesecake Factory restaurants, for instance.

While a trademark is a word, trade dress is a visual impression. Just like trademarks and patents, companies ca


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