A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, device, expression, color, sound or any combination that is used or intended to be used in commerce to identify the goods or services and to indicate their source. Logos, designs, and Internet domain names can be trademarked.
Why Register A Trademark?
Trademarks used in commerce that have not been registered can be denoted with a "™" symbol after the mark, this is called a common law trademark, rather than a "®" symbol reserved for registered marks that appear in the USPTO registry.
However, federal trademark registration has several advantages:
- A notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark
- A legal presumption of ownership nationwide
- The exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration. Many states offer state-level trademark protection. However, it is not better than the federal trademark protection because it is limited to the state, and federal trademark protection has broader scope. With valid, registered trademarks you can prevent the importation of infringing goods into the United States.
Trademark searches help determine whether there is already a trademark that is the same or similar to the one the applicant or business owner wants to use. Conducting a trademark search is important for determining whether your trademark can be registered and whether you can use your trademark in commerce without the danger of infringing someone else’s trademark.