As a Florida business owner, you may not realize that your intellectual property (IP), or the ideas behind your business, can be as valuable as your business itself. Obtaining a trademark to protect some of your intellectual property can prevent others from stealing your ideas and profiting from them.
That said, whether you are a new or experienced entrepreneur, you may need to learn how to get a trademark. Applying for a trademark is not something most business owners are trained to do. And registering a trademark in Florida adds an additional layer of complexity to the process. However, failure to protect your intellectual property can lead to financial loss and heartache. Hiring experienced Orlando intellectual property lawyers like the BrewerLong team can help you unlock the value of your IP and smooth the path to registering a trademark. Read on to learn more about how to get a trademark for your Florida business.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is some kind of symbol, word, or phrase that legally distinguishes your product or service from the products and services of other businesses. To build a great brand, you will need great trademarks. In a nutshell, a trademark protects the great logo or slogan you worked so hard to create.
Registering a trademark is about more than merely making your brand recognizable. It also helps to protect your brand identity and distinguish your company from other similar products or service providers. Working with an intellectual property lawyer to help you in obtaining a trademark can make all the difference in your success. The BrewerLong team can help.
Applying for Trademark Registration
One of the most challenging parts of obtaining trademark registration is that the United States has a dual trademark registration system. This means that you can apply for state or federal trademark protection or both. The best way to protect your marks is usually to apply for both federal and state trademarks.
In Florida, you can register your trademark as soon as you start using your trademark to identify the products or services you are selling. For federal trademark registration, you can register your trademark once your mark is in commercial use in one or more states, between two states, or between a state and a foreign country.
Actual Use Versus Intent-To-Use Trademark Registration
Once you have your logo, slogan, or other marks set, you can apply for federal trademark registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) based on your actual use of the mark in commerce or upon your bona fide intention to use the trademark in commerce in the future. This second type of application is known as an “intent-to-use” application.
If you file an “intent-to-use” application, you will need to demonstrate that you began using the mark within six months from the date you receive USPTO approval of the mark for registration unless you obtain an extension.
Registering a Trademark with the USPTO
To obtain federal trademark registration, you need to file your trademark application along with the required filing fees with the USPTO. While having an attorney help you with this is not required, it can make the process much easier since the application and any follow-up can be very technical and complex. It may not surprise you to learn that, like most other areas of the law, there are specially trained attorneys who focus their practice on trademarks and intellectual property.
Registration typically takes between 12 to 24 months to complete for trademarks in actual use. Registration of an “intent-to-use” trademark will vary depending on the date actual use of the trademark is established. Once your trademark is registered with the USPTO, your mark will be protected for renewable terms of ten years. You can renew the ten-year terms in succession.
Having an attorney assist you in filing your trademark registration is important since the USPTO has very specific rules about trademark maintenance. While you have to renew your trademark every ten years, the USPTO will also cancel your registration if you do not file an affidavit that you are still using the trademark between the fifth and sixth year after registration. You should also file an affidavit asserting that the registered trademark has been in continuous use in commerce for five years, with no pending challenging proceeding or adverse decision to render the trademark “incontestable.”
Registering a Trademark in Florida
To register a trademark with the State of Florida, you must file an application and pay the required filing fees. These fees are less than $100, but you should check the Secretary of State’s website to confirm the current amount, as well as pay any expedited processing fees if you wish to use any such services. In addition, you will need to submit samples of the trademark as it is actually being used in connection with the products or services your business offers. Our Orlando trademark attorneys can help.
How BrewerLong Can Assist with Your Trademark Law Needs
Understanding how to protect your trademarks in court can be complicated. The experienced intellectual property attorneys at BrewerLong have helped many businesses protect their trademarks, as well as other forms of intellectual property. Contact us today for a consultation.
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