FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I work with Radiance IP Law if I'm not a six or seven figure business owner yet?
Of course. While our clients are typically established businesses with annual revenue of at least multiple six figures, we will work with any business owner who has big goals that they know they can’t achieve without first making sure their brand is protected. However, we aren't a good fit for bargain shoppers, or businesses not profitable or generating any revenue yet.
Why do your trademark services cost more than this other law firm I spoke with?
Our clients hire us for our extensive trademark experience and expertise, and all-inclusive flat rates. Most law firms don’t specialize exclusively in trademarks, or offer all-inclusive value or pricing. We include all aspects of the U.S. trademark registration process, and then some. We also don't just file your trademark application. We serve as your long-term strategic partner and legal advisor. We help you develop and execute the best trademark strategy for your business to ensure the broadest legal protection, and opportunities to leverage and monetize your trademarks to generate maximum revenue for years to come. Lastly, we've helped hundreds of businesses successfully register their trademarks, and have a 99% success rate doing so.
What's the difference between a trademark, copyright, and patent?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these elements that identifies and distinguishes the source of your products or services from those of a competitor. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work, such as songs, books, videos, photographs, and website content. A patent protects an invention. For example, if you were to invent a new product, you would apply for a patent to protect the invention itself. A trademark would protect the company name, product name, and logo. A copyright would protect the website where you sell the product.
What can I trademark and not trademark?
You can trademark anything that distinguishes your products or services from another, including but not limited to your business name, logo, tagline, product or service name, event name, and podcast/blog name. However, generally, you can’t trademark generic words or phrases, single movie/song/book titles, a mark that is already trademarked by someone else, famous names or likenesses (without their consent), informational or widely used messages, or government symbols or insignia.
Do I need to register my trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?
It’s not required, but you absolutely should. In the United States, by using a name or logo publicly, you can acquire common law trademark rights. However, a common law trademark provides very limited protection in one narrow geographic region. Registering your trademark gives you a host of extra benefits and legal rights that you wouldn’t have with just a common law trademark. See below!
What are some benefits of securing a U.S. federal trademark registration?
Registering your trademark gives you many benefits. Here are just a few:
The exclusive right to use your trademark in connection with your business’s products or services in your industry nationwide
Automatic presumption of legal ownership
Ability to use the ® symbol
Ability to deter others from using your trademark
The right to enforce your trademark rights against infringers on multiple Internet and social media platforms (including Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) without the need to bring a lawsuit
The right to bring a domain name enforcement suit to potentially stop others from using your trademark as a domain name
The right to sue and seek damages against any potential infringers in federal court, meaning you can enforce your trademark in all 50 states
When's the best time to start the trademark process?
In short, you should start the trademark process as soon as possible. Starting the trademark registration process sooner rather than later can help you avoid potential issues later on. We never want you to fall in love with a trademark and use it for your business only to find out later on that someone else has superior rights in that mark and you have to rebrand. Here are some general guidelines for when you should be thinking about starting the trademark process:
Before adopting a name, tagline, or logo
Before any brand extensions
Before expanding geographically
Before hiring staff
Can I file a trademark application before using my trademark?
Yes. You can file an intent-to-use (1B) trademark application before using your trademark. The application process is mostly the same, except you need to file evidence that you are using the trademark (a Statement of Use) within the next two years to gain registration of the mark. An intent-to-use application can be beneficial to reserve your rights in a trademark prior to using it to avoid the possibility of competitors stealing or infringing on your trademark rights.
If I’ve done my own trademark search, do I really need to hire Radiance IP Law to do another search?
Yes! Even if you conducted your own search and didn’t find anyone using the same mark, there are plenty of other factors that can affect whether you’ll receive a trademark registration. For starters, a search on the USPTO website does not account for slight variations in your trademark currently in use which could hinder your ability to register the trademark. Our team knows exactly what to look for and can predict what obstacles or objections may come up during the registration process, and provide you with the best trademark strategy for your business. The fact that your exact (identical) trademark doesn’t show up in a search does not mean that you can register that trademark.
What does the U.S. federal trademark registration process entail?
The entire federal trademark registration process takes, on average, about 10 months. While each trademark application is different, here’s a general outline of the process:
Prepare and file your application with the USPTO.
Your application is assigned to a trademark examining attorney for review about 3 months after filing.
The examining attorney may issue an Office Action with additional requirements or refusals.
Submit a response to the Office Action within 6 months.
If the Office Action requirements or refusals are satisfied or overcome, then the application will publish for a period of 30 days in the Official Gazette. During this time, third parties can oppose the registration if they think their rights will be harmed by your trademark.
If no one comes forward to oppose your trademark, then your application will proceed to the final registration stages.
If your application was an intent-to-use application, a Notice of Allowance will issue, to which you will have 6 months to file a Statement of Use showing you are using the mark in commerce, or an extension request for an additional 6-month period to file a Statement of Use. You may file up to 5 extension requests.
Receive U.S. trademark registration certificate from the USPTO.
For more information on the trademark registration process, be sure to check out our explanatory video on the Radiance IP Law YouTube page here.
When can I start using the ® symbol?
The ® symbol can only be used after successfully gaining a trademark registration from the USPTO. Until you gain a trademark registration, you are only allowed to use the TM or SM symbols with your trademark. You can be charged with fraud and heavily fined for using the ® symbol without a U.S. federal trademark registration.
How long does a trademark last?
A trademark can last indefinitely if you continue to use it in commerce and file the necessary trademark maintenance and renewal documents with the USPTO. A Declaration of Use must be filed between the 5th and 6th years following registration attesting to the continued use of the mark. Between the 9th and 10th years following registration and every 10 years after that, a combined Declaration of Use and Application for Renewal must be filed to renew the registration.