and service marks are business names, product names, logos or
slogans that identify the source of goods or services. Trademarks
designate the source of products and service marks relate to
services. (Since the laws applicable to trademarks and service
marks are essentially the same, this site refers to both as
"trademarks"). Federal or state trademark registration
can help you protect your trademarks and service marks from
infringing use by others. A state trademark registration gives
you the exclusive right to use your trademark in your industry
in that state. A federal trademark registration (through the
United States Patent and Trademark Office) gives you the exclusive
right to use your trademark in your industry in the United States.
These are general rules with exceptions. For example, the first
party to use a trademark in a specific market area may have
superior trademark rights in that area if they continue to use
the mark. This may be true even if another party later secures
a state or federal registration of the trademark.
Your trademark attorney can provide several services related
to your trademarks. First, your trademark attorney can help
you select a trademark or service mark that is strong from
a legal point of view. This involves an analysis of whether
or not your mark is merely descriptive of the products or
services you offer (such as a mark like "Sandwich Restaurant")
or geographically descriptive (such as a mark like "Portland
Sandwiches"). Those marks are weaker from a legal point
of view. The strongest marks are made-up words, like Kodak
or Xerox. It is also possible to create a legally strong mark
that is clever or unique and not merely descriptive of your
goods or services or the geographic location of your business.
Your trademark attorney can also help you research whether
or not there are already confusingly similar marks in similar
industries to yours. This ordinarily involves at least a basic
search of state and federal trademark registration databases.
This can also involve more comprehensive searches of state
corporate filing databases; website domain name registries;
and other sources.
Your trademark lawyer can also help you decide whether to
file your trademark in one or more states or to submit a federal
mark registration. This decision will be based on factors
such as your immediate and long term plans for business expansion.
If you do a federal trademark registration, your trademark
attorney will help you decide whether to register based on
actual use of the mark in interstate commerce, or if a registration
based on your intent to use the mark in interstate commerce
is more appropriate.
Contact Peak Law Group's trademark attorney in Portland Oregon
for more information on registering a trademark!