If you have a business in Santa Monica or the greater Los Angeles area, chances are you have considered registering a trademark for your business. However, between registering your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or with the California Secretary of State, you have probably allowed your confusion to stop you from actually taking action. The trademark law attorneys at Verhagen Bennett are well-versed in all aspects of state and federal trademark law as well as general business law practices and can help answer all of your questions relating to registering a trademark for your business.
Registering Your Trademark With the USPTO
Federal trademark registration with the USPTO is more expensive and complicated than state trademark registration, but it also offers a lot more protection. A federal trademark application can take several months or even years to process, which is one reason why you will want to make sure you have a trademark law attorney help you with the application process and make sure your application is prepared and filed correctly.
Although the federal trademark registration process is longer and more expensive, it also offers more benefits. Some of the benefits of registering your trademark with the USPTO include the following:
A legal presumption that you own the trademark and have the right to use it anywhere in the U.S. and stop infringing products from being imported from outside the U.S.,
A public record of your trademark in the USPTO database,
The ability to use the symbol ®,
The ability to stop a future state trademark registrant of using the same mark,
The ability to file trademark infringement lawsuits in federal court, and
A leg up when trying to obtain a trademark in a foreign country.
Registering Your Trademark With the California Secretary of State
Even though the mere existence of your trademark provides you with some trademark protections under common law, and state trademark registrations do not offer the same benefits as federal trademark registrations, you can still benefit from filing your trademark with the California Secretary of State for the following reasons:
Your trademark will be publicly recorded with the California Secretary of State,
You will be able to file trademark infringement lawsuits and stop future state trademark registrants of the same mark,
Your state trademark application will be on average $200 cheaper than a federal trademark application, and
It will typically take less time for your state trademark application to be processed and approved.
Which Option is Better for You?
Since federal trademark registrations are more costly and time-consuming, you may wish to file a state trademark with the California Secretary of State if you do not plan to ever do business outside of the state of California. Otherwise, the legal protections granted to you through a federal trademark will be more beneficial to your business in the long run. If you are unsure whether you will ever expand your business beyond Santa Monica, Los Angeles, or California, or if you have additional questions regarding where you should file your trademark, contact the trademark law attorneys at Verhagen Bennett for a free case review today. Call us at 310-917-1064 or visit our website to schedule your consultation.
(image courtesy of Julian Howard)
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© 2018 Verhagen Bennett LLP — This article is for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.