Trademark Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does it mean to “trademark” a business or product name or logo?
Trademark ownership is usually determined by who uses the mark first in a commercial setting. So, by simply using a name, logo, or other symbol to identify goods or services in the marketplace, a trademark had been created and trademark has been established.

Why should you bother to register a trademark you’re already using with your business or products?
Federal registration makes an infringement lawsuit a lot more feasible from a fiscal standpoint, and an infringement lawsuit is the only real way to enforce trademark ownership.

How long does it take to get a trademark registered?
The typical time is between 12 and 18 months. However, a trademark search will disclose that the application for registration is pending, putting potential users of the mark on notice. This is usually enough to stop them from using the mark and thus accomplishes the same result as actual registration.

If you register a trademark for a particular product, what happens when you want to use the same trademark for a different product?
You can go ahead and use the mark and then file another application to register the new use of the mark under the appropriate class.

Can you apply to register a logo, name, and slogan all in one application?
A logo, name and slogan are all seperate trademarks. You will need a seperate application for each of them.

What happens if you register your mark and then find out that someone else was already using the mark but never registered it?
If the mark was being used nationally, as is usually the case with catalog and Internet sales, then your trademark registration may be subject to cancellation.

What can happen if you use someone else’s mark?
Your potential liability for deliberately using someone else’s trademark is huge and includes:

  • Actual economic damages suffered by the owner or the amount of profits earned using the mark
  • Three times the amount of profits earned or damages suffered as punitive damages
  • Attorney’s fees incurred by the owner and
  • A court order preventing you from using the mark