What is a Trademark?

A trademark is defines as one of the following: a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

The purpose of trademark law is to prevent consumer confusion as to the actual source of goods. If a candy store calls itself “Rockets” and has been in business for ten years, it establishes goodwill. If another company opens its doors and calls itself “Rockets,” consumers will be confused and unable to identify and distinguish the source of candy. The law is designed to prevent this type of confusion.

What is the difference between a Trademark, Copyright and Patent?

A Trademark differs from a copyright and patent. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work and a patent protects an invention. However, all applications are filed at the same place, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No. However, if you do not reside in the United States, you must appoint a “domestic representative” as part of the application process.

I have a name reserved with the Secretary of State when I incorporated my business, does this give me trademark protection?

No. Reserving a name with the Secretary of State does not give trademark protection. Registration of your trademark or service mark should be considered when incorporating your business in the United States in order to protect yourself from other people infringing on your mark. The mark will be registered with the U.S. Trademark and Patent office and can be registered at the state level with the Secretary of State.