If you have never filed a trademark before with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the application process can be intimidating.

Even for seasoned businesses that have worked with their own trademark attorney in Columbus, Ohio, certain components and nuances of the trademark process can present issues.

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Filing a trademark application with the USPTO

There are a variety of different trademark applications you can file, and it is important to file the type of application that will best suit your needs. In terms of initial applications, the USPTO offers the TEAS Plus application, the TEAS RF application, and the TEAS Regular application. Each application has a different filing fee and procedure associated with it. Call our Columbus trademark attorney for more detail.

Once you make your initial application selection, you will have to decide what type of trademark you want to file for. The standard character mark is a trademark application for a word or phrase, with no design element. A popular example of a standard character mark would be the word “Nike” or the phrase “Just Do It.” A standard character mark can be a combination of words, letters, and numbers.

Another type of trademark application is for the special form mark. The special form mark is a trademark that has aesthetic or design elements. If you are seeking to trademark your business logo or an image, you’ll want to file for a special form mark.

Additionally, you’ll also have to choose the type of basis for your application. Most U.S. trademark applications will come down to two choices: the Section 1(a) application or the Section 1(b) application.

The Section 1(a) application is for trademarks that are being used right now, and you can show documented proof that you are using the trademark. The Section 1(b) application is for trademarks that you intend to use in the future, but you are not currently using the mark in commerce. It’s why it’s important to work with a Columbus trademark lawyer.

Trademark International Class

When you go to file your trademark application, you will be prompted to file in a specific class. The USPTO features 45 international classes. If applicable to your product or service, you can file in multiple classes. Which classes to file in (and which classes to avoid) can often be a point of strategy that our Columbus, Ohio trademark registration attorney counsels clients on.

Trademark Specimens

A key, but often overlooked, aspect of filing a great trademark application is your use of trademark specimens. Properly preparing and presenting the specimens in your application can help take an application from good to great and can make the examining attorney’s job much easier. Be sure to adhere to the USPTO guidelines when submitting specimens, including not exceeding the 5MB and 30MB limits.


Responding to and Overcoming an USPTO Office Action

One of the more difficult parts of applying for a trademark can be making sense of and properly responding to an office action issued by the assigned examining attorney.

So what is an office action? An office action lists the issues that the examining attorney has identified with your application. These issues must be corrected or addressed before your application can be cleared to the next stage.

Common issues can include classification of goods and services, identification of goods and services, likelihood of confusion, merely descriptive, geographically deceptive misdescriptive, geographically descriptive, primarily merely a surname, use of a disclaimer, or significance in a foreign language or in the trade.

If your office action includes one of the above issues, don’t despair. With the proper amount of research and a well-crafted office action response, you may be able to get your trademark application approved.

Trademark Infringement Issues

Perhaps you’ve gone to all of the trouble to get your application registered but then discover down the road that someone else is using your trademark. As the trademark owner, you have certain federal and state intellectual property rights. If you need assistance with enforcing your trademark rights, do not hesitate to contact our patent and trademark attorneys in Columbus, Ohio.

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