Trademark and Patent FAQ’s

Q: Why should you register your trademark or patent?

A: A trademark and patent is a form of intellectual property that needs to be properly protected in order to deflect legal ownership claims. By registering a trademark and patent, unrelated parties may be prevented from using or profiting from the intellectual property in question.

Q: What types of items should be registered?

A: A trademark consists of a symbol, words, device or a distinctive mark that is used to represent a particular good or service that is offered by its owner. On the other hand, a patent can represent the creation or discovery of a utility, design or plant. These are the types of items that should be registered.

Q: Which department or government agency is used for registrations?

A: In order to begin the trademark and patent registration process, you can visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. This federal office has a large quantity of information that can be easily accessed.

Q: What is the registration procedure like?

A: One of the first things that you will need to do is to search the USPTO databases to see if a trademark and patent already exists for your particular item. You will have to fill out extensive paperwork that will go into finite details about your trademark and patent. A full checklist of tasks is available on the USPTO website. Therefore hiring professionals, such as patent InventHelp agency, is highly recommended.

Q: How much does registration cost?

A: There are various costs involved in the registration process which include maintenance fees, applications fees and other fees. Current pay schedules for a trademark and patent are available at the USPTO website.

Q: What is the typical timeframe involved?

A: Each registration case is unique. As a result, a trademark applicant can expect an answer within 3 months from their application. However, there are cases where an approval or denial is not received for several years if there are legal issues involved or other complicated matters arise. For a patent application, an applicant can expect to wait an average of 2 years.

Q: What laws or regulations govern trademark and patent registrations?

A: The Trademark Act and Trademark Rules of Practice are applicable in trademark registrations, while the Patent Act and Patent Practice and Procedure laws apply in patent registrations. Whether the application is completed by an attorney or a layperson, the applicant is expected to understand and comply with these statutes.

Q: Once approved, how long does my registration last?

A: A new trademark registration lasts for a 10 year term and can be renewed with an Affidavit of Use for additional 10 year terms. A new patent registration lasts for 20 years, although a design patent only lasts for 14 years.

Q: What are the common problems that are faced with trademarks and patents?

A: Trademark and patent registrations can result in a denial if the paperwork is completed incorrectly, is lacking information or relates to items that cannot be registered. For instance, a generic name for a goods or service cannot be registered as a trademark. Understanding the entire registration process from start to finish is vital.

Q: Who is best equipped to handle registrations?

A: An attorney that has been well-educated in intellectual property law is better equipped to complete the registration process. There are also patent agencies, such as patent service InventHelp agency. There are many complex legal terms and processes that are involved with a trademark and patent. It is recommended that laypersons avoid attempting to handle these matters on their own.

I Have an Idea!

So you have an idea for a product and you think it is going to be the next big thing. The product may very well have the potential of being the next big thing, but it won’t unless you put in the effort necessary to bring the product to market. You can accomplish this by either licensing your idea to someone that produces the item or you can produce the item yourself. Regardless, you will need to develop a business plan that takes into account the costs of and the potential revenue that may be derived from your venture. You can get help for your invention from patenting agencies in this step.

The business plan should also include a sound strategy for developing your intellectual property, which can be your venture’s most important asset. The main focus often is on the patents, but there are other types of intellectual property that may be more appropriate or that may be used in conjunction with patents to maximize the value of the venture.

The types of intellectual property available include patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyrights. Patents protect a “process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter”. Trade secrets protect confidential information, including formulas, practices, processes, and compilations of information. Trademarks protect names to the extent that the names identify the source of a product or service and copyrights protect original works of authorship.

To better visualize the differences between these types of intellectual property, assume that your product is a new soft drink that you will market under the name So-Drink. The composition and the process for producing the soft drink may be protected by either patents or trade secrets. The name, So-Drink, the shape of the bottle, slogans, and logos can be protected by trademarks. The name, bottle, slogans, logos, web pages, marketing material, etc., may be copyright protected as well. In this instance, it would be best to develop as much of the intellectual property as the venture’s budget allows.

Not surprisingly, the cost necessary to develop intellectual property is a primary concern for most start-ups. In terms of overall costs, patents are probably the most expensive right to develop. There are, however, steps that you can take to lower the overall cost and to spread the cost over a longer period of time. For example, you can maintain certain aspects of the product as a trade secret before filing a patent application. Doing so, however, is not without substantial risk.

Taking advantage of provisional patent applications can also reduce your initial outlay and delay the cost of the utility application for twelve months. There are few formal requirements for provisional applications and they do not get examined, which makes them the most appropriate patent applications for pro se applicants to file themselves. Utility applications are examined and they have many formal requirements, which means that most applicants will have to consult with an attorney at some point. Because utility applications are limited by the initial disclosure, it is best if applicants are just starting out as an inventor to consult with an attorney before filing the utility application in order to avoid costly mistakes.