Trademark Tools and Resources
Trademark laws protect symbols, names, words, or short phrases that are used in association with particular goods and/or services. Trademarks allow companies to identify the source of goods and/or services they offer and distinguish themselves from others providing similar goods and/or services. Thus, the main goal of trademark laws is to prevent confusion among the general public as to the source of certain goods or services.
A company that wants to acquire trademark protection isn't required to follow any formal procedures, such as registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but must simply use the mark legitimately in a business or commercial setting. There are benefits, however, to registering with the USPTO, including the legal presumption that the registrant is the owner of a particular mark and the ability of the registrant to file a lawsuit in federal court in the event of trademark infringement.
This article will provide you with a variety of trademark tools and resources that can help you understand more about trademarks and the trademark registration process.
Below you can find a variety of forms that relate to trademark law, from questions to consider before registering for a trademark to a checklist of documents you should collect when you want to trademark your business name.
- Checklist: Documents to Collect When Trademarking Your Business Name: A list of the documents that are commonly needed to register your trademark.
- Trademark Search Questionnaire: A questionnaire that identifies the information you will need in order to conduct a search before choosing a business name.
- Trademark Registration: Questions to Ask: A form to help you identify and answer issues that may arise when you apply to register your trademark.
Here are the laws that govern trademarks in the U.S. In this list you can also find a link to the Madrid Protocol, which applies to international trademark registration.
- USC Title 15, Ch. 22, Subchapter I: The Principal Register: Statues that relate to the principal register of a trademark.
- USC Title 15, Ch. 22, Subchapter II: The Supplemental Register: Statutes that relate to the supplemental register of a trademark.
- USC Title 15, Ch. 22, Subchapter III: General Provisions: Statutes that relate to the general provisions governing trademarks.
- USC Title 15, Ch. 22, Subchapter IV: The Madrid Protocol: Statutes that relate to international applications for trademark protection.
- State Trademark Information: Information about trademarks specific to each state and the District of Columbia.
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Resources:
As previously mentioned, registration with the USPTO is not required for trademark protection; however, registration offers certain advantages and the USPTO offers helpful information about trademarks.
- USPTO - Trademarks: The home page that offers various trademark tools and links as well news and updates about trademarks.
- Trademark FAQs: Frequently asked questions about various aspects of trademarks, including filing for trademark registration with the USPTO and maintaining a trademark.
- Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS): The USPTO online filing system for trademark applications.
- Trademarks Official Gazette (TMOG): This provides information of each mark that has been registered, as well as a list of renewed and cancelled registrations.
More Trademark Organizations:
The following resources will help you learn about trademarks abroad.
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office – Trademarks: This is the Canadian government site in which you can find out about trademarks and apply for trademark protection in Canada.
- U.K. Intellectual Property – Trademarks: This is the U.K. government site where you can learn about trademarks, apply for trademark protection, and search for a trademark in the U.K.
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): This is the global organization that provides information, policy, and services in order to protect intellectual property around the world.
- European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO): This organization provides protection for trademarks in the European Union.
Getting Legal Help
Protecting the quality of your goods and/or services and making sure that you're brand can be distinguished from others is very important for a small business. If you have any questions about the trademark tools or resources provided above, or if you have more general questions about trademark laws, you may want to contact a local trademarks attorney for guidance.
If you would like more information and resources related to this topic, you can visit FindLaw's Trademarks section.
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Contact a qualified business attorney to help you identify how to best protect your business' intellectual property.