It is a wonderful event when you find out your trademark application has been approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but there are things you should be aware of before (and after!) your trademark is allowed and registers.
Once your mark is approved for registration (sometimes even before the mark is registered!), you are likely to receive many offers and notices from third-party companies. BEWARE!!! Many of these offers or notices will tell you that they will protect your mark, for a fee. If you have an attorney, you should contact her/him before agreeing to any of these services and before paying any fees, they are probably unnecessary, and may be a scam. If you don’t have an attorney, be cautious before responding to any communication that is not from the USPTO. A few things you can check to see if the communication is from the USPTO:
- If it is by mail, make sure it is from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, VA;
- If it is by email, make sure it is from an “@uspto.gov” email address. Beware that some incoming emails are fakes to appear to originate from a certain domain, but the “reply to” address will be to a different domain.
- If you receive any communications you are unsure about, PLEASE REACH OUT TO ONE OF OUR EXPERIENCED TRADEMARK ATTORNEYS!
After your trademark application has matured into a registered trademark, you can (and should) begin marking your trademark using the words “Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office” or “Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.” or the circle-R (®). This helps to notify others that your mark is registered and may allow you to seek certain types of damages in a trademark infringement suit, if that ever becomes necessary.
You should also make a reasonable effort to determine whether third parties are using your trademark (or a trademark that is confusingly similar to yours) in connection with similar goods or services. When appropriate, you may wish to contact us so we can discuss preparing a demand letter or other steps necessary to prevent a third party from infringing upon your trademark.
PLEASE NOTE: this post is intended for informational purposes and IS NOT legal advice. If you have legal questions or are seeking legal advice, please contact an attorney.