Trademark Lawyer Bergen County NJ
If you own a business and have yet to formally safeguard your branding, it’s important to connect with a trademark lawyer Bergen County, NJ businesses rely on. Your company’s name, its logo, its advertising slogans, and all of the other tools you use to identify your identity in the marketplace are intellectual property. If you don’t formally safeguard your intellectual property through the trademark registration process, you will leave your intellectual property vulnerable to infringement and your company vulnerable to intellectual property lawsuits filed by competitors. Especially if your business is small and only operates locally, it can be tempting to forego formalizing your intellectual property rights through the trademark registration process. However, maintaining your competitive edge in the marketplace by asserting a protected company brand and guarding against lawsuits insisting that your intellectual property doesn’t belong to you are worthy investments of your resources.
How Does the Trademark Registration Process Work?
The trademark registration process generally takes several months to complete. Depending on how fast the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is processing applications, it will likely take that agency 3-4 months to review your trademark application once it has been submitted. Obviously, it takes time for our Bergen County, NJ trademark lawyer team to properly draft a trademark application, so you’ll want to account for that preparation time as well when estimating how long it will take to receive your registered mark.
If the USPTO concludes that your mark doesn’t conflict with a mark that it is currently protected and that your application has been filled out properly over the initial 3-4 month review process, your mark will then be subjected to a publication phase that lasts 30 days. It is during this 30 day period that competitors (or any other member of the public) is permitted to formally object to your trademark registration application. Provided that either no one objects or no objections stick your application will then enter the final review phase of the process. If all has gone well and our team will do its utmost to ensure that all does go well you’ll receive your registration certificate shortly thereafter.
What should I include in my trademark?
Every trademark registration is unique, but there are some items that make your registration more successful. Here are some items that trademark attorneys agree makes for a good trademark:
- The trademark should be easy to spell, easy to read, and easy to pronounce
- The trademark should have the ability to be understood properly in countries beyond your own
- The trademark should have no negative meanings associated with it, including in other languages
- The trademark should be clear and unambiguous, meaning it’s easy for everyone to understand
- Finally, the trademark should be easy to use through different types of marketing channels
Different Categories of Trademarks
There are several types of trademarks that are recognized in the legal system. Ideally, your trademark should fall under one of the following categories:
- Arbitrary Marks: These include words that do have a real meaning in the given language, but they don’t actually relate to the product being sold. For example, the work “Amazon” as used for the online retailer.
- Coined Words: These are made up words that don’t actually have any meaning in any language, but they become known as the product. One famous example of this is Kodak for film.
- Suggestive Marks: These words hint at an attribute of the product without being just a basic descriptor. A great example of this is “Netflix,” the online movie and television streaming service. The “Net” part of the word implies an internet service, while “Flix” is a way of describing films.
Can I register my business name as my trademark?
This doesn’t always have a clear answer and must be decided on a case by case basis. If your business name can be considered distinctive enough, you should be able to register it. If you have an unusual name with an interesting spelling, the chances are greater that you’ll get this approved to be trademarked.
Can I use a trademark even if it has been used for many years?
Absolutely! Having a history of use with a symbol or word you want to trademark is a great way to claim rights over it. Even if it has been used for many years, it pays to protect yourself and invest in trademarking it as soon as you have a distinctive one under your belt.
What Happens to a Trademark if a Business Files for Bankruptcy?
If a business must file for bankruptcy they may file for Chapter 11. This will allow for them to come up with a plan that usually results in reorganization of the company to pay off debts. Chapter 11 allows for the company to remain open and continue doing business. A bankruptcy trustee will be responsible for any licenses or trademarks. Most of the time, as long a business continues to pay off their debts successfully, they may be able to maintain the rights to their trademarks. It is important to note that under Section 365 (n) of US Bankruptcy Code, trademarks do not include official protections in the same way that other types of intellectual property do. This means there is no guarantee that a trademark will be protected if a business files for bankruptcy. If a business owner does not follow through with the expectations that are put in place, they risk losing the rights to their trademark and in some cases risk the liquidation of all licenses. During bankruptcy proceedings, an attorney will be an important component to helping protect any trademarks that were filed under your business.
Legal Assistance Is Available
Too often, businesses wait until a dispute over branding has arisen to connect with the New Jersey intellectual property team at Kaplan Law Practice, LLC. While we’re certainly happy to be of service when branding disputes arise, we understand that it is in the best interests of companies to avoid such disputes whenever possible. That is why we spend a great deal of our time and energy helping businesses to register their trademarks, secure patents for inventions, and copyright their original works of art and authorship. If you’re a business owner, know that you’ll spend some resources when securing a trademark registration but this investment will help to ensure that your company isn’t deprived of much more significant resources in the event of infringement or a lawsuit down the road. Please allow our Bergen County trademark lawyer team to assist you with your legal needs today; the Law offices of Joshua Kaplan look forward to speaking with you.