Question: Where are you licensed as an attorney? Can you represent me?
Answer: William Lehner is licensed to practice law in Ohio, but we represent clients from all over the United States and the world. Being in the same location as your trademark attorney has no tangible effect on your trademark’s chances of reaching registration.
Question: Can I use the ™ or ® symbols?
Answer: You can use the ™ symbol before filing a trademark application. The ™ symbol means that you consider yourself to have “common law” rights to your trademark. In the United States, you can only use the ® symbol next to your trademark when it is fully registered at the federal level.
Question: Why do I need to file for a trademark if there are common law rights?
Answer: An application will have priority over any trademark application that has a later filing date than yours. Also, once you do reach registration, you will have retroactive trademark protection going back to the day you filed your application, meaning you can threaten anybody who started using an infringing mark after you filed your application, even if they started using it before you actually reached registration.
Question: Should I file a trademark application as an individual or as a business entity?
Answer: There are advantages to filing with a business entity listed as the owner of the trademark. You won’t have to re-assign ownership of the trademark if you sell the business to somebody else. Filing as a business entity also keeps the individual’s information private.
We offer business entity formation services if you are interested in forming a U.S. LLC or corporation. As soon as you’ve requested an entity formation from us, you may then list that entity’s details on our trademark form.
If you wish to assign/transfer the rights of your trademark later on, we can record your trademark assignment document with the USPTO. The government filing fee is $40 per trademark.
Question: Should I register my logo or should I register my name in plain text? What if I want to trademark both? What if my logo has my name in it?
Answer: Filing both a name/word mark and a logo requires two separate applications. It is most important to trademark the name in plain text.
Question: Do I have to renew my trademark after it’s registered?
Answer: Between the 5th and 6th year following registration, you have to file a maintenance document with the USPTO to keep your trademark alive. Between the 9th and 10th year following registration, you have to file a renewal for your trademark. Costs depend on how many classes your trademark has and what basis you registered the trademark under. Our form for trademark maintenance and renewal is here. We will try to remind you when your maintenance and renewal deadlines are coming up