My Practice Areas
If you have a company, website or product, a trademark may be the best way to protect it. It offers protection that can protect your brand for much longer than most intellectual property protection and directly protects you against direct competition. It is vital that every entity considers trademark protection for its company, website or product. While applying for a trademark may seem rather simple, the fact is that around 20% of all trademark application with the USPTO are denied during first action. A knowledgeable attorney is an invaluable tool in procuring a registered trademark.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a form of intellectual property which consists of a sign, design, symbol or words that are associated with or identify a specific item, service or brand.
Trademarks are most often used for the names of products or businesses (McDonald’s, Apple, Lexus, etc.). However, trademarks can also include stuff like domain names and, in certain cases, the specific way a store or storefront is designed.
What does a Trademark Protect and How Long Does it Last?
A trademark protects a company or product name or a logo. In a phrase, trademarks protect the identity of an item or entity in commerce. For example, the name of a product a company is selling or the name of a company that sells a number of products can both be trademarks. Examples include McDonalds, Apple and Amazon. These registered trademarks have the ability to put a little ® next to their name or logo. Only marks that are officially registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are able to use the ® making the public aware of its registration.
Trademarks are the potentially longest lasting form of intellectual property protection in the United States. Trademarks, once registered, are generally protected for as long as the mark is in use in commerce as long as the owner continues to renew the application
How Much Does A Trademark Cost?
The cost of the application itself varies greatly depending type of mark, the type of application and the number of classes the mark is being registered under. You can expect a trademark application to cost between $225 and $275 per class of goods being registered for marks that are already in use at the time of the application. While you can apply for a trademark for marks that are not currently in use but that you instead intend to use at a future date, the cost is slightly inflated as there are additional filing that must be made later to verify the use of the mark. The cost also depends on the number of classes the mark will be registered on, as each class costs between $225 and $275. The number of identification of these classes is a careful process as they must accurately reflect how the mark is being used in commerce.
In terms of time, the trademark application process is usually about a 9 to 15 month process, but could be longer if the process requires more in-depth or frequently communication with the examining attorney. Generally speaking, trademark applications completed by an attorney are not only more likely to be successful but are also more likely to be resolved sooner as the required information is more likely to be provided up front and therefore reduce the need for back and forth communication between the applicant and the examining attorney.
Is a Trademark Application What I Need?
Each of our clients is different. People and companies are at different stages and have different costs associated with their product or business. Point is, there is no single answer for everyone. What you and your company need is unique and based on a number of factors. We highly recommend you speak with an attorney to discuss the next steps for your company and whether a trademark may be what you need. We proudly offer a free consultation to our clients to help them determine what steps to take. If you are interested in setting up a free consultation with us, please contact us at 917-781-4186 or contact us by clicking the link below:
Can I Apply for a Trademark Myself?
While a trademark application can be completed and be successful without an attorney, the process can be difficult and time consuming. We always recommend speaking with an attorney prior to applying for a trademark or any form of intellectual property protection or governmental application. We encourage you to use our free consultation service prior to making the decision to apply for a trademark yourself.
Have you been accused of selling someone else’s product or using their name without their permission? Have you been accused of infringing a trademark, copyright or patent? These instances can be very costly for small business and can lead to inventory being withheld, funds frozen and business accounts being temporarily suspended while the matter resolves. Swift action can be the difference between resolution and further disputes. We assist clients in quick and proper resolutions of these matters to help get them back to normal operations as quickly as possible.
Notification of Infringement
Usually the first indication that an infringement has occurred will be in the form of a casual or professional email or contact from the trademark owner indicating that they own a mark that you are infringing on and requesting or demanding that you stop using it. If no response or compliance is received, the trademark owner may send you a formal cease and desist letter demanding you stop all conduct potentially infringing against their trademark. It is important to note that these letters provide knowledge of infringement. These letters are also intended to provide knowledge of the infringement. Continued use of the trademark with knowledge that infringement exists can subject you to liability for willful infringement. If the infringement is found to be willful, the damages awarded will be significantly higher. Therefore it is extremely important to address any correspondence received regarding potential trademark infringement.
Alternatively, you may get a notification from a service provider which is hosting or displaying your product or services, such as YouTube, Amazon or eBay, indicating that your product or services have been removed from their site or your account suspended or even banned. Worse, in these circumstances the funds you have earned on these platforms will typically be frozen by a temporary restraining order subject to the ongoing litigation. In this case, the trademark owner may claim that you have infringed on their trademark and request from the court a temporary restraining order, restricting your use of the allegedly infringing works until the case is resolved.
In either case, the notifications should not be ignored and appropriate action should be taken. Even if the trademark infringement claims appear to be invalid, ignoring them all together could subject you to significant liability.
If you have received a Cease and Desist letter, Temporary Restraining Order or summons notifying you of a potential infringement or lawsuit, you should seek legal counsel immediately. Many small businesses and eCommerce sellers find themselves subject to litigation based upon claims of intellectual property infringement and take no action, delayed action or improper action which results in further damage. We assist clients in resolving these lawsuits as quickly as possible to get their business back up and running.
While many of these notices and actions can be challenged and defeated, they should never be ignored. Delayed or non-action can result in serious repudiation by the copyright holder should the allegations be proven true. If none of these notices are complied with, the accused party will often be summoned to court and the accused party will seek, and often be granted, a Temporary Restraining Order in which the court will order the accused party to cease any and all accused infringing action until the court action is resolved, which can be years in some cases.
Additionally, if you have received a DMCA, Cease and Desist letter or Temporary Restraining Order, or summons notifying you of a potential infringement or lawsuit, you should seek legal counsel immediately. Many small businesses and eCommerce sellers find themselves subject to litigation based upon claims of intellectual property infringement and take no action, delayed action or improper action which results in further damage. We assist clients in resolving these lawsuits as quickly as possible to get their business back up and running.
Finally, if no action is taken with regard to a lawsuit, the Defendant may be found in default. When that occurs, individuals can be liable for a significant amount of money, and their accounts and business may have to suspend operation or cease to exist altogether. However, a Defendant’s obligation under this Judgment can be relieved if a Satisfaction of Judgment is filed by the Plaintiff. Proper legal action may help to resolve these matters and eliminate or reduce the financial obligations of a Default Judgment. If you have received a default judgment in relation to an infringement lawsuit, you should seek legal counsel immediately.
Business Formation and Construction
Starting a business is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. Hours of hard work and dedication are poured into your business every single day and we know that and want to help to ensure that your business is fully protected and has everything it needs to succeed. From forming a legal entity to registering and protecting its intellectual property, I provide services to help and protect your business.
Legal Entity Formation
When starting a business, choosing a legal entity type can be a daunting task but one that can have major effects on the way your business is run. The decision between a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability company is not always an easy one. Each has their own benefits and detriments and it’s important to understand your needs based on your plans to grow the company. We advise clients on which legal entity is right for them and assist them in filing for and registering their legal entity.
Whether it be partnership agreements, service agreements, revenue share agreements, licensing agreements or stock/equity transfer agreements, a contract will be involved in almost any transaction you or your company have with another entity. It’s important that these agreements are drafted appropriately and are not simple stock agreements that might not apply to your particular circumstances. We assist clients in drafting, maintaining and reviewing these contracts to ensure smooth transactions and your company’s protection.
Privacy is a huge concern right now and it should be high on every company’s priority list. Privacy policies are not as simple as copying a form into your website. They must be hand crafted for each individual business and must be continuously updated. Failure to do so could lead to potentially major concerns later on especially if your clients or users of your website are residents of California or the European Union, where the California Consumer Privacy Act and General Data Protection Regulation reign supreme with very strict rules for use of and disclosure of data collection. We assist clients in drafting, reviewing and updating their privacy policies to ensure they are as accurate as possible.
The terms of service is your agreement with your users. It’s important to understand what your users are agreeing to and what you need to include in your terms of service to protect yourself and your company to the fullest extent. The terms of service are literally the front lines of your protection and should be treated as such. Without a proper terms of service for your website of application, you or your company may be vulnerable to unnecessary risk. We assist clients in drafting and reviewing their terms of service to ensure they are protected.
Real Property Law
Are you looking to buy or sell property? I handle both residential and commercial real estate closings. We will ensure that the property you purchase is free of any liens, defects, judgements, or open violations. Our firm goes above and beyond to ensure you’re interests are protected when buying or selling property.
Buying a home can be one of the most exciting moments in a person’s life. Our firm is here to ensure that the purchasing of your home is an experience which will be remembered for a lifetime.
For property owners looking to keep up with tenancies and various legal tasks, we prepare lease agreements and handle all forms of landlord tenant dispute including evictions.