Trademark Basics

A collection of resources on the fundamentals of trademark law and trademark registration

Why Are There Trademarks?

Summary of the policies and purposes behind trademark law as a subset of unfair competitions laws.

How Do I Protect My Business’ Name and Logo?

Brief overview of how a brand can potentially be protected under trademark law and the importance of selecting a strong mark.

How Can a Brand Be Protected as a Trademark?

Explanation of what makes a mark distinctive enough to be protectable as a trademark. Explains the strength continuum of generic, descriptive, suggestive, and arbitrary & fanciful marks.

What is the Process to Register a Trademark?

Overview of the process to register a trademark and the basic requirements for a new trademark application.

What Should Be Done to Maintain a Trademark?

Explanation of steps necessary to maintain rights in a trademark and avoid the loss of rights.

What is Likelihood of Confusion?

Discussion of the “likelihood of confusion” standard used to assess trademark infringement in court and to establish trademark registrability.

What is an Acceptable Trademark Specimen?

Detailed guidance about trademark specimens of use and and explanation (with examples) of what is or is not acceptable as a specimen for submission to the USPTO with a trademark application or registration renewal.

What Is Use in Commerce?

Discussion of what types of trademark usage constitute use “in commerce” sufficient for federal U.S. registration.

How Can I Strengthen Protection of a Trademark?

Examples of possible additional steps that can be taken to strength protection of a trademark beyond mere registration.

Do I Need a Trademark Search?

Detailed information about whether and when a trademark search is worthwhile when selecting and adopting a new brand or mark. Addresses trademark clearance / freedom-to-operate searches and registrability searches.

How Should a Trademark Search Be Conducted?

An overview of basic considerations about how to structure a trademark search to meet your needs, and explanation of the scope of different types of searches.

What is an Office Action?

Explanation of what trademark “office actions” are and how they arise during trademark prosecution (examination).

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