Intellectual property is a right granted to any person who created awork that is useful to the public. Because intellectual property is apossible source of valuable economic gains, holders of intellectualproperty rights are protected from the possibility of other peopletake economic advantage of the right holder's work. One of the areasof intellectual property is trademark, which refers to the symbol orthe name to signify a product or a service. Trademarks are highlyprotected because they are telling of the quality of certain productsor services, which is often the foundation of any business.
Application for the right to use a trademark is not an easy processthat is left to the hands of the applicant. Trademark law specifiesnumerous requirements, non-compliance of one would result to thedenial of the application. To apply for trademark rights, theapplicant can either: (1) file a mark with the United States Patentand Trademark Office with the intent to use that mark on a product orservice that will be offered to the public, or (2) by actually usingthe mark on a product or for a service.
The timing of the application for trademark right may be the firstbump that trademark rights applicants need to hurdle. Trademark law,which is a federal legislation, provides that the filing date servesas the date of constructive use of the mark. This means that the actof filing creates a nationwide priority of rights in case anotherperson decides to use the same or a confusingly similar mark.Trademark law emphasizes that there must be a bona fide intent to usethe mark for a product or a service to be sold to the public. Withoutthis bona fide intent to use, the application will be deemed invalidand fraudulent and the Trademark Office can impose penalties.Trademark law also requires that the trademark be used within sixmonths after the Trademark Office allows the use of such mark. Thefiling for a trademark right protects the holder from future disputeswhen a similar mark is used for a similar product or service bygiving him right of priority over the mark. In the internationaltrade scene, U.S. trade laws prohibits the entry of goods bearing amark which infringes on a registered mark into the country.
There is research involved in the application for trademark rights asexclusive trademark rights are also granted to those who have usedthe marks even without filing for registration with the TrademarkOffice if the use of such mark is prior to the filing forregistration. This means that when applying for trademark rights, theapplicant must ensure that no one else is using that mark. Ifsomebody else is using that mark before the filing for registration,the application can be denied.
Application for federal registration of a trademark or service markis a tedious process requiring research and review. It is thus a goodidea for applicants to employ the service of an expert trademark lawattorney to handle the legal requirements needed for trademarkregistration so that the applicant can focus on the business aspectof the trademark.