Safeguarding Your Marks

 By: Jill Smi
"To safeguard investors or entrepreneurs' patent or trademark..." that is the main goal of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (sometimes referred to as USPTO or PTO only).

The said office is under the office of the US Department of Commerce. Its current location is in Alexandria, Virginia.

History of USPTO

It was in the 17th century wherein a patent system was organized in a national scale to assure inventors of their rights to the discoveries they made. After which, it gave birth to several patent laws.

From the late 17th century until mid 18th century, there were a lot of patent applications nationwide. Since by-rules and regulation of the office has not been fortified, numerous problems were encountered. With that, the office began to think of solutions for an efficient process of patent application.

By the year 1991, the US Patent and Trademark Office have been entirely financed from the fees charged to process patents and trademark.

Goals of USPTO

The US Patent and Trademark Office have three primarily goals to achieve:

1. The office needs to properly administer by-laws which concerns patents and trademarks.

2. The office is expected to give appropriate advice to the Secretary of Commerce as well as the President of the United States.

3. The office is expected to offer advice to people who need counsel on issues regarding intellectual property.

USPTO on Trademark Registration

There are three ways which you may undertake if you intend to register a trademark.

1. "Use" Application - this is applicable to applicants who want to register a trademark that is currently used for business. "Use" application is utilized on a national scale or can even be on the international scale. Use of trademark in a local scale is not under accepted under this category.

2. "Intent-to-use" Application - this is applicable to applicants who want to register a trademark that is intended to use for business.

3. Trademark application by an international agreement - this is applicable to non US residents who want to register a trademark.

Once you know what category you belong, you may know obtain an application for trademark registration. You need to present the following:

? The official name of the applicant. This is commonly a business name.

? The location where the application is situated. For a company, "state of incorporation" should be declared. On the other hand, if the applicant is a sole individual, then the "country of citizenship" is required.

? The "drawing" of the mark in its accurate form.

? A detailed narrative where the "mark" will be utilized.

? If it is on an international scale, then a written report on the "international categorization" of the goods or services is required.

Commonly, the application is being completely undertaken by the mark owner with the help of a trademark lawyer.

After you filled out the above-mentioned items, you need the following items for submission at the PTO:

1. Three similar sample of the mark being registered.

2. An application fee.

After you have all the necessary documents, then you can now submit it to the office of Patent and Trademark.

If you are able to gather the minimum prerequisite for trademark registration, then you will be assigned a "serial number." As proof of registration process, the office will send you a receipt. It usually takes two months before you receive your receipt.

You will wait for approximately four months to be updated whether your trademark has been approved or not. During the four-month period, the examiner, usually a lawyer, assesses your application.

The USPTO will inform you if your application has been disapproved. When you receive a "disapprove" notice, it is recommended for you to take appropriate action within a period of six months or else your application will be discarded. Your appeal for reconsideration may be forwarded to the "Trademark Trial and Appeal Board."

When you obtained an "approve" notice to the trademark you have registered, then you can now use the trademark registration symbol (r).

Do not be encouraged by hearsays about federal trademark registration. There is an appropriate agency which can provide you with accurate information if you intend to register a trademark. It is recommended that you follow step-by-step instructions set forth by USPTO so that you will receive optimum protection for your trademark.
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