TRADEMARK LAW ATTORNEYS IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
Trademarks offer immense value to any company. Smart businesses recognize the importance of securing trademarks to distinguish their goods and services from that of their competitors. In fact, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), there were nearly 435,000 new trademark registrations in 2021. As of August 2022, the number of new registrations was already well beyond 220,000. All different kinds of companies in Illinois apply for and receive trademark protections because they understand their value.
At The Law Office of Alyease Jones, our attorneys are ready to help you with trademark-related matters. From drafting opinion letters on whether a potential trademark is viable, to helping you understand whether your trademark is being infringed upon, to guiding you through the application process, our skilled professionals are dedicated to you and your business. If you live anywhere in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, or Will County, reach out to The Law Office of Alyease Jones for a consultation.
WHAT PROTECTIONS DOES A TRADEMARK PROVIDE?
According to the USPTO, a trademark (TM) is “a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” Essentially, a trademark is anything that can be used to distinguish your goods, services, and brand images from those of another business. Items that can be trademarked include business names, product names, taglines, logos, designs, slogans, symbols, and more.
Once your application for a trademark is approved, you will have earned the following kinds of protection, among others:
Protection from infringement by another company
Protection from business reputation damage
Protection against consumer confusion
Protection from counterfeiting your goods and services
Work with an experienced Chicago attorney to begin protecting your intellectual property through trademarks.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF OBTAINING A TRADEMARK?
There are several steps involved in the process to obtain a trademark, including a search to determine trademark viability and an application for the trademark with the USPTO. It’s important to secure the help of an attorney experienced in trademark law so that you don’t miss any steps along the way.
Before filing your application, an attorney can conduct a comprehensive search for trademarks that could potentially conflict with yours. Your lawyer may search the USPTO’s trademark registration database, Illinois’ database, and other sources involving trademarks, registered or otherwise. After a search is complete, your attorney will draft an opinion letter detailing their findings.
OPINION LETTER OF TRADEMARK VIABILITY
The opinion letter from your attorney may include legal analysis, advice, and recommendations on whether your proposed trademark is available. Keep in mind that if someone registers a similar trademark with the USPTO before you do, they may be able to prevent your trademark from being registered. Even when a trademark isn’t officially registered with the USPTO, it could potentially block your trademark from a successful registration. This is why trademark clearance searches and opinion letters are vital.
THE TRADEMARK APPLICATION PROCESS
Here are the steps involved in the trademark application process itself:
Determine the kind of protection you’ll need.
Start a USPTO.gov account to access the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
File your trademark application through the TEAS, along with the non-refundable processing fee.
The USPTO will review your application and determine whether your trademark should be registered.
In the United States, it takes between 8 to 10 months to obtain a registered trademark. If your application is denied, you will receive a letter from the USPTO explaining the reason for the refusal. At this point, a skilled attorney can help you with your USPTO Trademark Application Appeal. Ultimately, your attorney can guide you through the application process, monitor the status of your application, and evaluate your options.
Our attorneys at The Law Office of Alyease Jones also help with International Trademark Bureau Applications. Under the ‘Madrid Protocol,’ individuals and businesses can file one application with a single office to seek protection for their trademark in multiple countries. Allow us to help you navigate the application process so that you are aligned with the requirements of the World Intellectual Property Organization's International Bureau.
WHAT QUALIFIES AS TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT?
Infringement of a trademark happens more often than you might think. It occurs when confusion results from the use of a similar trademark by an entity that registers its mark after the original one was registered. The original owner may be able to sue the other user for profiting from the original trademark without permission.
The ‘Polaroid Factors’ are often used when deciding an infringement case. The name comes from a 1961 court case when Polaroid defended its trademark. Among other factors, the Polaroid Factors include:
The similarity of the two trademarks
The similarity of the services being offered by both entities
Actual evidence of confusion among consumers over the two trademarks
The level of buyer sophistication in the marketplace in question
If you are facing trademark infringement in Illinois or are seeking restitution for your trademark that has been infringed upon, you need to retain a trademarks attorney. We’ll research and draft an opinion letter on whether a trademark is being infringed upon and help you protect what you have worked so hard to build.
TRADEMARK LAW ATTORNEYS IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
If you need help registering your trademark or need assistance with any trademark law matter, contact our attorneys at The Law Office of Alyease Jones. Together, we can strategize the best path forward. Our attorneys are proud to serve individuals and businesses in Chicago and throughout Cook County, DuPage County, and Will County.