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Trademark Protection

Being the first to use a mark in commerce gives you priority if someone wants to challenge you to stop using it. However, to obtain the greatest protection for a mark it is almost always advisable to register the mark, either with the federal government, if possible, or with a state government. In most states, if a trademark is used within a state it can be registered for protection within that state or specific region of the state. But for a company selling goods or services accross state lines, it is best to seek Federal protection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Although federal registration of a mark is not mandatory, it has several advantages, including notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration.

Sometimes the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will not catch an application mark that may cause a likelihood of confusion, because they do not see it as a problem. But later it may still lead others to believe they are of the same source or somehow affiliated. A good example is a man named Roy Fox sought to register two trademarks, one for "Harbowl" and "Harbaugh Bowl" of which neither applications were challenged by an Examiner at the USPTO and both marks were then published for public opposition. And that's when the NFL found out about them and wrote Mr. Fox a couple letters. The first request from the NFL was a letter that encouraged Fox to abandon the marks, citing conflict with its own registered NFL mark. Then the NFL wrote a letter stating that the league would oppose his filing and seek to have him pay its legal bills.

You can read the article, the link is below:

The article went on to say, “’Whether the NFL would have had the legal right to Fox's trademarks is highly questionable’, according to R. Polk Wagner, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, who teaches intellectual property.”

If you have a trademark idea or questions about infringement, a trademark attorney is the best place to seek legal advice. If you have any further questions you can always send Trademark Attorney George Leone an email.

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Citadel Patent Law - Tacoma Intellectual Property Attorney
Located at 9125 Bridgeport Way Southwest, Suite 105 Lakewood, WA 98499. View Map
Phone: (253) 256-5775 | Local Phone: (253) 682-0246.