“Trademark” is defined in the U.S. Trademark Act of 1946 (also known as the Lanham Act) as a term that “includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof—(1) used by a person, or (2) which a person has a bona fide intention to use in commerce and applies to register on the principal register established by this chapter to identify and distinguish his or her goods, including a unique product, from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods, even if that source is unknown.”
Unlike patent protection, trademark protection can continue for an indefinite amount of time as long as the mark is in continuous use. This potential for a long, possibly even unlimited, lifetime, makes trademark protection a vital component of any individual's or company's IP portfolio. Gallium Law has a team of highly skilled IP professionals ready to assist you in gaining registered trademark protection for your name or logo, as well as trade dress protection for your product packaging or product line design.
You are likely familiar with the two symbols used to indicate the trademarked status of a word, name, symbol, or device: ® for registered trademarks and TM for unregistered trademarks. A registered trademark is afforded greater statutory protection than an unregistered mark, including the ability to achieve “incontestable status,” which limits the grounds upon which the mark's validity may be challenged. In addition, registered marks are specifically protected from importation without the mark holder's consent: “…it shall be unlawful to import into the United States any merchandise of foreign manufacture if such merchandise…bears a trademark owned by a citizen of, or by a corporation or association created or organized within, the United States, and registered in the Patent and Trademark Office…unless written consent of the owner of such trademark is produced at the time of making entry.” (See 19 U.S.C. §1526(a).) Registered marks are therefore more valuable than unregistered marks and provide greater protection to your name or logo from validity challenges and foreign-made fraudulent merchandise.
Registering a trademark can be a confusing process for both solo upstart inventors and established businesses. Our team has experience prosecuting trademark and trade dress matters through the USPTO as well as foreign offices, and we would be happy to discuss opportunities for you to strengthen your brand with trademark and/or trade dress registrations. Please fill out this Contact Form and we will be in touch soon, or call us at 651-256-9480.