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January 9, 2021 by Moji Onabanjo

THE NEED TO REGISTER A TRADEMARK IN ADDITION TO REGISTERING YOUR COMPANY

I registered my company do I still need to register a Trademark?

The answer is Yes!

The name of your company is the name used to identify your company and usually used for all tax purposes. This is registered on the state level meaning the same name may be available for use in another state.

Meanwhile, your trademark is federally protected and gives you the right to stop any unauthorized use of the same name in the entire country.

What is a Trademark?

According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark or service mark, “includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”

This typically is your business name, your logo or the name used to identify the products, services and in cases of software companies, apps etc. It is important that the names or logos be unique for easy identification by your customers.

Exclusivity

Registering your trademark means you have exclusivity to the use of the name nationwide such that no one else can operate or market any products using that same name. It gives the much needed exclusivity that every business requires to thrive in a competitive environment.

Trademark Infringement

Your Trademark gives you the right to legal action. You can sue an unauthorized user for infringement, make them pay fines, profits and legal fees.

You can also record your trademark with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which will ensure no counterfeit goods are imported.

The Symbol, “®”

You can also use the symbol “®” when you are registered. This indicates that you are federally protected and also gives your company a lot of prestige which could translate into more profits.

Burden of Proof

Generally unregistered trademarks have some legal protection but the burden of proof is much higher should someone copy or infringe upon your creation.

A registered trademark on file gives the owner additional protections, including presumed ownership, and diminishes the burden of proof.

January 5, 2021 – Update from USPTO

Trademark Fee Adjustment

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) is setting or adjusting certain trademark fees, as authorized by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), as amended by the Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success Act of 2018 (SUCCESS Act). The changes will allow the USPTO to continue to recover the prospective aggregate costs of strategic and operational trademark and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB or Board) goals (based on workload projections included in the USPTO fiscal year (FY) 2021 Congressional Justification), including associated administrative costs. They will also further USPTO strategic objectives by better aligning fees with costs, protecting the integrity of the trademark register, improving the efficiency of agency processes, and ensuring financial sustainability to facilitate effective trademark operations. USPTO has weighed carefully current economic conditions and the potential hardship that the fee increase could create for businesses and individuals. The Office paused development of the fee rule because of uncertainty about the economy earlier this year. The latest economic data point to continued recovery in many sectors of the economy. Because of this and the relatively small annual cost to businesses and individuals from USPTO’s trademark applications and maintenance fees, the Office has decided to finalize the fee rule for implementation in January 2021.

The main changes are shown below:

  • TEAS Standard: $350 per class
    Up from $275 per class
  • TEAS Plus: $250 per class 
    Up from $225 per class
  • Processing fee for failing to meet TEAS Plus requirements: $100 per class 
    Down from $125 per class

DATES: This rule is effective on January 2, 2021.

January 4, 2020 Update from The U.S. Copyright Office

Musical Works Database

The U.S. Copyright Office is issuing an interim rule regarding the Musical Works Modernization Act, title I of the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act. The law establishes a new blanket compulsory license that will be administered by a mechanical licensing collective, which will make available a public musical works database as part of its statutory duties. Having solicited public comments through previous notifications of inquiry and a notice of proposed rulemaking, the Office is issuing interim regulations prescribing categories of information to be included in the public musical works database, as well as rules related to the usability, interoperability, and usage restrictions of the database. The Office is also issuing interim regulations related to ensuring appropriate transparency of the mechanical licensing collective itself.

DATES: Effective February 16, 2021.