Founders Legal® is a new age, boutique law firm based in Atlanta, Georgia and run by experienced lawyers who are entrepreneurs themselves.
The trusted trademark lawyers of Founders Legal® handle trademark portfolios for a wide variety of clients including start-ups, small and medium businesses, fast-growing companies, global corporations, and engineering and design firms. We provide trademark services for clients across the country, including Georgia.
- Trademark Counseling and Brand Development
- Trademark Prosecution
- Trademark Registration
- Product Configuration/Trade Dress
- Competitor Trademark Portfolio Analysis
- Trademark Opposition and Cancelation
- Trademark License Agreements
DAVID PIERCE, ESQ.
ZACH EYSTER, ESQ.
Founders Legal is THE best legal firm in Atlanta. They work closely with their clients to provide excellent customer experience and ensure they understand and are comfortable with the legal process. I work with many startups and enterprises and I ALWAYS recommend Founders Legal. They’re simply the best in Atlanta because they care about you and your success.
David Pierce was incredibly helpful. He answered all my questions on trademarks in detail and was very thorough. He even provided advice for common trademark selection mistakes to avoid and offered some really helpful tips on what works best. Thank you very much David!
I HIGHLY recommend Zach to anyone in my network. He has helped me demystify branding and trademark law to an extent I did not think was possible. He is an expert in what he does and is a pleasure to work with. Check him out if you’re looking for someone to help you with growing/refine the legal arm of your business!
WHAT IS A TRADEMARK?
At its core, a Trademark is an Identifier of Source. It answers the basic questions of: 1) Who made this? 2) Who produced this product? 3) Who provided this service? 4) Who is RESPONSIBLE for a specific product or service?
WHY SHOULD YOU TRADEMARK A BRAND?
It is common for entrepreneurs to spend years of their lives, in addition to their blood, sweat and tears to grow a company and the name associated with it. That name can be not only dear to those who invest in it but it can also become a very valuable piece of property.
It is also not unheard of for entrepreneurs to invest in a name, only to be stopped in their tracks by a larger, established company who has been using a similar name previously. Additionally, it is possible for unscrupulous competitors to try and use the same name as the true innovators who did not properly reserve it.
To avoid such problems and unhappy surprises later, it makes sense for entrepreneurs to reserve and protect the name – the ‘brand’ – as early as possible, before significant resources are invested in it.
HOW LONG DOES THE TRADEMARK PROCESS TAKE?
The length of the U.S. Federal trademark registration process can vary. Once filed, an application is typically assigned to an Examining Attorney within about 3 months. The Examining Attorney will firstly review the application to make sure that the applied-for mark can be registered at all. The Examining Attorney will then review the selected classes and sub-classes in the application, make sure that the specimens are acceptable, and that ‘use’ of the mark is proper. Finally, the Examining Attorney performs a search to find possible conflicting marks – including those that look or sound substantially similar to the one in the application.
If the applied-for mark can be registered, no issues are found in the application itself, and if no conflicts are found, then the Examining Attorney will issue an ‘allowance’. An allowance simply means that the mark has passed the USPTO’s internal review, which is oftentimes the biggest hurdle for registration. It is not atypical for this process to take 1-4 months after the application is assigned to an Examining Attorney.
Once the mark is allowed, the application is published for opposition – a period of 30 days during which third parties can ‘oppose’ the mark, if they reasonably believe that registration of the mark in the application will harm them. If no third party opposes the application, then a registration is typically issued 1-2.5 months after that.
Therefore, a period of approximately 8 months from filing to registration is not unusual. There is a possibility that a registration may be granted within 6 or 7 months. It is also worth mentioning that a registration can require much more time (possibly years) if the Examining Attorney issues a refusal or if a third party files an opposition to the application.
DO I NEED TO BE USING A TRADEMARK TO REGISTER IT?
Yes. To obtain a Federal Trademark registration, you must show that you are ‘Using’ your mark. For Trademark purposes, the term ‘Use’ means ‘Use in Interstate Commerce’. Put simply, you must be offering your goods or services for sale in more than one U.S. state. If you are unsure about whether or not you are ‘Using’ your mark in Interstate Commerce, it is best to consult with a Trademark Attorney.
If you are not currently using your mark, it is possible to file an ‘Intent to Use’ application. The application would then be examined by an Examining Attorney for conflicts, but not for the mark’s use. After the Trademark is ‘allowed’, you must then file an ‘Allegation of Use’ within 6 months, demonstrating that you are using the mark. Once the Examining Attorney reviews and accepts the Allegation of Use, he or she will issue the final registration.
WHAT’S THE COST OF A CONSULTATION?
We provide free, 15-minute consultations to discuss your needs and provide you with an estimate for our trademarking services.