Who Has the Right to Use My Company’s Name?

It is always uncomfortable when someone shows up to the party wearing the same outfit as you are. The same is true of trademarks, but even worse: someone could be at another party halfway across the country from you wearing the same outfit and it would still be embarrassing. You may think it is a simple case of “Who was wearing it first?” – but for Intellectual Property, things are not so simple.

A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of the lot that distinguishes your goods and services from any others on the market. That last point is important enough to reiterate: the whole purpose of a trademark is to point out what makes your company unique. Trademarks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Unlike copyrights and patents, trademarks have no expiration date. Instead, their validity is determined by how long they are actively in use on the market.

Of course, not everyone who uses a trademark registers them. This creates a common problem: what happens when someone else trademarks a name you have been using for much longer but never trademarked yourself? Most people think that if they were using it before it was registered to someone else, then they can still use it. This is untrue. If someone has successfully registered a trademark, they retain the exclusive rights to use it.

The USPTO has systems in place to stop this from happening, but it is still a common occurrence, particularly involving local or small businesses that never registered their trademarks. Let’s say you run a local restaurant and your signature dish is the Onion Overload Burger. After years of serving it, you hear that McDonald’s has started selling an Onion Overload Burger. While you were using it first, they registered the trademark first – so they will probably keep it and you will end up selling the Lots of Onions Burger.

If someone else has trademarked a name that you were using prior to their registration, there are a few options available to you. You could try to sue them for ownership. You could also try to just buy the trademark off of them. Both options, however, are extremely expensive and offer no guaranteed success. Even if you were to win in court, your use of the trademark may be limited to certain geographic areas.

The best way to avoid this issue is by getting ahead of it entirely. To register your trademarks and protect your business, contact Hayoon Kane Law Firm today! We can help you add trademarks and multiply your sales… with confidence!

It is always uncomfortable when someone shows up to the party wearing the same outfit as you are. The same is true of trademarks, but even worse: someone could be at another party halfway across the country from you wearing the same outfit and it would still be embarrassing. You may think it is a simple case of “Who was wearing it first?” – but for Intellectual Property, things are not so simple.

A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of the lot that distinguishes your goods and services from any others on the market. That last point is important enough to reiterate: the whole purpose of a trademark is to point out what makes your company unique. Trademarks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Unlike copyrights and patents, trademarks have no expiration date. Instead, their validity is determined by how long they are actively in use on the market.

Of course, not everyone who uses a trademark registers them. This creates a common problem: what happens when someone else trademarks a name you have been using for much longer but never trademarked yourself? Most people think that if they were using it before it was registered to someone else, then they can still use it. This is untrue. If someone has successfully registered a trademark, they retain the exclusive rights to use it.

The USPTO has systems in place to stop this from happening, but it is still a common occurrence, particularly involving local or small businesses that never registered their trademarks. Let’s say you run a local restaurant and your signature dish is the Onion Overload Burger. After years of serving it, you hear that McDonald’s has started selling an Onion Overload Burger. While you were using it first, they registered the trademark first – so they will probably keep it and you will end up selling the Lots of Onions Burger.

If someone else has trademarked a name that you were using prior to their registration, there are a few options available to you. You could try to sue them for ownership. You could also try to just buy the trademark off of them. Both options, however, are extremely expensive and offer no guaranteed success. Even if you were to win in court, your use of the trademark may be limited to certain geographic areas.

The best way to avoid this issue is by getting ahead of it entirely. To register your trademarks and protect your business, contact Hayoon Kane Law Firm today! We can help you add trademarks and multiply your sales… with confidence!

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Hayoon Kane Law Firm

I am committed to helping business owners such as yourself understand the intricacies of the law, so you can concentrate on growing your company.

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“Trademark Filing” Package

"Trademark Filing" Package

1

Brand Discovery Session
-

See what IP your business has, what's protected (and what's not protected), what can be monetized, and what is the most cost-effective way to secure them. Then create an initial brand protection strategy with your attorney.

2

Brand Protection Strategy Session
-

Review the results of your trademark search so you understand the risks your trademark has. Your attorney will help you fine-tune your brand protection strategy.

3

Trademark Application Filing
-

We submit your USPTO trademark application to begin the registration process.

4

Monitoring your application process
-

We monitor your trademark application and resolve administrative issues with the USPTO examiner.

Brand Protection Package

Brand Protection Package

1

Protection Strategy Session
-

Review who is taking advantage of your brand and make strategies to take them down with your attorney. Your attorney will advise you on ways you can do to protect your hard work and creation, your brand.

2

Send out warning letters
-

We will send out letters to the infringers explaining your rights and demanding them to stop using your IP rights.

3

Negotiate with the infringers
-

We will negotiate terms with the infringers based on the plan we made in the Protection Strategy Session in Part 1.

4

Secure your brand value
-

We will make sure the infringers fulfill the terms of the agreement and have them sign a settlement agreement.