Trademark Search and Registration
Trademark Search and Registration
A trademark is an identifier that helps your customers recognize your goods or services. These marks are unique words, phrases, images, symbols or any combination of those elements that identify your brand. Except in unusual circumstances, businesses may not use marks resembling those of competitors. Failure to secure or protect your trademarks may lead to costly lawsuits, wasted inventory, and lost business.
The Chicago law firm of Roth Fioretti obtains and defends trademarks for our clients, both in the U.S. and internationally. We are one the of the leading Chicago trademark law firms, with decades of experience litigating trademark misuse and infringement. With some of the top intellectual property attorneys in the country, our team can assist your business through the trademark search and registration process.
Trademark search is a critical first step in obtaining a trademark. Before registering your trademark, you must search to ensure that another entity has not already registered your desired mark. Doing so prevents conflicting trademarks, which could lead to legal action or inability to use or defend your own trademark.
Illinois Trademark Search
Some Illinois businesses seek trademark protection at the state level by registering their trademarks with the Illinois Secretary of State, Department of Business Services. The Secretary of State offers an online portal where users may search for existing trademarks. You may also use this portal to request a mark detail report which provides additional information on marks including the type of mark, the registration number, and the description of goods or services.
US Trademark Search
Most companies register their trademarks with the United States Trademark and Patent (USTPO) for more comprehensive protection. To get started with your US Trademark Search, the USTPO provides free access to its searchable database through its web page, but be careful. A simple search of this directory is not complete.
You should also look for existing trademarks in:
- State trademark registration databases
- Business directories
- Industry-specific registries
- Online internet searches for similar products
During the search process, it’s important to cross reference results with other sources to ensure that your mark does not create a conflict with another company. There is no requirement to register a trademark with the USTPO, and often, marks are enforceable as soon as they are first used to identify a business. If you are not certain, our experienced trademark attorneys will perform a thorough search for you and offer a legal opinion about your proposed trademark.
Once the search process is complete, the next step is registering your trademark with the appropriate authority. While trademark registration on a state level is typically easier and less expensive, federal trademark registration offers broader protection of your marks. If you opt for Illinois trademark registration, protection is limited to the state. With US trademark protection, certification provided by the USTPO protects your mark nationwide. Additionally, the USTPO requires all international companies importing goods into the US to respect your trademark on all domestic transactions. Depending on your company’s scope of business, you may also need to explore international trademark registration.
Illinois Trademark Registration
To register a trademark with the state of Illinois, an applicant must file Form TM/SM-15, Trademark or Service Mark Application, along with a nominal registration fee. The Roth Fioretti legal team can help you complete and file this application to register your Illinois trademark.
US Trademark Registration
Though the process to register a federal trademark is more involved, USTPO trademark registration offers more extensive mark protection to businesses. Most federal trademark registrations are performed online through the Trademark Electronic Application System and can take months or years to process. It’s wise to have a qualified trademark attorney guide you through the application process to ensure timely and efficient registration.
International Trademark Registration
If you expect to export your products or services, you must register your mark in each foreign country where you conduct business. In Geneva, Switzerland, the World Intellectual Property Organization facilitates the Madrid system. The Madrid system manages trademarks for multiple countries simultaneously. You may elect to apply for trademark protection in the Madrid System with your existing mark through the USPTO. In additional to state and federal trademark registration, our lawyers can also assist with international trademark registrations.
Chicago Intellectual Property Attorneys
Trademark laws are complex, and mistakes are costly. Although helpful, the agents at the USTPO and IL Secretary of State may not offer legal advice. Reduce your risk and protect your marks by seeking assistance from a qualified trademark attorney. The law firm of Roth Fioretti specializes in trademark searches, registration, enforcement, and agreements, helping protect your company’s assets domestically and abroad.