Trademark laws protect symbols, names, words, or short phrases that are used in association with particular goods and/or services. Trademarks allow companies to identify the source of goods and/or services they offer and distinguish themselves from others providing similar goods and/or services. Thus, the main goal of trademark laws is to prevent confusion among the general public as to the source of certain goods or services.
A company that wants to acquire trademark protection isn't required to follow any formal procedures, such as registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but must simply use the mark legitimately in a business or commercial setting. There are benefits, however, to registering with the USPTO, including the legal presumption that the registrant is the owner of a particular mark and the ability of the registrant to file a lawsuit in federal court in the event of trademark infringement.
This article will provide you with a variety of trademark tools and resources that can help you understand more about trademarks and the trademark registration process.
Below you can find a variety of forms that relate to trademark law, from questions to consider before registering for a trademark to a checklist of documents you should collect when you want to trademark your business name.
Here are the laws that govern trademarks in the U.S. In this list you can also find a link to the Madrid Protocol, which applies to international trademark registration.
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Resources:
As previously mentioned, registration with the USPTO is not required for trademark protection; however, registration offers certain advantages and the USPTO offers helpful information about trademarks.
More Trademark Organizations:
The following resources will help you learn about trademarks abroad.
Getting Legal Help
Protecting the quality of your goods and/or services and making sure that you're brand can be distinguished from others is very important for a small business. If you have any questions about the trademark tools or resources provided above, or if you have more general questions about trademark laws, you may want to contact a local trademarks attorney for guidance.
If you would like more information and resources related to this topic, you can visit FindLaw's Trademarks section.