*Please note that this blog post is only for educational purposes only. This post is not intended for legal advice. If you need a lawyer contact the American Bar Association*
I have a serious question for YOU!
Do you know what the difference is between a state trademark and a federal trademark?
You may have said “UH, no! I don’t even know what a trademark is!” No worries, sis I got you covered!
A trademark can be defined as a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies identify goods or services that are in the stream of commerce. You would want to trademark if you are trying to protect your products or services identity. What identifies your brand? Is it a logo? Is it a name of a business, product, program or service?
Make sense now, sis?
Now to the juicy stuff!
What is a state trademark and why should you care?
A state trademark is a trademark that is only recognized in your state to grant you intellectual property right protection, i.e. whatever you trademark is only protected within that state. The scope of protection is very limited. So if you filed a state trademark in Texas, your mark is only protected in Texas, not Tennessee, not Georgia, but in Texas.
A state trademark also has less requirements when it comes to getting one filed and approved. The costs are typically significantly less than a federal trademark.
Furthermore, the identifying symbol for a state trademark cannot use use a registered R symbol once it is registered with the state. To put people on notice in your state you can only use the TM or SM symbols if you have a state trademark. If you use a registered R symbol on a state trademark you can face federal penalties and fines! Don’t do it, sis!
Now for we move on to federal trademarks….
A federal trademark affords you more protection. A federal trademark protects you in all 50 states and you have the option to protect your mark internationally through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
A federal trademark is more costly than a state trademark, but if you want to maximize protecting your business ASSets then a federal trademark is definitely the route to go. The currently filing fee for a TEAS application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is $225 per class.
Furthermore, when you file your federal trademark application you have immediate protection for potential infringers while your application is currently pending before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. During this time you can put people on notice by using the TM symbol on your mark while it is pending before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Once your mark is approved you can use the registered R symbol. But do not use this symbol while your mark is pending! Use the symbol after your trademark has been officially published with the United States Patent and Trademark Office!
Why should you trademark?
Why not, sis? You spend probably hundreds maybe thousands of dollars building a pretty and profitable brand, why not protect that investment? When you do not protect your intellectual property rights, you are saying to the world “hey sis, I created this awesome brand for you, come and get it lady!” I am sure that’s not what you want and that’s why you have to protect your business.
You invested blood, sweat, and tears in your business. You probably lost some friends and family along the way as you built your business…so why waste the time if you are not even willing to protect it? You are saying to the world, “come steal my brand, you can have it , it’s yours!”
Let’s change this narrative ladies and start protecting what we prayed and worked so hard to achieve!
So sis tell me what are you going to do?
***Use of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between ReeJade and reader. Please note that laws change often and it is up to the reader to do her due diligence. This article is only written for educational purposes only.***