After reading my last post, you may be thinking , “Well, so and so said he got his trademark really easily. He just mailed off some papers to the State, paid a few bucks and BAM…he had a trademark. I didn’t know it took all of that.”
My response is simple.
Your buddy probably has a state trademark. Not a federal trademark. Also, he or she might have gone the quick, cheap route (ahem, Legal Zoom) because he didn’t know any better. But, it is very important that you understand the difference between a state trademark and a federal trademark…
Instead of following your friend’s bad legal advice.
A state trademark gives you very limited ownership over your brand name, logo or slogan. You own the trademark in your state, only. Like a federal trademark, it is limited to the type of service that you provide or type of product that you sell. So, if you live in Illinois, and your trademark is for “ABC” and you sell clothing. Guess what? Someone in Indiana can set up shop and claim the trademark for “ABC”.
A federal trademark gives you exclusive ownership in the whole United States of America. Yep, all 50 states. It’s still limited to a specific classification (the type of service or product) but clearly a much broader ownership.
So, creative genius. Here is your take away about when you need a federal trademark…
Consider a federal trademark registration if:
- You plan to market your business online
- You plan to conduct business online
- You plan to have business partners, clients or customers in other states
A state trademark registration is generally fine as a pit stop while you plan and save for the big boys. But, if you are anything like 99.9% of the folks I know then registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office should be your final destination.
I know that your friends may be good people. But, they just didn’t get it right…