Frequently Asked Questions - Trademark

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A trademark is any word, name, symbol, sound, or odor that is used to identify and distinquish the goods or services of one seller from another seller.  A trademark is also used to indicate a source of goods or services, or as a source indicator.

We can file a trademark application with either the state or with the United States Patent and Trademark office, along with the fee and a specimen showing your use of the mark in commerce.

There are two different trademark systems.  Each state has a registry and the Federal government has a registry.  Which one you choose depends upon how you are using the mark.  In order for you to successfully register with the Federal system, you must be using the mark on goods or services and selling or advertising across state or federal lines.  For the state system, you should be using the mark in the state of application.  A state registration provides protection within the state, and a federal registration provides protection in all 50 states, Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands regardless if you have actually sold or advertised in these areas.
You can and should put the “TM” on your mark. This indicates common law rights in the mark.  Common law rights only provide the opportunity to file suit in the areas where you have used or advertise the mark on the goods or services that you are selling.
This means that you have obtained a federal registration for the mark, as it relates to the goods or services for which you file the application.
No, you can only file suit against those who are using the mark in a way that is likely to cause consumer confusion about the source of the goods or services.
Some of the benefits to a federal registration include:
  • Public notice of your claim to ownership of the mark;
  • A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark, and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on and in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration;
  • The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
  • The use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries;
  • The ability to record the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods;
  • The right to use the federal registration symbol ®; and
  • Listing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s online databases.


Law Office of Ronald R. Kilponen
Attn: Ronald R. Kilponen
P.O. Box 1132
Novi, MI 48376
United States of America
Telephone: 248-344-7132
Fax:      248-344-9857
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