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Written by : Natalia Matushevsky
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hello i'm tami shambati houston-based attorney and host of ask timmy live and today's question of the day is can i trademark a name that someone else is already using now this is a question i get asked all the time and it's a great question so here's the answer it depends with a strong leaning towards the side of no but it depends and let me unpack that a little bit more why am i saying it depends well let's say you want to use a name that someone else is using but they are not in the same lane as you perfect example we have delta airlines and we have delta faucets delta airlines is operating all the way over here delta faucets all the way over here is it is it likely that someone is going to mix up the two companies do you think that someone who is going who is looking for airlines right booking a flight is going to accidentally try and book a flight with the faucet company no there's not a likelihood of confusion there right and so in such instances where the name that you're trying to use is a name that's being used but in a different industry with different goods and services then yeah maybe if however you're trying to copy the name or do something similar use the name of product or service that somebody is already using even if they haven't already registered it but you're in that same lane you know you're wrong we don't have to talk about like there's a legal side to this but you already know what you're trying to do right um and so we're going to say that that's a no and the law is going to agree and say that's a no because they do not want a likelihood of confusion if you're trying to operate in this area where somebody else has already established their roots why are you trying to do that it's not nice um and the law reflects that they want to look at first on use so when they're looking at who has stronger rights to a name surprisingly it is not the first person to register the name it's the first person to use the name and registration service has proof of your use it's not the only form of proof that can be proffered or provided but it is strong proof and it also provides notice to the rest of the world that hey this is my lane i own this area okay so don't come and play over here right so that is what essentially happens and that's where you get that strong no if it's a similar good similar service then you don't want to do that but if you're in two different areas so we already gave the example of the delta there's also this golfing company called my girl so they're talking about the golf clubs and so they're called my girl golf clubs i don't know why but they've registered a mark when it comes to golf clubs there's another mark when it comes to guess what dolls and clothing and apparel for the dolls that's called my girl they can operate and coexist because they're operating in two different markets they're operating in two different channels they're operating with two different products and services they're not trying to confuse each other they're not trying to steal each other's business they're doing their own thing right and so that's what i want to encourage you to do as well if you see that someone has something that is similar to the name that you want to use or exactly the same it's probably better that you go back to the drawing board and even as a business owner if there is something that is so similar to yours like a lot of times i have people who come to me and they say that oh it's different from mine because mine i have two e's and they have one e or you know let's say they're saying um miss miss stacy's and they're like oh miss stacy with a y and this one is miss stacy with an i well do you want your customers to have to think that hard has to which which company they're trying to deal with from a marketing perspective from a branding perspective that's not what you want because that could cause them to accidentally give the other miss stacey with the y the money that they intended to give you miss stacy with an eye the example i gave is very interesting but essentially that's what you should keep in mind um if you're operating in two different product areas then it might be okay but i also want to caution you when you're deciding what your brand is going to be and the marks you're going to use think about not only what you're currently selling the goods and services that you're using now but the areas where you might as eventually expand into because that can cause you trouble in the future if you expand into an area where there's a mark that already is in use perfect example is apple when apple started there was apple computers that they created but there was also apple music now they thought at the time that yo we're in two different lanes i'm not crossing into your lane we're good right music computers or music computers well what happened over time apple decided the great idea of itunes and and ipods and all of this music related material goods and services that they started to provide and guess what apple music that was saying hey we don't want you to play in our playground when they started was like now you really are making a mistake and guess what apple music got paid a lovely sum of money by apple computers because they were in the right and apple computers was in the wrong so you want to keep that in mind when you're thinking about your name it's like okay right now i'm just selling this but i think i'm gonna sell this this this and this as well let me make sure that those areas i have some type of i'm coming up with some type of strategy to make sure that nobody else is using it and that area remains um protected for me that was a lot i hope it was helpful if it was go ahead and like this video share this video subscribe to this channel and then follow me on social media you can find me at tos legal you can find me on instagram twitter facebook and you can visit my website wwe and let me know if you have any other questions drop a comment below love hearing from you and can't wait to talk to you soon have a great great great week bye bye
Thanks for your comment Tyson Legions, have a nice day.
- Natalia Matushevsky, Staff Member
hey y'all so having your llc does not mean that you own your brand name in order to own your brand name you must have a federal trademark registration what if i told you that you can file your trademark without hiring an attorney yes it's true and we are going to go step by step of how to file a trademark application without spending all the big bucks with hiring an attorney so welcome back to my channel i am boss attorney bri and this is the place for influencers and content creators to come to boss up their business the legal and legit way like i said we are going to be discussing how you file a trademark on your own without an attorney as we know trademarks fall under the law and it is always recommended that you hire an attorney to help you file your trademark but also as being an attorney and working with a lot of new business owners i understand that filing a trademark with an attorney can be really really expensive and using a document preparation service such as legal zoom or trademark engine can end up making you waste the money because they are not doing the research of an attorney so today i am going to be walking you through the steps to file your trademark application on your own without spending the big money with the attorneys and without wasting money by using a document preparation service so let's get started the first step to filing your trademark application comes way before you actually click that button to file the trademark application the first thing you must do before you file your trademark is to do a trademark search with the united states patent and trademark office that website is uspto.gov and you will go there and do a basic trademark search to make sure that your name is still available as a trademark also remember when you are searching your trademark name it is important to realize that just because a name is not on the register does not mean that there may be someone else out there using the name so on top of searching the uspto make sure you also search social media and google in general to make sure that your name is not being used another important step to searching your trademark name is to check for variations of the name because to have a trademark you do not necessarily need to have the same name conflicting with you you may also get denied if you have a similar name conflicting with you so make sure that you check your name and you check the variation of spelling of your name another thing to realize when searching your trademark is that your trademark must be strong enough to survive as a trademark so just because you don't see a name out there on the uspto that someone is using the name they may still be out there so that is why it's really important to search google because if your name is considered generic or descriptive someone may not try to register that name but they may already be out there so make sure that your name is unique when you are filing a trademark the next step to filing your trademark is still before you actually file your trademark you are going to want to determine what class of goods or service that your trademark application will fall under you can figure out what class your trademark falls under by searching the uspto's id manual by typing in the word of the goods or the products or services that your company sells you will be able to find what class of goods or service you fall into it is important to search all products or services that you have and the ones that you intend to expand into so that you can list each one of those things within the same application because if you register your trademark and you say that you're doing apparel but you only register for t-shirts but it turns out that you're also doing leggings and pants and sweatshirts then you may not be fully protected under your trademark it's really important to determine what class your products and services fall into because you do not want to end up applying for the same trademark in the same class because that is going to increase the amount of money that you pay in addition you want to know what class your products or services fall under because if they do not fall within the same category and you file that application together you are going to end up paying more than one fee because each class of goods or services require that you pay an additional application fee so it is super important that you know which classes your products and services fall under because that way you can determine how much money you are going to end up paying before you actually submit the application the third step is to actually file your trademark application you file your trademark application online on uspto.gov it will require you to create an account so that you can file the application and then you will begin to fill out the information the first page of the application includes general information such as the owner's name whether you're an llc your address and any other contact information that that page asks you for the next page asks you to enter your trademark on this page you will upload either your logo or you will type your name in plain text depending on what type of trademark you are filing for once you do that you will submit specimens specimens are proof that you are using your trademark so you have to show the government that you are actually using the trademark before you can actually get a trademark registration there is an intent to use application that at the time that you submit your application you do not have to show that you are actually using the trademark you can submit the application without the specimens or without the proof that you are actually using the trademark but before your trademark registers you will have to show proof that you are using that trademark in commerce so basically you are putting it out there for people to be able to buy your product or service and then of course you can review your application you sign it you pay and it will give you your receipt and your application number so that you can easily find your trademark application once your trademark application is submitted the uspto will assign an examiner to your application typically this will take about three months but at the time of this recording the uspto is really behind in assigning examiners to applications so you can expect to wait up to five months maybe even longer depending on what category you are filing in once that examiner gets your application they have the choice to accept your application or issue an office action to you that is a refusal for the uspto to register your trademark for whatever reason okay so filing for a trademark is not guaranteed so it's really important that you have all the correct information put into your application to give you a better chance of getting your trademark registered the trademark process altogether generally takes 8 to 12 months but again like i said at the time of this recording they are pretty backed up so it could end up taking longer depending on what class your trademark is in and how many confusingly similar marks there are if you have any questions ab
Thanks randaroo82G your participation is very much appreciated
- Natalia Matushevsky
About the author
I've studied information literacy at Holy Names University in Oakland and I am an expert in geomorphology. I usually feel excited. My previous job was quality control coordinator I held this position for 8 years, I love talking about archery and skydiving. Huge fan of Katherine Schwarzenegger I practice olympic sports and collect bazooka joe comics.
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