The Trademark Application Process and Costs (Detailed)

A United States trademark grants its owner the right to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark in connection with similar goods or services. The cost of a trademark application can vary considerably depending on the existence of any similar marks.

The trademark application process moves through three stages:

Stage 1 – The Application

As a preliminary matter, trademark applicants have four options for trademark application depending on their particular circumstances:

1) Section 1(a) of the Lanham Act (the United States Trademark Act) allows application for applicants who have already made use of their mark in United States commerce (e.g., already doing business in the US).

2) Section 1(b) of the Lanham Act allows application for applicants who verify that they intent to use the mark in United States commerce within 1 year of publication on the National Register. Such application must be perfected within 1 year by submitting specimens to prove use of the mark in commerce. The purpose of a 1(b) application is for applicants who have not yet used the mark in the US to “lock” in their date of priority to the date of their 1(b) application — in other words, if another entity uses a similar mark after the applicant’s 1(b) application but before the date of perfection, the original applicant will be accorded priority as of the date of its 1(b) application.

3) Section 44(e) of the Lanham Act allows foreign applicants who already own a trademark registration in their foreign country of origin to register their mark in the US based on such foreign registration.

4) Section 44(d) of the Lanham Act allows foreign applicants to “lock” the day of priority for their mark to the day of their foreign trademark application. The practical results of this are the same as in the 1(b) application described above.

Applicants may apply under a combination of the above options. For example, they may apply under Section 1(a) if they have already used the mark in the US and they may also use Section 44(d) to lock their date of priority to the date of their potentially earlier foreign application.

Costs for Stage 1:

USPTO Fees: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) charges a $325 filing fee for each class under which the applicant wishes to register their trademark. A “class” is a description of the type of goods or services with which the mark is associated. For example, Craigslist.com is registered for Class 35 (advertising information) and Class 38 (interactive bulletin boards).

Attorney Fees: Most attorneys charge hourly for trademark work or otherwise charge a flat fee based on the estimate time it would take to complete the initial filing. The initial paperwork for a Stage 1 filing should take no longer than one hour. As explained below, it is not possible to estimate the time it would take to move an application through Stages 2-3.

Search Fees: The USPTO does not refund filing fees, thus prior to filing the application it is highly advisable to have your attorney conduct a search of the USPTO database to confirm that a registration or application for a similar mark does not already exist. The most advisable search method is to have the attorney engage a specialist service, like Thompson CompuMark, to perform a thorough search. Such services generally charge $600-800 for the search.

While most attorneys can perform the search for a lower fee, we feel it borders on malpractice not to urge the client to pursue the more thorough option.

Stage 2 – Office Actions

Once the application is filed, the USPTO will assign an Examiner to evaluate the proposed trademark and decide whether it meets the requirements for publication to the Official Gazette.

The USPTO will issue Office Actions, in the form of correspondence from the Examiner to the applicant, if the Examiner finds defects in the application. The most common and innocuous defects include improper or vague description of the goods and services associated with the mark or a vague description of the mark itself. Such defects can be remedied with a short and simple response to the Office Action.

A more serious Office Action arises if the Examiner finds the application to be confusingly similar to an already-existing trademark. While the chances of seeing this situation are practically non-existent if the applicant performed a thorough search of the USPTO database prior to applying, there is, unfortunately, no 100% guarantee.

At this stage, depending on how similar the existing mark is, and based on his attorney’s advice, the applicant may wish to dispute the examiner’s decision or to abandon the application.

Costs for Stage 2:

USPTO Fees: There are no USPTO fees for responding to Office Actions. There is a $100 per class filing fee to appeal the Examiner’s final decision if the applicant’s responses fail.

Attorney Fees: Attorneys charge an hourly rate for responding to Office Actions and, where applicable, for appealing adverse decisions.

Stage 3 – Publication to the Federal Register and Potential Opposition

Once the applicant successfully moves through Stage 2 by satisfying any problems the Examiner may have with the application (or by successfully appealing an Examiner’s adverse decision), the proposed trademark will be published in the Official Gazette to allow other trademark owners the opportunity to Oppose the mark in the event that they feel it is substantially similar to their registered mark or their unregistered mark for which they may have priority of use (e.g.., they used the mark in US commerce before the applicant used it or before the applicant established priority with his application).

If a trademark owner makes an opposition, the application will proceed to litigation between the Applicant and the Opposer before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

Costs for Stage 3:

USPTO Fees: There are no USPTO fees for Stage 3 other than any TTAB filing fees which may arise out of an Opposition litigation.

Attorney Fees: If the application is Opposed by another entity with a substantially similar mark, the application will proceed as a litigation. It is difficult to estimate the number of attorney’s hours such litigation will require. Moreover, additional costs of such litigation will include the costs of discovery to ascertain whether the marks are similar, whether the Opposer has priority, as well as any other remedies that applicant may have depending on the facts learned in discovery.

The total costs of such litigation can range in the tens of thousands of dollars and, as such, we advise our clients that litigation is always the option of last resort. If such a situation occurs, we help our clients minimize costs by vigorously pursuing a settlement with the Opposer whereby the Opposer would agree to a “concurrent” use of the mark in return for some set value of remuneration.

Summary

The foregoing provides a list of all of the possibilities in the best and worst case scenarios. In most cases, a trademark application will proceed to the Official Gazette without any Office Action (Stage 2) or any Opposition (Stage 3). As explained above, we always advise our clients to elect a thorough USPTO database search prior to filing the application because such a search is the best way to predict how the application will proceed.

Bike Lanes Prevent Injury and Reduce the Need for an Auto Accident Injury Lawyer

In cities across the United States, drivers may be noticing a narrow separate lane has been added on the side of the street. These designated bike lanes, sometimes marked by a symbol of a bicycle to denote their purpose, are preventing automobile-bicycle accidents across the nation and saving people money they would have spent on hospital bills and an auto accident injury lawyer.

Many people’s excuses for not making the healthier, more eco-friendly decision to ride a bike instead of a vehicle include issues with safety and not having a smooth, continuous path on which to ride. Many Americans who own bikes simply consider them recreational toys that are meant to be brought to the park to ride around for exercise.

However, the bicycle is slowly reclaiming its place as a viable transportation device. Thanks to the addition of bike lanes in many major cities, more people have been getting to and from work, school and the grocery on two wheels.

Studies have shown that the number of bike accidents decreases as the number of bicyclists on the road increases. The lanes encourage main road bicycling, which has proven to decrease automobile traffic. The greater presence of bicyclists forces those who do choose to drive automobiles to take the lanes seriously and to yield to the more fragile vehicle.

In the Netherlands, for example, the rate of automobile-on-bicycle accidents is about 26 times lower than that of the United States. This is true despite the fact that about 25 percent of their population commutes by bike, while only 1 percent of our population does so. Why? The Netherlands, though a much smaller area, contains over 18,000 miles of segregated bicycle lanes.

The lanes encourage more cycling and less driving, a change that is overall beneficial. More cycling and less driving means less traffic, less pollution, more exercise, more safety and less money one would potentially spend on gas, maintenance and an auto accident injury lawyer.

But some people have taken issue with the lanes. In New York, ironically one of the first U.S. cities to establish enforceable bike lanes, protesters argue that the lanes take away from their rights as motor vehicle operators by forcing them to share the road. Other arguments against the lanes include the fact that they take away precious curbside parking spots, run through loading zones originally designated for delivery trucks and sometimes actually cause more traffic because of the narrowed lanes.

However frustrating the adjustment period might be, studies have shown that equipping cities with bike-friendly roadways severely reduces instances of automobile-on-bicycle accidents and injuries. The protection of people’s lives and physical safety outweighs the minor Inconveniences posed by the lanes.

In the end, most drivers probably would prefer to suck it up and yield to bikers than to have to deal with an auto accident injury lawyer after accidentally knocking a cyclist off of a bicycle-unfriendly roadway.

About Whiplash Injury And Compensation Claims

Whiplash is one of the most common types of injury sustained when road traffic accidents occur. Whiplash is not a life threatening injury, but it can cause pain, discomfort, partial disability and may take a long time to make full recovery depending on the severity of the injury.

Whiplash injury can be described as a range of injuries to the neck. It occurs when the soft tissues in the neck and spine become stretched after the body is subjected to a sudden, forceful jerk, which mostly happens in car accidents, especially rear-end collisions. But, whiplash injuries can also occur as a result of sporting accidents and accidents at the workplace.

Symptoms Of Whiplash

Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash are headaches, stiffness in the neck, reduced neck movement, swelling around the neck area and pain in the shoulders and neck. The symptoms of whiplash usually take few days to fully develop and it may be essential to seek medical attention if you experience these symptoms following a road accident.

Other symptoms of whiplash may include tiredness, blurred vision, dizziness, inability to concentrate, memory loss and ringing in the ears.

In the most severe cases of whiplash injury, the victim may experience anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress and post-traumatic stress disorders.

Whiplash Injury Claim

If you have suffered whiplash injuries in an accident that was not your fault, you may be able to seek whiplash injury compensation. Following a successful whiplash injury claim, you may be eligible to recover compensation for the following:

– Injury, pain and trauma

– Lost income

– Medical expenses

– Prescription costs

– Cost of travelling

– Other financial losses

The best way to deal with a whiplash injury claim is with the help of experienced personal injury lawyers. The injury lawyer you choose to handle your claim can become your legal advisor and help you obtain what you rightfully deserve. Once you appoint an injury lawyer to act on your behalf, he will take care of the entire claims process.

It is quite logical that you shouldn’t pay for something that was not your fault. Why should you pay for medical expenses, treatment costs, vehicle repair costs and deal with pain and injuries when it was not your fault? This is the reason it is important to seek legal advice and consider pursuing an injury claim so that you are compensated for all your losses. With the help of expert No Win No Fee injury claim lawyers, you don’t even have to worry about funding your claim in any respect.

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