This article will provide information on how to register a trademark in Florida, including whether you probably only need federal registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Trademark registration is an important process that can be done at the federal level or state level. The State of Florida has its own set of rules for trademark registration, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office governs federal registration.
Before we get started, I'll briefly explain some trademark basics. A trademark is a brand identifier. A trademark can be a business name, logo, or slogan.
The word "trademark" can be used to describe a mark for a product or a service. Sometimes marks related to service providers are called "service marks." A service mark is often referred to as a trademark, and that's ok!
Trademark Application Process Overview
The trademark process is two steps.
The first step towards registering a trademark in Florida (and federally) is to conduct a comprehensive search to determine if your desired mark is already taken or otherwise unavailable.
You can use both state-specific databases as well as federal databases such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You want to make sure that someone else is not using the same or similar mark as you.
If it turns out that your desired mark is still available, then you can proceed with filing an application for registration with the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) or with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. You will have to provide evidence of use or state that you intended to use the mark, properly select the correct international class, and pay all required fees.
The USPTO may issue an Office Action in response to an application and you will have 3 months to respond.
There are very limited circumstance that will make state registration more appealing than a federal trademark registration.
A federal registration with the USPTO is almost always the way to go. The best way to determine the best legal protection for you is to consult with an attorney.
If you cannot register your trademark with the USPTO for some reason, and are able to do so with Florida, keep reading.
Florida Trademark Registration: How To For Business Names & Logos
Florida law governs a state-registered trademark. A Florida application is filed with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. It’s important to note that if you wish to have nationwide protection then you must also apply for federal registration through the USPTO directly.
It's highly recommended that you seek counsel from an experienced trademark attorney who specializes in intellectual property law in order to review your risks and filing materials prior to submission.
An attorney can save you time and money by conducting a trademark search and filing an application properly. You don't want to jeopardize your business names and logos.
How Much Does It Cost To Trademark A Name In Florida?
It costs $87.50 in filing fees to register a trademark in Florida per class. For a further breakdown of Florida fees, you can visit https://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/forms/fees/#trademark.
It costs $350 in filing fees to register a trademark with the USPTO per class.
Remember that you will have to pay additional fees if you need to submit a statement of use when filing an "intent to use" application.
There are also maintenance fees that must be paid periodically to maintain ownership of your trademark. Renewal periods are generally every 5 to 10 years.
How Often Does A Florida Trademark Need To Be Renewed?
The Sate of Florida takes its trademarks very seriously, and if you don't stay on top of renewing your mark, it could be gone before you know it! So how often does one need to register their trademark in the Sunshine State?
Under most circumstances your mark will have to be renewed every five years.
At the federal level your trademark has to be renewed between the 5th and 6th year, between the 9th and 10th year, and then every ten years after that.
Ensure that everything related to your trademark is up-to-date so that your rights are secure and protected! Otherwise, someone else might take advantage while your guard is down and try to claim ownership over something rightfully yours.
Florida Trademark Law Only Applies Within The State
A Florida trademark only gives you a limited level of protection within the geographic area of Florida.
A federal trademark gives you more legal rights with exclusive rights to use the mark nationally in all 50 states.
This means that if you want protection for your mark beyond Florida’s borders, then you must look into federal trademark registration instead.
"As the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine."
Common law trademarks exist when a company has been using its mark in commerce, but hasn't registered it yet; however these marks have limited protection compared to state trademark registrations which provide broader protection against infringement.
The most effective way to register a trademark within Florida is by filing an application with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.
Common Trademark Errors
Errors on a trademark application or during a search for similar trademarks may lead to expensive legal bills down the road, as well delayed trademark protection and registration.
One common mistake is not properly searching for similar marks. A Google search is not enough. An attorney needs to use current case law to determine whether another owner can bring a trademark infringement suit against you in federal court. A trademark examining attorney could also deny your application based on the likelihood of confusion between marks. The likelihood of confusion is based on whether consumers would confuse the source of the goods between two marks.
Applicants must also be careful when drafting the description of the goods and services.
You have the highest chance of protecting your brand name by working with an experienced attorney.
Does A Trademark Prevent Copying My Name Or Logo
Trademark rights help protect a business from unfair competition, such as someone copying their name or logo. It is important for businesses to understand the implications of registering a trademark and how it can prevent others from using something similar. Thus, does a trademark prevent copying my name or logo?
The answer depends on whether there is a likelihood of confusion with the original mark. For example, if two brands use the same typeface and colors in their logos, they could be considered too similar even if they have different words written. In this case, the Trademark Office may deny registration due to potential confusion by consumers between these two trademarks.
The Trademark Office also looks at other factors when assessing an application such as whether another company has already registered an identical or similar mark and if the goods/services are related in some way.
The federal government could also rule against you in an infringement suit.
How Does A Trademark Increase The Value Of My Company
Florida registration and federal registration could definitely increase the value of your company.
An investor would place added value on a company with registered trademarks because of the registration process. That would show that the company did due diligence to determine whether there were any similar marks. Distinct marks reduce the risk of trademark infringement and trademark applicants getting denied.
If you lose a trademark infringement lawsuit, you could have to start all over again with a new domain name, website design, marketing materials, product packagings, and more.
There are several advantages associated with owning trademarks. These include exclusive rights over usage of the mark, increased visibility through advertising campaigns featuring said mark, and potentially higher profits due to brand recognition among consumers.
You don't want to start your company and then have to start all over with a new name, logo, and slogan.
All these benefits add up to greater value for the trademark owner's business. Thus, registering trademarks is certainly a good idea for business owners and worth considering.
This article was all about how to register a trademark in Florida, and the benefits of federal registration.
Please call me at (754) 800-4481 or book a consultation on my website if you'd like to properly secure your trademark!