The USPTO is requiring additional requirements for an applicant filing a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The most recent change to the PTO Rules requires a description of the mark in all filings that are not for a standard character mark. This means, for example, that if you are filing for a design mark, you will need to describe what the mark consists of, consistent with the design search codes. Unsuspecting applicant’s may not recognize this rule change, file a trademark as they normally would have, and unnecessarily delay their trademark registration by having to respond to USPTO office actions and amend their trademark application.
Besides the required attention to the ever-changing rules, applicants who choose not to consult with an attorney or have an attorney file their trademark may be subject to fraud charges. Fraud charges may lead to, among other things, a successful trademark registration being cancelled if challenged by an opposer. While an applicant can undoubtedly complete the online form for a trademark application, the average applicant may not understand the intricacies of trademark law, let alone understand that she is submitting sworn documents that, once submitted, can not be remedied. Innocence is no defense, and “I’m sorry” will not cut it. Trademark attorneys can help an applicant avoid the common pitfalls that may subject the trademark to refusal, opposition, or even cancellation. While the actual filing a trademark through the TEAS may appear rather simple, the research required to determine the availability of a trademark, the international class within which to file the trademark, and the accompanying rules that determine likelihood of registration of that trademark require the knowledge, education, and expertise of a trademark attorney. There is no reason to go after what may become your, or your business’s, greatest attest – its intellectual property. Contact a trademark attorney today.