When should I file for a trademark? 4 Answers as of June 15, 2011I want to start my own t shirt line. Ex.- "hurley" "dc" "Quicksilver" etc. I was just wondering if I should trademark my idea before start printing shirts. I don't want to spend a lot money on trademarking if my idea isn't successful (which I hope it will be) but if it is I don't want someone taking my idea if I do start making shirts before I trademark.
Intellectual Property Center, LLC | Ak Shaf
Under trademark common law, no registration is required to obtain rights under the Mark. Rights under trademark law extend from the date of first use. If you are the first user of a mark, you have rights over a later user. However, the registrant of a trademark has a presumptive right of ownership after the mark has been registered for five years. Therefore, there are reasons to register a mark. I would suggest using the mark for a short time and applying to register within 6 months, if you are making the money you wanted. Please call if you have any additional questions. Thanks and good luck.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
A trademark is a name or symbol that is used and becomes associated with a good, such as a t-shirt, as an identifier of the source of the good. The owner of a trademark identifies the name or mark as a "trademark" by using either superscript "TM", or circle "R". Since the use of superscript "TM" is the common law means for protecting the trademark, you can immediately start using your name or symbol, followed by "TM". In order to use the circle "R", you must indeed file a federal trademark registration application and have it "registered". You should plan to conduct a trademark search against any trade name you select, to determine if any other person has the same or similar tradename or mark on like products. You don't want to spend a lot of money making and selling t-shirts, if someone else already owns or can enforce such trademark right against you.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
A trademark is a name, mark or logo that identifies the source of certain specific goods and/or services. Trademark rights arise from use in commerce. Before launching your brand, it is critical that you conduct adequate "branding" investigations, including a comprehensive trademark search. This is far more important, frankly, than filing for federal trademark registration (and it must be done in any event before filing for registration. You need to make sure that you are free to use the brand and/or logo that you want to employ to identify your line of T-Shirts before you invest money into making and selling them.
Answer Applies to: New York