Corporate Attorney: Miami Lawyer, Franchise/Trademark/Intellectual Property

Ronald Roman
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Corporate Attorney: Miami Lawyer, Franchise/Trademark/Intellectual Property
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Frequently Asked Questions

Trademark Lawyer for Intellectual Property Q. What is a trademark?

A. A trademark. is a form of intellectual property ... an identifying word, phrase, symbol or design unique to a source of goods or services.

Q. What is a service mark?

A. A service mark is a limited type of trademark that identifies the source of services.

Q. What is a certification mark?

A. A certification mark is a statement of assurance that goods or services of others have certain characteristics.

Q. What is a collective mark?

A. A collective mark indicates membership in an organization, or that an organization produces or authorizes goods or services.

Q. What are the various categories of marks?

A. Five basic categories of marks exist:

  • Fanciful marks. These are made-up words. Examples include ROLEX® and KLEENEX®.
  • Arbitrary marks. These are common English-language words that are used in ways unrelated to their normal English usage, or to the goods or services they identify. Examples include APPLE® for computers and IVORY® for soap.
  • Suggestive marks. These are marks that describe indirectly the products or services they identify. Examples include 7 ELEVEN® and COPPERTONE®.
  • Descriptive marks. These marks may describe directly the products or services they identify, or the geographical location from which the goods or services allegedly emanate. Marks that contain or are based on a person's surname also fall into this category. Examples include CHAP STICK®, BUFFERIN®, BOSTON MARKET®, and BABY RUTH®.
  • Generic terms. These are common descriptive names of goods or services. Examples include computer, lip balm, and candy bar.

Q. What categories of marks may be acceptable as valid trademarks?

A. Fanciful, arbitrary, and suggestive marks may be valid trademarks. Descriptive words may become valid trademarks only after years of use and extensive advertising that results in "secondary meaning" as a trademark. A generic term never can become a trademark.

Q. How do I protect my trademarks?

A. Trademark rights begin as soon as a mark is used and are limited to the geographic area in which the use occurs. To obtain protection throughout the United States, the owner of a trademark must register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Federal registration requires use of the mark in interstate or international commerce, which is regulated by Congress. An applicant with a bona fide intent to use the mark in trade and commerce in the future may file an intent-to-use application prior to such use.

Q. What is a trademark search?

A. A trademark search is a review of national and international databases to ascertain whether a proposed trademark already is in use. Before using a new mark, its owner should secure a trademark search in an effort to avoid unknowing infringement of another's trademark. Because trademark infringement can be unintentional, infringers may be subject to legal action even if they didn't know that their new mark was similar to another. A preliminary search helps to ensure a new mark's validity and determine that it will not cause confusion with a pre-existing mark.

Q. How long does trademark registration last?

A. Trademark registration can last indefinitely if the trademark remains in continuous use and the registration is renewed every 10 years. Also, between the fifth and sixth anniversary of the initial registration date, an affidavit of continued use must be filed.

Q. What is trademark notice?

A. The term "trademark notice" refers to the symbols and abbreviations in common use to identify trademarks: 'TM' identifies the accompanying word, phrase, symbol, and/or design as a trademark. This designation does not indicate federal registration of the mark, but does constitute public notice of a claim to trademark rights. 'SM' is used in a similar fashion for a service mark. '®' is a notice governed by federal law, indicating registration of the mark with the USPTO.

Q. What is trade dress?

A. Trade dress is the distinctive packaging or design of a product that promotes the product and distinguishes it from other products in the marketplace. Examples include the shape of Frangelica liqueur bottles, the red-and-white color scheme on a Coca-Cola® can, and the unique appearance of Fuddruckers' restaurants. Trademark law protects trade dress if the trademark owner can show that a design has acquired secondary meaning, so that the average consumer would likely be confused about the product's origin if another product were allowed to appear in similar dress.

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NOTICE: THE HIRING OF A LAWYER IS AN IMPORTANT DECISION THAT SOULD NOT BE BASED SOLELY UPON ADVERTISEMENTS. BEFORE THE READER DECIDES TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY, THE READER SHOULD ASK FOR FREE WRITTEN INFORMATION ABOUT THE ATTORNEY'S QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE. CORPORATE ATTORNEY RONALD PETER ROMAN IS A LAWYER IN MIAMI, FLORIDA. HIS LAW FIRM PROVIDES LEGAL SERVICES IN AREAS SUCH AS FRANCHISE (FRANCHISOR/FRANCHISEE) LAW, TRADEMARKS, PATENTS, COPYRIGHTS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, INCLUDING BUSINESS FORMATION AND CONTRACTS. HIS SERVICE AREA INCLUDES: BROWARD Coconut Creek Cooper City Coral Springs Dania Beach Davie Deerfield Beach Fort Lauderdale Hallandale Beach Hillsboro Beach Hollywood Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Lauderdale Lakes Lauderhill Lazy Lake Lighthouse Point Margate Miramar North Lauderdale Oakland Park Parkland Pembroke Pines Plantation Pompano Beach Sea Ranch Lake Southwest Ranches Sunrise Tamarac Weston Wilton Manors DADE Aventura Bal Harbour Bay Harbor Islands Biscayne Park Coral Gables El Portal Florida City Golden Beach Hialeah Hialeah Gardens Homestead Indian Creek Village Islandia Key Biscayne Medley Miami Miami Beach Miami Shores Village Miami Springs North Bay Village North Miami North Miami Beach Opa-Locka Pinecrest South Miami Surfside Sweetwater Virginia Gardens West Miami MONROE Islamorada Key Colony Beach Key West Layton Marathon North Key Largo Beach PALM BEACH Atlantis Belle Glade Boca Raton Boynton Beach Briny Breezes Cloud Lake Delray Beach Glen Ridge Golf Golfview Greenacres Gulf Stream Haverhill Highland Beach Hypoluxo Juno Beach Jupiter Jupiter Inlet Colony Lake Clarke Shores Lake Park Lake Worth Lantana Manalapan Mangonia Park North Palm Beach Ocean Ridge Pahokee Palm Beach Palm Beach Gardens Palm Beach Shores Palm Springs Riviera Beach Royal Palm Beach South Bay South Palm Beach Tequesta Wellington West Palm Beach.