At The Alderman Law Office in Washington, D.C., we focus exclusively on intellectual property and related areas, providing trademark services to clients in the United States and abroad. With more than 30 years of experience, firm principal Elliott Alderman has represented individuals and businesses dealing with a wide range of trademark and related legal issues, has extensive trademark prosecution, licensing and enforcement experience, and can call upon a network of experienced attorneys, if necessary, for assistance with large, complex matters. The firm is frequently consulted by other law firms regarding trademark matters and routinely accepts referrals or co-counsels on particularly complex issues.
Our firm clients include:
- Visual Artists and Performers
- Software and Technology Companies
- Multimedia Companies
- Electronic Commerce Companies
- Internet and Content Companies
The government filing fee per class of goods or service for a federal trademark application is either $225, $275 or $325, depending upon applicant choice restrictions in goods/services identifications. With proper maintenance, a trademark registration can last forever, and there are significant benefits to encourage trademark registration. federal registraionf. A copyright application is even cheaper. For as little as $55.00 per work, an author can file an online application, protecting his work for the duration of his life plus an additional 70 years. And for both copyrights and trademarks, there are significant benefits to encourage registration.
The failure to register a trademark, at either the federal or state level, is perhaps less detrimental than the lack of a copyright registration because trademarks can be protected based upon use. For use-based, so-called “common law” protection, the scope of the owner’s rights depends upon the geographical extent of the use. However, as the Redskins will soon find out, it is easier to protect a registered, particularly a federally registered, trademark.
A mark may be federally registered on either the Principal or Supplemental Registers. Registration on either provides national protection, subject to preexisting uses. To be on the primary register — the Principal Register — a mark must, as of the date of registration, function as a trademark, service mark or collective mark, and otherwise qualify for registration. A trademark that is not inherently distinctive and has not yet acquired secondary meaning, but is still capable of distinguishing goods or services, may be placed on the Supplemental Register.
In addition to granting national protection, registration on either Register permits the trademark owner to use the ® or other symbols indicating federal registration; provides a federal district court forum for infringement suits and application of a more consistent body of national law rather than piecemeal application of various state laws; extends the scope of federal jurisdiction, permitting the joinder to trademark actions of some state law claims that would otherwise be restricted to state courts; and grants a potent arsenal of remedies, including access to the infringer’s profits, damages, and costs, and in certain circumstances, tripled damages and attorney’s fees.
Registration on the Principal Register also gives important evidentiary benefits in litigation that are otherwise difficult and expensive to establish. A registration grants prima facie proof of the validity of a mark, and of the registrant’s ownership of, and exclusive right to, its use. The registration also establishes that a mark has acquired secondary meaning, and provides constructive notice of ownership, eliminating any defense that a user adopted a mark and used it in good faith. For applications filed after November 16, 1989 and resulting in registrations, the owner is also entitled to the constructive use date of the application’s filing date. Finally, upon the filing of an appropriate affidavit or declaration of continuous use, a trademark may become incontestable after five years. Incontestability status provides conclusive evidence of a registrant’s exclusive right to use a mark, subject to certain statutory defenses.