Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When can ® be used?

The federal registration symbol should only be used on goods or services that are the subject of the federal trademark registration. Filing an application is not sufficient. It is necessary to have federal registration issue. It is permissible to use “SM” for servicemarks and “TM” for trademarks for unregistered marks.

  1. Is it necessary to register a mark to have trademark rights?

Not in the United States. There are rights associated with use so that even an unregistered mark can be used to stop an infringer. However, registration provides significant advantages, as discussed above.

  1. Does a S. registration provide rights in foreign countries?

No. Trademark rights in foreign countries require use in that country and, for many countries, a trademark registration.

  1. How long does a trademark last?

As long as the mark is used, forever. If a trademark registration is properly renewed, the registration can last forever.

  1. How long does it take to get a federal trademark registration?

It is difficult to predict exactly how long it will take an application to mature into a registration, because there are so many factors that can affect the process. Generally, an applicant will receive a filing receipt approximately three weeks after filing, which will include the serial number of the application. All future correspondence with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office must include this serial number. You should receive a response from the Trademark Office within six to seven months from filing the application. However, the total time for an application to be processed may be anywhere from almost a year to several years, depending on the basis for filing, and the legal issues that may arise in the examination of the application.

  1. Is a trademark search necessary?

It is advisable to conduct a search of at least the records of the Trademark Office before filing an application, but it is not legally required.