5 Things to Know About Trademarks in Florida
If you have a business and are wondering whether you have a valid trademark (or service mark) and whether you should register a trademark to protect your business, you should speak with a Boca Raton trademark lawyer about your options. In the meantime, we want to provide you with some general information about trademarks in Florida. The following are five things you should know.
- You Do Not Need to Register a Trademark in Order to Have Legal Rights
Even if you do not register your trademark, you can still have a valid trademark and may be able to file a trademark infringement claim if another business uses your mark in order to sell goods or services. Even if another party does not intentionally infringe on your trademark but begins using a mark that is so similar to yours that it would be confusing to customers, you also may be able to stop that party from continuing to use the mark. That being said, registering your trademark has benefits and can make filing an infringement claim easier.
- You Must Decide Whether to Register a Trademark Under Florida State Law or Federal Law
If you do want to register your trademark or service mark, you must decide whether to do so under Florida state law or federal law with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It is important to know that federal law preempts state law. This means that federal law will be applicable to issues concerning your trademark and your intellectual property rather than state law if you register with the USPTO. In other words, if you find yourself in a situation concerning your intellectual property where Florida law conflicts with federal law, federal law will apply.
There are reasons to registering your trademark under Florida state law instead of under federal law and with the USPTO. If you have questions, you should discuss them with a Boca Raton trademark registration attorney.
- Registering Your Trademark in Florida is Less Expensive and Complicated Than Registering It With the USPTO
If you are trying to decide whether to register your trademark in Florida with the Florida Department of State or federally with the USPTO, you should know that registering at the state level typically is less expensive and less complicated. However, if you do register at the state level, you will not have the same breadth of protection.
- Trademarks Do Not Have a Set Expiration Date
Whether you register your trademark or not, it is important to know that trademarks do not come with a set expiration date. Basically, as long as you are using the mark “to indicate the source of goods and services,” according to the USPTO, then the trademark could last forever.
- You Should Complete a Trademark Search Before You File an Application for Registering Your Mark
Whether you want to register a trademark or a service mark, you will need to conduct a full search prior to filing your application. Searching for marks that are similar to yours can prevent you from going through the complicated and expensive process of trademark registration only to be refused registration by the USPTO. By using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and working with an experienced Florida trademark attorney, you can make sure that you are not attempting to register a mark that is already in use.
Learn More from a Boca Raton Trademark Attorney
Do you have questions about trademarks or trademark registration? An experienced Boca Raton trademark registration lawyer can speak with you about your business’s needs. Contact Perkins Law today.