A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A patent protects an invention. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work.
selecting a mark is the very first step in the overall application/registration process. This must be done with thought and care, because not every mark is registrable with the USPTO. Nor is every mark legally protectable.
Before filing a trademark/service mark application, you should consider:
Whether the mark you want to register is registrable, and How difficult it will be to protect your mark based on the strength of the mark selected.
If the examining attorney decides that a mark should not be registered, the examining attorney will issue a letter (Office action) explaining any substantive reasons for refusal, and any technical or procedural deficiencies in the application.
If the examining attorney sends an Office action, the applicant must respond to the Office action within six (6) months of the mailing date of the Office action, or the application will be declared abandoned.
Even if your mark registers, you should monitor the status of your registration on an annual basis through the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system. It is particularly important to check the status of your registration after you make any of the filings required to keep your registration alive including between the fifth and sixth year after the registration date and between the ninth and tenth year after the registration date.
To determine if you can patent your invention, you will need to know the answers to a few simple questions: Who can apply for a patent? What can and cannot be patented? How do I know if my invention is patentable? How long does patent protection last? How much does it cost to get a patent?
You cannot get a patent if your invention has already been publicly disclosed. Therefore, a search of all previous public disclosures should be conducted.
Your examiner will review the contents of the application to determine if the application meets the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 111(a).
If the examiner does not think your application meets the requirements, the examiner will explain the reason(s). You will have opportunities to make amendments or argue against the examiner's objections. If you fail to respond to the examiner's requisition, within the required time, your application will be abandoned.
Maintenance fees are required to maintain a patent in force beyond 4, 8, and 12 years after the issue date for utility and reissue utility patents. If the maintenance fee and any applicable surcharge are not paid in a timely manner, the patent will expire.
You must include both the patent number and corresponding application number with your maintenance fee payment. If you have a change in entity status, make sure this is processed before attempting to pay online.