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Trademark Registration and Enforcement

In today’s competitive market, protecting your brand is crucial. Trademarks serve as an essential tool to protect names, logos, slogans, symbols, designs, color schemes, sounds, product shapes and packaging, and other marketing materials that distinguish your business from your competitors. At Brackett & Ellis, we specialize in guiding and advising our clients through every step of the trademark registration and enforcement process, ensuring that your trademarks receive the highest level of legal protection they deserve.

What is Trademark Registration?

Definition and Basics

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design (or combination thereof), that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party to those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except it identifies the source of services rather than goods. Registering a trademark grants the owner exclusive rights to the mark, preventing others from using a substantially similar mark that can cause confusion in the marketplace.

Process of Registration

The process of registering a trademark involves several steps:

  1. Trademark Search: Conducting a comprehensive search to ensure the trademark is not already in use.
  2. Application: Filing an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
  3. Examination: A USPTO examiner reviews the application to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.
  4. Publication: The trademark is published in the Official Gazette, allowing any parties to oppose the registration.
  5. Registration: If no opposition is filed, or if opposition is overcome, the trademark is officially registered.


For a mark to be registrable, it must be distinctive and not merely descriptive of the goods or services. The mark also cannot cause a likelihood of confusion among consumers between the mark of the applicant and an already registered mark.

Why Trademark Enforcement Matters

Protecting Your Brand

Trademark enforcement is crucial for protecting your brand. Effective enforcement actions prevent unauthorized use of your trademark, which can dilute your brand and mislead consumers.

Types of Enforcement

Enforcement strategies may include:

  • Cease and Desist Letters: A formal request to a trademark infringer demanding it stop unauthorized use of a trademark.
  • Litigation: Pursuing legal action against infringers seeking damages and a court injunction to stop the infringement.
  • Negotiation and Settlement: Resolving disputes outside of court.

Legal Services Offered by Brackett & Ellis

Our Expertise

Our attorneys at Brackett & Ellis have extensive experience in trademark registration and enforcement, having served a wide range of clients from small businesses to large corporations. We understand the nuances of trademark law and tailor our strategies to meet each client’s specific needs.

Enforcement Actions

We aggressively enforce trademarks on behalf of our clients, utilizing all legal avenues to ensure maximum protection of their intellectual property.

Case Studies

  1. Brackett & Ellis trademark lawyers worked with a prominent YouTube celebrity to successfully take down counterfeit and infringing products being sold by unauthorized parties on various third-party marketplaces, including Amazon, Ali Baba, Etsy, Wish, RedBubble, Shopify,, as well as using the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) process to remove cybersquatters and shut down spoofed websites.
  2. Brackett & Ellis trademark lawyers represent multiple school districts, and private, parochial, and charter schools to register and maintain the portfolio of school names, slogans, and mascots.
  3. Brackett & Ellis trademark lawyers successfully represented clients whose trademarks were challenged at the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, including for goods and services offered by distillers, jewelry manufacturers, soap manufacturers, schools, and others.

Common Challenges in Trademark Registration and Enforcement

Potential Pitfalls

Common challenges include:
  • Disputes over similarity: Determining whether two marks are too similar can be complex.
  • Geographic limitations: Trademarks are protected only in jurisdictions where they are used.
  • Genericide: When a trademark becomes so common it loses its distinctive character and becomes generic, like the marks KLEENEX, XEROX, or ESCALATOR

How We Can Help

At Brackett & Ellis, we navigate these challenges efficiently, ensuring that your trademarks stand the best chance of being registered and vigorously defended.
A trademark is used to identify goods, while a service mark relates to the identification of services.
Typically, the entire registration process takes approximately 12-18 months to obtain a registration.
A trademark registration can last forever, provided the proper maintenance documents are periodically filed with the USPTO showing the trademarks are being used in commerce.

Trademarks fall on a spectrum. Some marks are strong while others are weak. On the highest end of the spectrum are what are called fanciful marks. These are the strongest marks because they are invented words with no other meaning than to serve as a trademark, like EXXON.

The next strongest marks are arbitrary marks. Arbitrary marks are ordinary words that have no relation to the good or services the mark represents, like APPLE for computers.

In the middle of the spectrum, are suggestive marks. Suggestive marks suggest in the mind of the consumer what the goods or services might be, like IGLOO coolers.

At the lower end of the spectrum is a descriptive mark. Descriptive marks describe the goods and services, like THE BICYCLE SHOP. Descriptive marks are very weak because competitors are entitled to use descriptive words to describe their own goods and services. Descriptive marks, however, may be registrable by showing (through extensive advertising and marketing) that the mark has acquired secondary meaning in the minds of consumers. In other words, the mark immediately tells the consumer the source of the goods and services, like SHARP for televisions.

The weakest type of mark is a generic mark, which cannot be protected under trademark law. Generic marks are common terms for entire classes of goods and services, like the word “tires” for a tire business.

Because it is important to select a strong mark for your business, you should contact an attorney before choosing a business or product name. We can advise you on the strength of your mark as well as run a clearance search to determine if any other business is using the same or similar mark.

If you believe your trademark has been infringed, contact us immediately. Quick and decisive action is crucial in trademark disputes.

Protect your intellectual property with Brackett & Ellis. Our seasoned attorneys are ready to assist you with your trademark needs. Contact us today for a detailed consultation or to schedule a free initial discussion about your trademark registration and enforcement needs.

*This information is for general purposes and is not intended as legal advice.

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