Intellectual Property & Trademarks We Handle a Wide Variety of Cases to Better Suit Your Needs

Decatur IP & Trademark Registration Attorneys

Helping You Defend Your Ideas

Running a business is never easy. Whether you're an entrepreneur just getting started or the lead executive of a large corporation, you know that every business starts with an idea. How well you protect that idea can determine whether your business succeeds or fails.

At Gibbs Tillery, our Decatur IP and trademark registration lawyers understand how to protect the innovative solutions that make your business successful. We can also help you handle IP or trademark disputes if someone does encroach on your intellectual property or violates a trademark you register.

To schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about how we can provide the peace of mind you deserve, contact us online or via phone at (404) 471-3874.

How Does Intellectual Property Work?

Intellectual Property (IP) is an umbrella term describing one of the most valuable assets a company may own and control. IP falls under one of four broad categories: Copyrights, patents, trademarks and trade secrets. While there is some overlap between the different types of IP, each category represents a different area that provides protection for certain aspects of different IP.

What Is a Trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, slogan, color, symbol and/or design that identifies the source of goods or services. This is federally protected by an ® if the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted a trademark.

If you only claim a common law right under state law, the trademark is protected by the TM symbol. The advantage a federally registered trademark is that you do not have to prove the mark actually constitutes a trademark if you are prosecuting or defending a claim for trademark infringement. In legal terms, this means that the ® creates a rebuttable presumption that the trademark has secondary meaning and identifies the source of the goods or services offered under the mark.

What is the Cost of Trademark Registration with Gibbs Tillery?

For a flat fee (plus the cost of the USPTO filing fee), Gibbs Tillery, will help you analyze, review, and file an application with the USPTO to acquire a trademark registration. This fee will depend on the number of trademark types; e.g. word, symbol and/or design (or only one of these), that you wish to register with the USPTO.

To speak with our team and learn more about the IP and trademark registration process, contact us online or via phone at (404) 471-3874.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Q:What kind of mark do I want?

    A:There are three standard* options: 1. Standard Character Mark (“A Christmas Bauble”; “Bauble Stocking” etc.) 2. Design Mark (logo e.g. Red Roof of Pizza Hut; or McDonald’s Golden Arches); and 3. Combined Mark (standard character and logo together; e.g. Red Roof of Pizza Hut with Pizza Hut words underneath). * Non-standard marks: 4. Sound marks like the chimes for NBS or Law and Order for example however it is difficult as “the sound must be so inherently different or distinctive that it attaches to the subliminal mind of the listener, to be awakened when heard, and to be associated with the source or event…” 5. Color marks like the brown for UPS; the red in Coca-Cola or Louboutin; post-it note yellow; or Tiffany blue. 

  • Q:But, which should I choose?

    A:It depends, but usually a standard and design mark separately. This permits the party to use the two marks in combination or separately in any situation and still maintain the ®. You only choose no. 3 if your proposed standard word mark would not likely be trademark-able because it is “merely descriptive” but together with a logo it is “distinctive”.

  • Q:What about color, stylized writing, or font?

    A:Unless you’ve expended significant resources in branding in a particular color: e.g. the brown for UPS; the red in Coca-Cola or Louboutin; or the post-it note yellow; Tiffany Blue, then pick that specific color if you must, but even then file a separate application only in Black and White.

  • Q:Why black and white?

    A:Because it encompasses all color schemes and allows for protection of same. This make for flexible marketing plans where your business can change the color or font and still claim the ®.

  • Q:What does “merely descriptive” versus “distinctive” mean?

    A:The USPTO examining attorney askes whether the applied for trademark distinguish the goods and services from another? If so it is acting as a trademark, such as Apple vs Microsoft. However, what if it is merely descriptive of the goods “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” v. “Cookies”? Then no trademark would register without secondary meaning--the mark has gained acknowledgment in the eyes of the consumer as indicating a particular source of goods or services. This question turns on an understanding of relative strength of different types of trademarks. This question turns on an understanding of relative strength of different types of trademarks.

  • Q:Who should own the trademark?

    A:The number one insulation from liability is found in an intellectual property holding company that would then license the use of the trademark to an operating company. Second best is the business entity itself holding ownership of a mark. Alternatively, if an individual holds ownership of the trademark and the goods or services cause an injury to someone then the individual has potential exposure to liability for the injury.

  • Q:What if I am not yet using the trademark?

    A:Contact Gibbs Tillery

  • Q:What is the difference between the TM and ®?

    A:TM and ® are both designations for trademark. TM means common law mark is claimed meaning the trademark is protected under state law because it has been used in commerce. ® means federally registered mark with the USPTO and it carries a presumption of validity. In other words, TrademarkTM would mean you were claiming a common law trademark (which exists as soon as a mark is used in commerce, regardless if it is followed by the TM designation—similar to how copyright exists when created regardless of registration). The TM is a statement to the common market that the mark designates a specific source of products or services and that it cannot be used by another. The first use of a common law mark rules supreme to any junior user of the mark –“junior” as in uses after the earlier use by the person claiming the common law mark.TM The federally registered mark ® on the other hand, provides the user with a presumption that the user has a valid and protectable mark (which means that the owner does not have to prove the existence of a trademark in a Court should it sue or be sued over the use of the mark). The ® takes precedence to TM users who were in the market before the ® registration The US is a first to file country, which means that even if a business were using BRANDNAMETM since 2006, but did not register the trademark with the USPTO, if another business were to register BRANDNAME® with the USPTO in 2016, the business using the mark since 2006 would have to stop using the mark (with some limited geographical exceptions pursuant to the prior use doctrine).

  • Q:What does Gibbs Tillery charge for the Cost of Trademark Registration?

    A:For a flat fee (plus the cost of the USPTO filing fee) Gibbs Tillery will help you analyze, review, and file an application with the USPTO to acquire a trademark registration. This fee will depend on the number of trademark types; e.g. word, symbol and/or design (or only one of these), that you wish to register with the USPTO. protect design or word mark (trademarks); a such as those federally registered trademarks and patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or registered copyrights with the United States Copyright Office, or that IP created under a state’s common law through “first use”, or that property constituting a company’s trade secrets)

  • Q:How much are the USPTO filing fees?

    A:It depends on how many marks you are applying for and in how many classes. The USPTO filing fees themselves are $225 per application per class of international class of goods and services “IC” (for an intent-to use application where you are not yet using the marks yet in commerce there is an additional $150 to file the proof that the goods are being sold under the proposed trademark, per application, per class, and $100 per application per class for a 6 month extension to file). 

  • Q:What is an Office Action?

    A:Contact Gibbs Tillery

  • Q:How do I register my trademark internationally?

    A:Contact Gibbs Tillery

  • Q:What do you need from me to apply for a trademark?

    A:1. A signed-fee agreement with Gibbs Tillery and payment of the flat fee. 2. Description of the trademarks for which you wish to apply: e.g., a WORD MARK; and (2) jpg image of logo (in greyscale or black and white. .jpg must be under 5mb and between 250 and 944 pixels length and height). 3. Owner of Mark (corporate entity, not you personally). 4. State of Incorporation 5. Principal Place of Business 6. Phone number, email, website (if applicable) 7. First date of use of the mark anywhere (not on goods or services sold). 8. First date of use of the mark in commerce (on goods or services actually sold on the free market). a. If not presently using then this is obviously not applicable. 9. If using (sold goods and services bearing proposed marks), would need images of “specimens” or pictures of the trademarks as they are actually used (logo and word mark on packaging, product, point-of-sale for website, storefront, receipts, etc.) (This can be .pdf of same size and dimension of jpg as above)

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