In Florida, entrepreneurs can apply for a trademark via a dual trademark registration system. This way, it is possible to register it at the state and federal level – simultaneously.
Undoubtedly, filing a trademark application – either with the State Department or the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) – is not as simple as it may sound, as the process involves some pitfalls along the way.
In this article, you will discover whether or not you should file a trademark application in Florida on your own.
Florida Trademark Application – Understanding the Concept
As defined by the USPTO, a trademark can be “any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services.” In essence, trademarks have three main characteristics, as they help to:
- Identify the source of goods or services
- Provide companies legal protection over their brands’ rights
- Safeguard companies against fraud and counterfeiting
In a competitive market like Florida, the more recognizable and distinguishable a product or service is, the better. Hence, trademarks are a fundamental piece of the puzzle when you consider their importance for fair competition, business valuation, and customer awareness.
Registering a Florida Trademark – State Registration vs. Federal Registration
Although the steps for registering a trademark at the state or federal level are quite similar, both processes are distinct by essence. When registering with the state, a trademark owner must file with Florida’s Department of State (Division of Corporations).
Notice that trademarks registered exclusively at the state level have validation only within the state’s limits. On the other hand, federal trademark registration is done directly with the USPTO.
Both proceedings involve filing a trademark application using the specific forms provided by the respective entities (depending on the option chosen) and submitting the paperwork with the required filing fees.
Typically, trademark owners need to provide a list of specific documents and information about the company, its product(s) and/or service(s), and the intent or actual use of a specific mark in business activities.
Plus, trademark owners need to include trademark samples (e.g., products displaying the brand’s mark). In terms of processing time, most cases of trademark applications usually require 12 to 24 months.
How to File a Trademark Application in Florida – Is it Mandatory?
Registering a trademark is not obligatory, especially considering unregistered trademarks have legal protection under Florida common law. However, although unregistered trademarks enjoy some level of legal protection, there are significant benefits associated with registering a trademark.
Indeed, there are several benefits registered trademarks have that common law trademarks do not enjoy, such as:
- the right to file a lawsuit in a federal court for alleged trademark infringement
- the right to preclude unauthorized third-party from registering the same mark in a similar business
Why Hiring a Trademark Attorney When I Can Do All the Registering Proceedings By Myself?
Indeed, no legislation requires trademark applicants to hire an attorney to file with Florida’s State Department or the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, working with an expert trademark is still the best approach.
Most entrepreneurs know a lot about business, but they do not know about trademark law. An experienced trademark attorney will provide all insights when it comes to filing a trademark application. Hence, a legal counselor will help by:
- Explaining all complex legal terms associated with the process
- Detailing all procedures using layman’s terms
- Providing a comprehensive guide of the necessary steps to register a trademark
- Reuniting the necessary documents, evidence of trademark usage, etc.
- Handling the paperwork and filing the forms
- Providing insights about the possible pitfalls involved in the process
Registering a Trademark in Florida – Work with Jurado and Farshchian
If you want the best the state of Florida has to offer in terms of trademark protection, make sure to work with Attorney Romy B. Jurado. Waste no time – get in touch with us today at (305) 921-0976 or send us an email at Romy@juradolawfirm.com to start a consultation.