Any trademark’s ultimate purpose is to prevent unauthorized third-party from using the same (or similar) mark for a product or service. In the United States, each state has its own legislation concerning trademarks, and Florida is no exception to the rule.
In this article, you will find out the importance of a trademark and how to register it in Florida.
What is a Trademark? – Understanding the Concept
In legal terms, the concept of a trademark can be explained as a recognizable insignia, phrase, word, or symbol that legally distinguishes a product or service from other products or services provided by other businesses.
Essentially, it is impossible to build a strong brand without a good trademark. It is no wonder that the world’s largest and most valuable corporations have the most valuable trademark, as demonstrated by trademarks such as:
- Amazon (worth 416 billion)
- Apple (worth 352 billion)
- Microsoft (worth 327 billion)
- Google (worth 324 billion)
In this sense, more than creating and establishing a valuable trademark, protecting a brand is essential. Hence, working with an expert legal advisor to register and tailor a trademark protection strategy is fundamental.
How to Register a Trademark in Florida – The Basic Steps
If you own a trademark in Florida, there are two different manners you can register it. First, it is possible to do it at the state level by filing with the Florida Department of State (Division of Corporations).
Also, it can be done at the federal level by filing directly with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). While trademarks registered at the state level are less expensive and easier to register, any state-registered trademark is superseded by a federal trademark (if one exists).
How to Apply for a Florida Trademark – Step-by-Step
When applying for a Florida trademark, the first step is to seek guidance from an experienced trademark attorney. An expert legal counselor will help by:
- Ensuring a business’s mark meets the legal definition for a trademark
- Providing insights on the ideal trademark style
- Proceeding with a thorough trademark search to ensure a business’s mark is available
- Clarifying any questions that may arise during the trademark registration process
Before applying for a trademark, it is crucial to know whether or not it may create a likelihood of confusion with a trademarked sign that already exists.
Plus, notice that US law provides that trademark rights arise not from registration but from its actual use in business. As the defense cannot allege innocence of prior use, in this case, work with an expert trademark attorney to avoid unforeseen issues.
Then, it is time to download the application forms from the Florida Department of State’s official website. When filing the forms, the trademark applicant must file the trademark under the owner’s name.
In such a case, the owner is the one providing the goods or services, which may be an individual or a company.
Additionally, the applicant must specify the owner’s identity, describe the products where the mark is found, and submit a drawing of the mark with a demonstration of intended use (e.g., a specimen or plan).
In Florida, trademarks are established from their first date of use, so an applicant must show evidence of first use. After filling all the forms, the applicant must submit them with a filing fee and wait for an official response.
Typically, trademark application processing takes up to six weeks to complete. After its official registration, Florida trademarks last for five years until they expire. To renew a trademark in Florida, owners must initiate the process six months before its expiration date.