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 Frequently Asked Questions
Search FAQs
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How do I perform a trademark search?

First, we recommend your start by defining the class you want to register for. You can find your class, using our Trademark Class Search tool. Using this tool you enter your product/service, and it will tell you the class or classes you should register for.

After you have found your class(es), you can use our Trademark Search engine, or go directly to your country's Trademark Office and perform the search there.

When searching, try different combinations of your name. For example, if you are searching for AMAZON, look for AMASON, HAMAZON, or similar word patterns. Try several different combinations of words and spellings.

Trademark Search may be challenging and time-consuming and, if you do not have the time or experience, our company offers the service Trademark Study. The Study will give you details about the classes where you might want to register your trademark, it will also include a list of identical and similar trademarks, and finally, it will provide you an Attorney's recommendation about registration possibilities and use of your trademark.

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What is a trademark class search?

To help in the administration of trademarks, most countries in the world have adopted the Nice Classification (International Classification of Nice) which groups all products and services into 45 classes: 34 for products and 11 for services.

For example, assume you want to register 'RackTacket Remote Rockets' in the trademark classes for toys, rockets, and rocket launchers. The names that sound like 'RackTacket Remote Rockets' may still be available in a different trademark category for, say, pharmaceuticals or leather goods. You have claimed toys and rockets rather than the pharmaceutical or leather goods categories.

You can use our Trademark Class Search engine to search your class or you can order a Trademark Study so an attorney can review your products and services and advise you on the classes to apply. 

 

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Do I need an attorney to perform a trademark search?

No, you don’t, but if you have little or no experience dealing with trademarks, we suggest you seek professional help. Our company offers the service Trademark Study. The Study gives you details of the classes in which you might want to register your trademark; it also lists identical and similar trademarks, and finally, you get an Attorney's recommendation about registration possibilities and use of your trademark.

You can use our Trademark Search tool too.

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What is a Trademark Study?

It is an in-depth trademark search report, it will not only list identical and similar trademarks (graphic & phonetic) that may conflict with yours but also give you an Attorney's opinion about registration probabilities and the class(es) that belong to your product(s)/service(s). The Study includes the following sections:

a) Optimal Class Protection 
Includes identifying under which classes it would be advisable that your trademark be registered. Classes are determined using the description of your products and/or services.

b) Similarity Search
Our attorneys will perform an in-depth search of existing registered trademarks under the relevant class, identifying those of graphic or phonetic similarity.

c) Review and Recommendation
Based on the search results, our attorneys will give a recommendation about registration probabilities. 
 
Order your Trademark Study and start today your trademark registration process!
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Why sometimes trademark applications are refused? 

Usually, trademarks are refused by the trademark office when they found that your trademark is:

  • Similar to existing marks using sound, meaning, or appearance, and also for the same products/services. 
  • An unoriginal description of a service, product, or geographic location is easily confused by the public with other brands
  • Deceptive, confusing, or misleading. Avoid vulgar phrases no matter how popular they are.
  • A person or family surname.
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What is the difference between a strong and weak mark?

The characteristics of a registrable trademark can be subtle. A professional trademark search will find areas where your proposed mark overlaps pre-existing trademarks. This task is critical since infringement of someone's existing property rights leads directly to the rejection of or opposition to your trademark application.

Once you verify a mark’s uniqueness through a search, consider the strength or weakness of your trademark design in preventing future infringement. The design characteristics will decide any difficulties other parties would have copying your mark for counterfeiting purposes or creating a similar yet legally permissible version as a business competitor. For example, suggestive, fanciful, or arbitrary marks that do not directly describe your goods or services in commonly-used terms are strong marks. Descriptive or generic marks that use popular phrases for goods or services may be registrable but are harder to defend as unique. Trademarks that are easy to reproduce or counterfeit are weak marks.    

Part of the application process for a trademark is reviewing the strength or weakness of your design compared to existing marks already registered. An authorizing body also considers the hazards of potential future disputes over infringement issues and property rights. 

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What happens if my trademark is already filed or registered?

If you discover that another company has a pending application or has a registered trademark, and the other party shares common business products/services with you, they have priority over the mark, so you probably need to find another trademark to register.

In countries where 'common law' applies (Like the U.S.), their use of the mark before your trademark filing also gives them a claim to property rights depending on the scope of their use of the mark.

If the other mark owner used their trademark for a limited time in a limited area, you might be able to resubmit a registration application with Trademark Office.  Keep in mind your application has now a very high probability of rejection. 

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Why should I invest in a trademark?

By registering a mark, you can become its exclusive owner. Registration uniquely distinguishes your mark from competing marks in the same sector so that your clients can differentiate your products or services. This allows consumers that are satisfied with the given product and/or service to be able to buy or use that product and/or service. All the major companies and corporations register their trademarks as can we all see from the circle-R symbol that hovers beside their distinctive logos and names.

Registration also provides legal protection, preventing third parties from copying or imitating your mark, cashing in on your reputation, and damaging your prestige. And if they try, you can take them to court and sue them for the damages.

Investing in a trademark will provide protection through the local trademark office of the respective country and will also result in a greater connection with your clients and an increase in the value of your company as the registration will become a company asset.

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Why does a trademark matter to me and my business?

The similarity between trademarks confuses the marketplace and creates an opportunity for counterfeiters to steal your profits, use your brand awareness, and damage your reputation. Similar marks composed of words that sound, appear, or have the same meaning across different languages are worth consideration when choosing your personal or business mark.

A well-searched, correctly registered trademark helps confirm in the minds of consumers and through the eyes of the courts and governing bodies around the world that your mark identifies you as the source of the product or service.

The choice of a trademark for a business needs careful thought and planning. Subtle factors can add to the uniqueness of your mark. Consider the strength or weakness of your trademark design in differentiating you from the competition in your niche marketplace in thwarting potential counterfeiting. Is your mark memorable? Will your trademark attract attention especially online through its clarity, style, and uniqueness? Will the public remember it over time? If you move into foreign markets, will your choice of design translate well and not offend people in other countries with other cultures? 

The United States Patent Office reminds people that they can only register a person's claim to goods, services, and intellectual property. Property owners have ultimate responsibility for enforcing their rights. Proper registration of a trademark is a fundamental step in protecting your claims.

Trademark FAQs
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Is trademark registration mandatory?

Registering a trademark may not be compulsory, but it is a good idea. A handful of countries like the United States and Canada recognize unregistered trademarks but offer them less legal protection than ones that are properly registered. Using your mark without formal registration in many countries does not offer sufficient legal grounds to defend your property. Without a registered trademark on file, it is possible for people and businesses from other nations to successfully conduct business under your name in your local market and eliminate any brand distinction.

We recommend you register a trademark in every country, territory, or jurisdiction where you offer your products and services. You do not need to actively use that mark to file a trademark registration application in most countries. However, some nations have a use requirement. Some countries like the United States follow common law and recognize the priority of first use over first filing.

Registering a trademark affords you legal protection and security in the event a dispute arises about the use of your mark in commercial endeavors in foreign countries too. Business activity is global. Your unique ideas and hard work will attract attention from people who see an opportunity to benefit from your idea and good name in their local markets. Protect your business just like you insure your house and your car from accident and theft. We recommend you register as many trademarks as you need if each mark follows registration guidelines.

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Do I have to specify the products and services?

Yes, you have. It is not possible to register trademarks that are too descriptive or generic. For example, you cannot register the term 'CAR' for automobiles. You also cannot register a trademark that is like other marks. For example, you cannot register a trademark like HAMASON as an online bookstore because it resembles the Amazon brand name.  

If you are unaware of which class or classes best protect your goods and services, we recommend you order the Trademark Study. Our experienced attorneys will review your product or service description and match it to the class or classes most for your business activity. 

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What is a priority claim and when can I use it?

A priority claim is an allowance based on Article 4 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. It enables you as the owner of a filed trademark to file subsequent trademark applications in any of the Convention’s signatory countries using the effective date of your first application as long as you file the subsequent applications within six months of your original trademark application.  That means if you apply for a trademark in Canada, five months later, you can apply for a trademark in France using the effective date of your Canadian application.

We strongly recommend that you submit your additional applications as soon as possible after your base application.  Many countries have strict requirements regarding the type of documentation required in order to claim priority (sometimes including legalization and translation of the original application). 

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What happens if oppositions or objections arise during the registration process?

The purpose of the Trademark Study is to assess the probabilities of objections and oppositions. If objections or oppositions arise, Nominus.com relies on experienced Trademark Attorneys that will guide you in the appropriate course of action.

Upon notification of an office action or opposition, we strive to:

  • Communicate the details of the action to you as quickly as possible.
  • Include future steps and possible arguments.
  • Monitor deadlines and explain the costs to prepare and submit a response, if applicable.
     
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What is a trademark?

A trademark identifies a company’s products and services and distinguishes them from those of its competitors in the market. The name (the verbal element) is not the only component of a trademark—figurative elements such as logos, design, images, colors, and sounds also create an identity that can be protected by trademark registration.

With the registration, the owner (person or company) becomes the owner of the trademark. The registration is given for a particular country/territory, for certain products or services, and for a specific term. While the registration is in force, only the owner may use the trademark in the market where the trademark is registered.

 Some symbols to consider:

® Means the trademark is registered.

TM Some countries use this trademark symbol to show that the trademark has been filed at the trademark office and is still undergoing the registration process.

SM Some countries use this service mark symbol to show that the service mark has been filed at the trademark office and is still undergoing the registration process.

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What is the difference between a trademark, patent and copyright ?

You can lay claim to your work in many ways. Trademarks, patents, and copyrights offer protection to intellectual property owners. A trademark helps people find your goods and services. When recognized as a registered mark, it protects your right to exclusively use the image, logo, phrases, or words to distinguish your goods or services from others in the market.

patent safeguards ideas and inventions. It gives a creator or inventor exclusive rights that prevent other people from making, using, or profiting in any way from an invention or creative innovation without the consent of the inventor.

You cannot patent an idea alone (otherwise we’d all be doing it). You must materialize your concept into a tangible invention, innovative product, device, or process that offers new solutions to an existing problem.

Copyright protects all types of original published, performed, and printed creative works of art, literature, and music. It prevents people from using, reproducing, or distributing copyrighted works without the permission of the artist, author, composer, etc. Types of work covered by copyright protection include:

  1. a) artwork (2 or 3 dimensional),
  2. b) photographs, graphic drawings, and designs as well as other forms of creativity;
  3. c) songs, music, and sound recordings of all kinds;
  4. d) books, manuscripts, publications, and another written work; and
  5. e) plays, movies, shows, and other performance arts.

 

Trademarks, patents, and copyrights are all examples of ways you can protect your intellectual property. Your rights to control and benefit from your efforts are increasingly important in our global economy. Registering a formal claim to your property is a critical step in protecting what you own.

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What is the difference between TM, SM, ® and other symbols?

The symbol of a circled letter R after a trademark name or graphic image means that the preceding trademark has been registered. Various typographic symbols indicate copyrights and patents. The presence or absence of a symbol does not change the validity of the registration, but the best practice is to use circle‑R or circle‑C for copyrights every time you mention your intellectual property in print. These symbols give legal grounds for claiming damages in trademark litigation. The following is a list of some typical marks you can use on a web page, in written content, or even in a marketing letter.

  • TM: The TM or trademark symbol indicates an unregistered trademark for one of 34 different classes of products. Owners use this symbol to claim the preceding name or logo as the Trademark of their product.
  • SM: The SM or service mark symbol is similar to the TM symbol except it indicates a claim to a mark for a service (one of 11 classes of service) rather than a tangible product.
  • ®: Use the ® symbol once you’ve registered your trademark or service mark. It shows that the country authority has approved the registration.
  • ©: Use the © symbol to indicate copyrighted material. The copyright notice should appear on the material as Copyright © followed by the date the work was created, the copyright owner’s name, a period, and finally “All Rights Reserved.” Like this: Copyright © 2021, John Smith. All Rights Reserved. Use it whether the copyright has been registered or not.
  • Patent Pending: The phrase Patent Pending shows that you filed a patent application but cannot guarantee the application's approval.
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What are trademark classes?

Trademark Offices around the world use classes to divide commercial products and services into defined categories.  When you apply for your trademark to protect your brand, you must define the class or classes that you believe best describe your business activity. 

Countries around the world have standardized 45 classes (34 for products and 11 for services) for international use under the Nice International Classification.

These classes group all known products and services. If applicable, you can register the same trademark in more than one class; for example, you may register the trademark KING for computers in class 23 and register the same trademark in class 24 for cosmetics. 

Trademark protection only extends to commercial use within your specified classes.  It is, therefore, possible for two entities conducting business in different classes to use identical or similar trademarks and for each entity to enjoy full trademark protection in their respective classes. If you feel that protection should extend to include more than one class, you can choose multiple classes under which to conduct business.

You can search for your trademark class with this Trademark Class Search tool.

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