Not sure how to safeguard your business’s intellectual property by registering a trademark in Florida? This article will guide you through the steps necessary to protect your name and logo.
Florida Trademark Registration
Florida’s trademark laws offer three registration options: arbitrary, fanciful, and suggestive. Arbitrary trademarks, such as the ones used by big box department store Target, have value to the corporation but can also be used generically. Fanciful trademarks, like Verizon, are terms created specifically for a corporation. Suggestive trademarks, on the other hand, highlight a brand’s characteristics and indicate the company’s activities. Netflix is a prime example, as it offers access to movies (flicks) over the internet.
The Basics of Trademark Registration
You have two ways to register a trademark in Florida. First, file with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. Alternatively, you can register at the federal level by filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). While state registration is less complex and cheaper, federal registration offers better protection.
In Florida, trademarks are established on the date of their first use. Therefore, applicants must provide proof of first use. Once all the necessary documents are completed, they must be submitted with the required filing fee, and then you wait for an official response.
Typically, processing a trademark application can take up to six weeks. After being officially registered, Florida trademarks remain valid for five years. Trademark owners in Florida must begin the renewal process six months before the mark’s expiration.
Florida Trademark Law: Limited to the State
Florida trademark registration provides protection only within the state’s borders. If your business operates solely within Florida or a specific area, this level of protection may be sufficient. However, for organizations conducting business in multiple states or requiring broader protection, consider registering your trademark at the federal level with the USPTO. Federal registration offers nationwide protection.
Benefits of Trademark Registration
Your business’s name and logo are valuable assets, making trademark registration a wise choice. By registering your trademark in Florida, you prevent others from using your name or design and gain protection against infringement within the state. Without a registered trademark, another business may harm your reputation, either intentionally or through unfair practices. While a common-law trademark does offer some protection in these situations, it is limited. Once you have a registered trademark in Florida, you can market and promote your products with peace of mind, knowing you are protected.
How to Register a Trademark in Florida
- Create a unique name or logo to trademark – When developing your business name and logo, think long-term. Distinctive names and logos offer better protection than common words and symbols. Consider creating three different options for each before moving forward.
- Conduct a comprehensive trademark search – Once you have three distinct options, perform a search using the USPTO’s trademark database and Florida records. This step ensures that your chosen name and logo do not infringe on someone else’s trademark.
- Complete the trademark application – After confirming that your name and logo are unique, proceed to complete the trademark application.
- Submit your application and pay the filing fee – Finally, mail your application and the $87.50 filing fee to the address specified on the application.
Registering a trademark in Florida is a straightforward process. However, if you’re unsure about how to proceed, it’s essential to consult an experienced intellectual property attorney. The Saltiel Law Group can provide expert guidance throughout the process, enabling you to conduct business without worrying about others using your intellectual property. Contact us today to arrange a consultation.