Having a recognizable brand and image is an important part of operating a Florida small business. An entity’s name and unique logo can help promote customer familiarity and product recognition. Therefore, if you have certain business-identifying images, obtaining trademark protection for these features is important. Here is more on how to register a trademark for your Florida small business.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design used to identify and distinguish a party’s goods from another. Some well-known examples of trademarked information include Coca-Cola’s images and lettering, McDonald’s golden arches, Nike’s swoosh and “Just do it” phrase, Starbuck’s mermaid image, and Google’s distinct lettering.
Registering a Trademark for Your Florida Business
Before registering a trademark for your Florida business, it’s important to consider whether you want to do so in Florida or through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This is because the two types of trademarks offer different protections. Both state and federal trademarks give the holder the exclusive right to use and enforce their trademarked content. However, Florida trademarks apply to use within Florida. By contrast, federal trademarks apply to interstate commerce. There are also other key differences.
Once you know where you want to register your trademark (Florida or federal), you should identify the words, images, designs, or slogans you want to register. Next, you will need to search and determine if what you are seeking to trademark is already trademarked by another business. After confirming that your intended content is not trademarked, you can proceed with registration. Trademark content searches can be complicated, and it’s important to work with an experienced business attorney during the process.
Florida Trademark Registration
In Florida, a party seeking to register a trademark in the state will complete an application and submit the document to the Florida Department of State. Those seeking federal trademark protection will apply with the USPTO.
Seeking a trademark for a Florida business requires research and having the right information in your application. This means taking steps to ensure that the business’s potential mark qualifies as something that can be trademarked. There is also the matter of finding out if what you want to trademark is close to another company’s protected content. If a mark is too close to another’s, it may create confusion.
Obtaining trademark protection can help protect your business and brand from infringement and unfair competitive practices. Depending on where you conduct business, it may make more sense to have a Florida trademark. However, those with interstate business may need a federal trademark. There are also differences in how long the trademark will last under state versus federal trademark registration.
Understanding and selecting the most beneficial type of trademark is essential to protecting your Florida business and its intellectual property. It’s also important to carefully evaluate the images and content you want to trademark and where it would be best to register.
The best way to assess your trademark requirements is by consulting an experienced Florida business attorney. Your Florida business lawyer can review your options with you so you can make informed decisions about how to protect your business’s intellectual property.
Contact an Experienced Florida Business Lawyer
Attorney Richard Sierra at the Florida Small Business Legal Center assists clients like you with commercial leasing, business, and litigation matters. As always, Our Goal Is to Help You Succeed™. For an appointment, you may call us at 1-866-842-5202 or use the contact form on our website. We represent clients throughout the State of Florida, including Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Deerfield Beach, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Orlando, Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Tampa, and surrounding communities.