If your business operates on a national level, then the choice to pursue a federal trademark registration makes sense. Such a registration protects your mark from use by someone else on a nationwide basis.
However, what if you only plan to operate in the State of Texas? A federal trademark registration may not make sense in this situation, especially when there is the option of obtaining a state trademark registration.
In general, obtaining a state trademark registration in Texas is far less complicated, time-consuming and expensive than pursuing a federal registration. When seen in this light, it becomes clear that a Texas trademark registration just makes sense.
What Is a Trademark?
Many entrepreneurs initially don’t understand why they would need a trademark registration. Once they understand the benefits that an official registration grants, they quickly begin to see the advantages.
According to Texas trademark law, a trademark may be a word, phrase, logo, device or symbol. A trademark also may include any combination of these components. The primary purpose of this trademark is to identify the source of the goods or services that are associated with use of the mark. This makes it easier for consumers to always come back to a brand name that they know and trust.
Why Should You Register Your Trademark?
Numerous advantages come with registering a trademark in Texas. Essentially, it formalizes your use and ownership of your particular mark. This means that you are empowered to prevent other individuals or businesses from using your trademark to their benefit.
As an example, suppose that you have invented a new widget that everyone needs to have. You’ve registered a trademark for the unique name of your widget in order to protect your rights.
Then, a competitor comes along, selling a knock-off widget of questionable quality. To make matters worse, that competitor is using a trademark that is confusingly similar to yours. Unless consumers are paying really close attention, they may accidentally buy the competitor’s inferior product, believing it to be yours.
When that knock-off product proves unreliable, the public may form a poor opinion of your company even though the product was made by your competitor.
When your trademark is registered, you have the ability to prevent your competitor from using your trademark. This helps to ensure that any goodwill that your company has earned remains where it belongs.
Texas State Requirements
If you want to register a trademark in Texas, then you’ll have to meet certain requirements.
For instance, you must be able to demonstrate to the secretary of state that your mark was in use in commerce in Texas on goods or services prior to the date on which you applied to register your mark.
Additionally, it’s necessary that your mark be different from other trademarks that are already registered in Texas. The more original and unique your mark is, the easier it will be to register. This also makes it easier for consumers to remember.
The office of the Texas Secretary of State also looks in the registered trademarks at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that the new mark is not identical to an existing trademark.
How to Register for a Trademark in Texas
Applying for a Texas trademark registration is easy.
Just fill out the Trademark or Service Mark Application Form, which can be obtained online. Note that the form must be notarized before it is submitted.
Include three original specimens showing use of the mark in Texas, and be ready to pay the official fees for each class of goods or services for which you are applying.
Next, the state reviews the application and specimens. They follow up if any issues are raised.
The trademark registration will issue if there are no issues. It remains valid for a five-year term, at which time it can be renewed.
Getting a Texas trademark registration is relatively easy when compared with a federal registration. Nonetheless, there can be bumps in the road. If the application is not correctly completed, it can result in significant delays and unexpected costs.
Contact Williams IP Law if you need assistance in registering a trademark in Texas or are looking for general intellectual property advice.