Nicholas Wells – Founder of Wells IP Law
Nicholas Wells is a trademark attorney who focuses on entertainment law, technology law and intellectual property law. Wells is the founder of Wells IP Law and is a former consulting attorney, trademarks and brand management at GE.
A new year is coming and many artists and start-up businesses are getting ready to launch new products and services with brands and trademarks attached to them. However, many of these creative people do not understand how to deal with the legal aspect of protecting their work, brands and trademarks.
Have your business trademark questions answered in the following Q&A:
CU Q: Do I need to register my trademark?
Nicholas Wells: You do not need to register your trademark in order to use it legally. However, registering your trademark gives you exclusive rights to use your trademark with the goods or services you included in the registration.
CU Q: What happens when someone uses your registered trademark verses using your non-registered trademarks?
Nicholas Wells: If you have a registered trademark and someone uses it as their own it is called trademark infringement and you have the right to sue and you have a higher chance of winning when trademark is registered. Your trademark is still protected even if it is not registered, but the owner of an unregistered mark will have to prove that the trademark is unique, of his or her own design and creation, and that the infringer is really violating trademark laws.
CU Q: What about similar trademarks?
Nicholas Wells: It is always a good idea to search for similar trademarks before you try to register one of your own. If there is another trademark out there that looks extremely similar to your own then it may be denied when you try to file your application. Even if you are not registering your mark it is a good idea to look through the registered trademarks to make sure your mark does not look too similar.
CU Q: Where can I get my trademark forms?
Nicholas Wells: You can find trademark application forms both online and on paper. Many people use the Trademark Electronic Application System which allows one to pay by credit card.
CU Q: Do I need help to register my trademark ?
Nicholas Wells: It is not required to have legal help when registering a trademark, but many people find that using a trademark attorney for legal advice helps them in the filing and registration process.
CU Q: What are the different types of trademark filing bases?
Nicholas Wells: There are ‘use in commerce’ and ‘intent to use’ filing bases. If one has already used the mark in commerce then it can be filed in the “use in commerce” section. But if the mark has not been used but will be used in the future then it is filed under “intent to use.”
CU Q: What happens after the form is sent?
Nicholas Wells: After the registration form is sent then comes the waiting period. You can check the status of your application by going to the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval system or you can call the assistance center. It can take a couple of months before your form is processed.
CU Q: How long will my trademark registration last?
Nicholas Wells: Your trademark registration is valid, depending on the country you live in, for 10-17 years. You can make the registration last longer by paying more.
CU Q: What is the point?
Nicholas Wells: The point of registering your trademark is to have added protection on your creative designs and brands.