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  1. What is a trademark? 
    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office defines a trademark as including any word, name, symbol or device, or any combination thereof, used or intended to be used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from the goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of goods.  A trademark can be thought of as a brand name.

  2. Do trademarks have to be registered? 
    No, but federal registration has several advantages, including notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration.

  3. What are the benefits of trademark registration? 
    According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the benefits of trademark registration include:
  4. - Notice nationwide of your claim to the trademark
    - Evidence of ownership of the trademark
    - Access to Federal courts to enforce your rights to the trademark
    - Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries

  5. Once I incorporate my company are other companies prevented from using my company’s name?
    No.  It is still possible for another company to use your company’s name.  The best way to protect against someone else using your company’s name would be to get trademark protection of the name.  A and A Incorporating Services offers trademark services.

  6. When is it proper to use the federal registration symbol (the letter R enclosed within a circle -- ® -- with the mark? 
    The federal registration symbol may be used once the mark is actually registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Even though an application is pending, the registration symbol may not be used before the mark has actually become registered. The federal registration symbol should only be used on goods or services that are the subject of the federal trademark registration.

  7. How do I find out if I need patent, trademark and/or copyright protection?  
    Patents protect inventions and improvements to existing inventions. Copyrights cover literary, artistic, and musical works. Trademarks are brand names and/or designs which are applied to products or used in connection with services.

  8. How long does a trademark registration last?  
    For a trademark registration to remain valid, an Affidavit of Use ("Section 8 Affidavit") must be filed: (1) between the fifth and sixth year following registration, and (2) within the year before the end of every ten-year period after the date of registration.  The registrant may file the affidavit within a grace period of six months after the end of the sixth or tenth year, with payment of an additional fee.

  9. What do I do if someone is using a trademark similar to mine?
     There are several ways to dispute use of your trademark by a third party. Depending on the factual situation, the Trademark Office may or may not be the proper forum. You should consider contacting an attorney, preferably one specializing in trademark law.

  10. A and A Incorporation Services offers many different types of trademark services. How do I decide which searches or registrations are right for my company? 
    First, you should determine where your market will be located.  If you will be marketing your product or service nationally, then you might want to consider limiting your trademark search and registration to the United States.  If, however, you plan on marketing your business world-wide, you might want to consider doing an world-wide search and possibly registering your trademark in other countries in addition to the United States.