North Hollywood, CA asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California

Q: How do I file a trademark for a phrase? Is there a cheaper temporary alternative before I do the big trademark?

1 Lawyer Answer
Andrew Zulieve Esq
Andrew Zulieve Esq
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Waldoboro, ME

A: In the U.S., one acquires the underlying right to a particular trademark by actually using it in commerce on or in connection with the goods or services being sold under that mark. Neither federal nor state registration creates that senior right. So, assuming that you have had an experienced trademark attorney conduct an availability search to confirm that your use of this trademark will not cause consumer confusion (infringement) with a mark already in use by another company, you can start using the mark in commerce which would be protected under so-called "common law" principles. In that case, the little "TM" placed by the lower right-hand corner at the end of the trademark is the accepted notice to the public of your common law claim to use that mark. Before spending too much on it, I strongly urge you to discuss it with an experienced trademark attorney.

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