Are you interested in creating a new footwear brand? Starting your own business can be incredibly rewarding, but it is essential to understand the legal responsibilities that come with creating an entirely new brand of products. Footwear is a highly competitive industry, but there is a great deal of promise for aspiring business owners who are interested in entering the market. If you want to sell a new brand of footwear, you will need to protect your brand and your products from imitations, unlicensed usage, and scams. “Knockoffs” of your product can diminish your brand’s credibility and hurt your business.
If you want to protect your new footwear brand, you need to register a trademark for it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This may sound straightforward, but the actual process of filing a trademark application is complex, time-consuming, and often expensive. You should understand the process behind filing a trademark registration and how an attorney can help you.
Before you start the trademark registration process, you need to make sure you have all the necessary information ready to go with your application. You’ll need to submit a trademark specimen or an example of how you intend to use your desired trademark. This can be a tag, label, container, or display for your new footwear. You do not necessarily need to submit a manufactured prototype of the footwear you are registering.
To prepare your trademark application, you will need to complete the formatting and design of your trademark, provide a complete list of the products you intend to market with your trademark, perform a trademark search to ensure that no conflicting trademarks exist, and choose the appropriate filing basis for your trademark. Footwear is part of Class 25, which includes clothing, outerwear, footwear, and headwear. You will need to be sure to select the correct filing basis for your footwear, otherwise, the USPTO may reject your application outright and you will need to start the application process all over again.
Depending on the number of products and different types of products you intend to use with your trademark, you may need to submit multiple trademark applications together. An experienced trademark attorney can be extremely helpful when it comes to situating your trademark application packet, ensuring you have everything you need ready to go before you begin the application process.
After you complete the preparation stage of your trademark application, you need to start the application submission process. The USPTO handles trademark applications, and an attorney can help you complete all the required submission steps. You will need to create an account with the USPTO and pay the application fee, which can range from $250 to $350, depending on the nature of your desired trademark.
Your account allows you to monitor the status of your trademark application through the USPTO’s Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system. The TSDR will notify you if the USPTO serves you with any office actions related to your trademark, which you will need to address as quickly as possible to prevent any interruption to your application’s review process.
Once the USPTO has all the necessary information for your trademark application, they will assign an examining attorney to your application. This attorney is responsible for performing the final checks to ensure your trademark is acceptable as filed and that you have paid all necessary fees. The examining attorney will also conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure that no other conflicting trademarks already exist. If any issues arise with your application, the examining attorney will attach an office action to your application. The office action could be a notice that your desired trademark is unacceptable as you have submitted it, or the examining attorney may simply need clarification or additional documentation to complete their approval process.
Once the examining attorney has completed their review of your footwear trademark, the USPTO will publish the trademark in their Official Gazette. This publication is provided weekly and includes all trademark applications so that anyone can review them to check for conflicts. If anyone believes your trademark conflicts with their own or has valid grounds to object to your trademark’s approval, they have 30 days from the date of the Gazette’s publication to file their objection with the USPTO.
If any party raises a dispute to your footwear trademark, the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) will initiate litigation, allowing you and the objecting party to speak on the issue. It is very helpful to have an experienced trademark attorney on your side if this occurs with your application. After any TTAB cases related to your trademark application are resolved, the USPTO will send you their final approval for your footwear trademark. However, there are a few things you may still need to do before you can begin using the trademark as desired.
The USPTO may require you to complete maintenance documents, depending on how you intend to use your trademark. Once you are ready to start using your footwear trademark, you will need to periodically renew your registration to keep your footwear trademark protected.
If you want to establish a new footwear brand, registering a trademark is essentially a requirement of ensuring legal protection for your new footwear brand. Navigating the USPTO’s rules and procedures can be more difficult than most people realize, so it’s best to have an experienced trademark attorney assist you with this complicated process.
The Denver trademark attorneys at Four Reasons Legal have more than 15 years of experience helping our clients secure the trademarks they need, handling trademark infringement cases, and assisting them in navigating complex proceedings with the USPTO and examining attorneys. Whether you are starting from square one and need help getting your application sorted or you have received an office action on your application and are unsure how to proceed, we can help. Contact Four Reasons Legal today to schedule a consultation with an experienced trademark attorney.