Why is trade marking a name so expensive?

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I see a lot of people and names with TM. Do all of these people have to pay $275 to $325 to Trade Mark their name? Is it possible some of these people just use the TM without trade marking? (which by the way is illegal). It just seems awefully high priced. I thought about trade marking my name "You Can Never Be Too Smart" but not at that price!
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Donald

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  • http://youcanneverbetoosmart.synthasite.com

Posted 9 years ago

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Ed-a-Torials @ Honey Bear Playhomes, Champion

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Hi Donald

Here are some great sites on the subject...
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Is registration of my mark required?
No. You can establish rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark. However, owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several advantages, e.g.,

* constructive notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark;
* a legal presumption of the registrant's ownership of the mark and the registrant's exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration;
* the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
* the use of the U.S registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries; and
* the ability to file the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.

When can I use the trademark symbols TM, SM and ®?

Any time you claim rights in a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO. However, you may use the federal registration symbol "®" only after the USPTO actually registers a mark, and not while an application is pending. Also, you may use the registration symbol with the mark only on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the federal trademark registration.

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/...
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Registered marks versus common law marks

In the United States, a trademark which has been registered with the USPTO uses the ® symbol. A business that does not actually register a trademark may instead use the common law designation "TM" in superscript next to the mark. Using the "TM" mark does not actually confer any legal rights in federal law, but it may nevertheless help a business acquire secondary meaning concerning a specific mark.

Registered and non-registered trademarks are both eligible for protection under the Lanham Act. The advantage of having a registered mark is that after five years of unopposed use, the mark becomes "incontestable". An incontestable mark cannot be attacked on the grounds that it is merely descriptive (even if it is). This means that the defendant in a trademark infringement suit cannot directly attack the plaintiff's mark, but must instead focus on showing a lack of a likelihood of confusion. Even without incontestability, a registered mark has a presumption of being a valid trademark, placing the burden on the defendant to attack the plaintiff's mark.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_S...

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Notices of Rights in Unregistered Marks:

The registered symbol, "®," the legend "Registered, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office," and the abbreviation, "Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.," should be used only on, and in connection with, marks registered with the PTO. The use of these notices on unregistered marks is a crime, punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.

Technically, providing notice of rights in unregistered marks is optional, but the prevailing wisdom is that such notice should be employed. Such notice is consistent with the rationale underlying proper trademark use, and enhances a mark's source-identifying function. Notice of rights in an unregistered mark, consists of one of the following notations, usually appearing above, and to the right of, the mark in which rights are asserted:

1. (TM) for an unregistered trademark; and,
2. (SM) or (TM) for an unregistered service mark.

Affix Your Mark to Goods and Services

Not all product nicknames, business slogans, and broadcast advertising phrases are trademarks and service marks. In order for trademark rights to be created and maintained, a mark must be affixed to a specific product, or used in the provision of a particular service. Marks cannot discharge their source-identifying duties, if they cannot be seen on products, or with services.

Trademarks are "affixed" by applying them directly to a product, to containers in which the product is packaged, or to tags or labels attached to the product. Service marks are "affixed" by using them in signs and other advertisements offering the services, and on letterhead and invoices through which the services are provided. As a general rule, a mark is not a mark until it has been affixed!
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Donald

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oh, so I don't have to file an application to use TM or SM? So if I use TM at the end of the name, does that mean noone else can use it? I've already searched trademarks and currently noone has mine.
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nycole.armon

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TM just states that you are claiming ownership of the mark. It does not give you any federal backing. So using TM would help your case in the event that someone else claims they own the mark, but unless you have registered the mark and have the R symbol, you have no definite rights.

I know that it seems to be a high cost to legally register the mark, but in the long run if you want to protect your rights then you should just fork over the money. Otherwise I guarantee you will be spending 10x more on legal costs if you try to prove in court that someone was infringing on your mark.
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tawes dewyngaert

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Still seems high-priced for something when you havent even had the opportunity to prove the commercial application. At least with patents, they accomodate a temporary patent for a year. Have a heart would ya? This shouldnt have to be an "act of congress" to make such a change to accomodate innovation among us really small business people.