Are there federal regulations governing use of the “TM” or “SM” designations?
No. Use of the symbols “TM” or “SM” (for trademark and service mark, respectively) may, however, be governed by local, state, or foreign laws and the laws of the pertinent jurisdiction must be consulted. These designations usually indicate that a party claims rights in the mark and are often used before a federal registration is issued.
When can I use the registration symbol “®” (the letter R enclosed within a circle-O ) 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.
Do I need an attorney to file a trademark application?
No, although it may be desirable to employ an attorney who is familiar with trademark matters. You may access the trademark forms, plus information about applying for a trademark by clicking Basic Facts About Registering a Trademark.
How do I find out whether a mark is already registered?
In order to determine whether any person or company is using a particular trademark, a trademark search can be conducted. Searches can be performed at our offices at 2900 Crystal Drive, 2nd Floor, Arlington, Virginia. Also, word marks may be searched at over 70 Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries located throughout the country.
For a listing of these locations please click PTDL at http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm
Is a federal registration valid outside the United States?
No. Certain countries, however, do recognize a United States registration as a basis for registering the mark in those countries. Many countries maintain a register of trademarks. The laws of each country regarding registration must be consulted.
Should I search the PTO records before filing an application?
Yes. The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) Public Search Library for trademarks is located at 2900 Crystal Drive, 2nd Floor, Arlington, Virginia 22202. The Public Search Library is open between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Use of the Public Search Library is free to the public. Also, certain information may be searched at a Patent and Trademark Depository Library. For locations go to http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm and click PTDL. These libraries have CD-ROMS containing the database of registered and pending marks. (However, the CD-ROMS do not contain images of the design marks.)
Can the Office conduct a search for an applicant?
No. After a trademark application is filed, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) will conduct a search of the records as part of the official examination process. The official search is not done for the applicant but rather to determine whether the mark applied for can be registered. It is advisable to search the records before filing the application. of the design marks.
Can trademarks be searched online?
Yes. The USPTO Trademark Database is now available for searching on the World Wide Web by anyone who has Internet access. Understanding the limitations of the Web database can help you avoid significant problems.
Source: SBA Publications
Just a reminder — I’m not a lawyer, I don’t even play one on TV and I did not stay at a Holiday In Express last night. I’m just a retired SBDC counselor, who knows where to look stuff up — both online and IRL. In this case my source is the SBA.