Registering a trademark is the first step to protecting a brand in Florida. Once you are granted ownership rights over a specific mark, you must follow a set of good practices to protect these rights. In this article, you will discover how to maintain a trademark registration in Florida.
State Registration vs. Federal Registration – Which Option is Better?
Whether you have registered a trademark at the state or federal level, you must protect the rights acquired after the registration process is complete. Many companies in Florida choose to trademark a name, logo, symbol, or a combination of these elements with the state only.
When you register a trademark with the Florida Department of State (Division of Corporations), your mark is protected from infringement within state jurisdiction. Even though this option is less expensive and faster, it offers limited geographical protection.
If you opt for filing for federal trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), your mark enjoys nationwide protection.
How to Maintain a Florida Trademark – The Essentials
Do Not Abandon Your Trademark
Even though proper trademark registration is fundamental, the ownership rights over a trademark come from its actual use in business. If a trademark owner fails to use the mark and has no clear direction toward effective use cases, it may result in trademark abandonment.
Please note that ceasing the use of your trademark for a small period will not cause abandonment, but it is crucial never to leave the mark shelved for too long. Otherwise, the outcome might be a trademark cancellation.
Add the Registered Symbol to Your Business Trademark
Depending on how your trademark is registered, you can use the “TM”, “SM,” or “®” symbols displayed in addition to the mark. It is fundamental to use these symbols as they improve customer credibility and alert potential infringers not to cross the line.
You can use the registered trademark symbols featured on product packaging, advertisement materials, marketing art, online content, website pages, and wherever else is applicable.
Consistency Times Consistency
Consistency is a valuable asset for any entrepreneur, especially those who own registered trademarks in Florida. Whether you own a federal or state-registered trademark, it is important to display the mark consistently.
Erratic or improper use of a registered trademark only weakens the mark, which results in vulnerability to challenge potential infringers.
Meeting Renewal Deadlines and Requirements
To renew a registered trademark, you need to keep a consistent use of the mark in business. For example, if a company’s trademark is redesigned and the owner fails to maintain the use of the old design, it may leave the registration exposed to cancellation.
Another important aspect is to never miss a renewal deadline. State and federal trademarks have specific requirements for renewals, especially the first and second renewals. Make sure to pay attention to detail and avoid costly mistakes.
Properly Monitoring the Trademark
US trademark law expressly states that trademark owners must monitor their trademarks. Once a Florida trademark is properly registered, the legitimate owner must monitor the mark in the marketplace and take a closer look at new trademark application fillings.
Failing to monitor a registered trademark could result in an eventual loss of ownership rights.