Statistics show that Florida is the home to more than 2.5 million small businesses. Such a competitive business environment requires entrepreneurs to solidify their brands and distinguish themselves to stand out from competitors.
When should you trademark a brand in Florida? Read on to find out.
When Should You Trademark a Brand in Florida – The Verdict
There is no fixed date to register a trademark in Florida. It is never early or late to file a trademark application, but potential applicants must pay attention to some aspects involved in this process.
Trademark rights do not come from registration, but the actual use of the trademark in business. US law does not necessarily require trademark owners to register at the federal or state levels.
As long as you have been using an unregistered trademark in business for long enough, you have ownership rights over that “common law” trademark. While it is possible to enforce common law trademarks in court, the process is often more time-consuming and demanding.
Proving the legitimacy of an unregistered trademark often requires additional paperwork and evidence. Another obstacle is to overcome the defenses of the infringing party (e.g., fair use of a trademark).
Conversely, a registered trademark allows you to secure a brand’s dominance amid competitors and enjoy extended legal protection in case of infringement.
Benefits of Early Trademark Registration
One of the key benefits of trademarking early is not having to rebrand the business in the future. Before applying for a trademark, you must conduct a thorough search to identify existing marks with excessively similar or identical features.
Failing to register early may result in years of inadvertently use of a trademark that may already exist. If the owner of the existing trademark decides to sue you, it will result in thousands of dollars spent to prove you did not know about the existence of that mark.
Early trademark registration can avoid a waste of significant time and money in building a brand only to find out that the trademark is not available for registration in a later moment.
Trademarking a Brand in Florida – State Registration vs. Federal Registration
You have two options to trademark a brand in Florida, which are state registration and federal registration. The extent of protection granted to federal trademarks is broader, as these marks can be enforced nationwide.
Additionally, federal trademarks supersede common law trademarks and state trademarks in lawsuits. To register a brand as a federal trademark, you must apply with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The costs involved in this process can go up to $500, depending on the class of goods or services provided under the applicant’s brand. The processing timeframe varies between 12 to 18 months.
Florida also offers state-level registration through the Department of State (Division of Corporations). The applicable fees do not exceed $100 and the processing time usually happens within six months from the date of the application.
Please note that trademarking a brand in Florida only provides protection within state jurisdiction. If a brand is engaged in interstate commerce, the best approach is to register with the USPTO.
Do You Want to Trademark a Brand in Florida? – Immediately Contact Jurado & Associates, P.A.
Work with a well-versed trademark attorney from Jurado & Associates, P.A. to protect your brand in Florida. Contact us by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.