As the owner of a piece of intellectual property, you must do everything in your power to distinguish your product from that of your regional, national, and global competitors. One way you may accomplish this is through establishing a trade dress. But importantly, there is a formal registration process that you must abide by. Read on to discover how to register a trade dress and how a seasoned Missouri trademark registration lawyer at FortmanSpann, LLC can guide you throughout.
By definition, what is considered a trade dress?
Simply put, a trade dress is the commercial look and feel of your product that allows it to be easily identified back to you and your business as the source. Your product’s trade dress may be made up of components like design, shape, or otherwise materials used to package it. For example, the unique design of the Heinz ketchup bottle is instantly recognizable to the average consumer. With this, functional aspects of your product cannot be considered a trade dress.
How do I go about registering a trade dress?
Notably, your trade dress is considered to be a piece of intellectual property much like your trademark itself. So, it may be protected by The Lanham Act, which is the primary federal trademark statute of law in the United States.
But such protection is only doable if you properly apply to register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). More specifically, you may send this electronically with the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System. In your application, you may have to prove the following statements as true:
- Your trade dress is inherently distinctive or otherwise has acquired a secondary meaning.
- Your trade dress has a junior use that may create a likelihood of confusion for the average consumer.
What important dates should I keep in mind?
First of all, it is highly recommended that you submit your application to register your trade dress as soon as possible. This is to prevent any infringement accusations from being placed against you. Then, you may expect to receive a response from the USPTO within three months of your submission date.
Though, if any legal issues are flagged in your application, these three months can quickly turn into years of waiting. For example, a delay may occur if the USPTO has suspicions of your proposed trade dress containing an immoral, deceptive, or scandalous design. This is why it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney before finalizing your application.
The first step you must take for your trademark dress is to make a phone call. Without further ado, pick up the phone and contact a competent Missouri trademark attorney from FortmanSpann, LLC today.