You’ve seen all these pictures of the US flag, but how do you know which one is your international trademark?
The answer lies in a simple question: Is the flag your trademark?
You can’t be certain.
“International trademark registration is a very subjective process that is usually done in a closed setting, so it’s hard to find out what the person in question owns,” says Amit Cohen, who runs the online trademark database, Trademark Explorer.
The key, Cohen says, is to look for the following elements: name, symbol, country of origin, design, purpose and mark.
“If you can find those elements, you’re good to go,” Cohen says.
But he cautions that it’s impossible to say definitively whether a mark is your own, and also that if you find a mark you don’t own, you’ll have to check whether it is registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
You can also ask if there’s any other information that might help.
“There are so many different pieces of information that can be put together to answer the question, so we’re constantly looking for new and creative ways to get our questions answered,” Cohen adds.
You’ll need a computer to do this, so you’ll need to use the trademark database.
If you’re a webmaster, the easiest way to do it is to use Google.
But there are also plenty of other sites, including the U.K.-based trademark watchdog group, Trademarks Australia.
But the USPTO is a bit more flexible, so if you’re looking for a website to look up your international mark, look at the US Government’s website instead.
“They have a lot of information about the countries and countries that you can search for, and if you go to their site, you can see all the different countries that have registered trademarks for the U, U.S., or Canada,” says Cohen.
If your mark isn’t listed, you should check the USG website for any other clues about the company that owns it.
And don’t forget to ask if the company is affiliated with the United States or Canada.
“You don’t want to go in and say, ‘Oh, my goodness, the U of A owns this trademark.’
It’s not the right thing to do.
The right thing would be, ‘I’m a Canadian citizen, and I own this trademark,’ ” says Cohen, noting that there are still questions about where the US’s trademark actually came from.
If all else fails, the next step is to apply for a trademark.
“Then you can go back and see if the US has registered the mark in any other country, and the answer is probably no,” Cohen cautions.
“So you should go through and do that as well.”
If you have a question about your US mark, don’t hesitate to call Trademark Enforcement Specialist Jeff Tewes at Trademark Solutions, or go to TrademarkInfo.com to get an online form to fill out.
“In the U.”
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