Trademark Attorney in Gainesville, Florida

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Trademarks explained

What is a trademark?

Trademarks protect the names and identifying marks of products, services, and companies. They represent highly valuable assets of a person or company. Further, a trademark may protect a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. Examples of potential trademarks would be a business logo, symbol, name, or slogan. Some notable examples of trademarks include the McDonald’s double arches, the logo on an Apple computer, Nike’s slogan “Just Do It”, and even the shape of a Coca Cola bottle.

It is imperative that a person protects his or her intellectual property rights through proactive and preventative measures provided by law. When an intellectual property owner’s rights are violated, it is important to hire a competent intellectual property lawyer to advise an owner of his or her rights and to strategically create a plan of action.

Gainesville, Florida, intellectual property attorney, Richard Knellinger is knowledgeable about trademarks and different areas of intellectual property. In addition, our legal professionals will make sure that you understand your legal rights as the trademark owner and how to properly use and maintain your trademark.

Do I need a trademark? Does my business need a trademark?

Not every mark must or can be registered.1 Common law trademark rights are judicially created rights governed by state law that exist independent of state and federal statutes.2 Under common law, a trademark owner has protection once he or she begins to use the mark in commerce to indicate the source of goods or services as long as the mark qualifies for trademark protection and does not infringe on the existing state and federal trademarks of another.3 However, federal registration provides significant advantages to an owner of a mark.4

Common law protection

  • New and novel trademarks are automatically assumed once a business/person begins using a certain mark in commerce to identify its company, product, or service.
  • They may not put others on notice about an owner’s rights to a mark.
  • They may not adequately establish ownership when a mark owner attempts to defend his or her rights to a mark.5

Federal registration protection

  • Provides notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark,
  • Creates a legal presumption of ownership for the registrant nationwide, and
  • Affords the registrant the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services.6

How long does a trademark last?

A trademark can last forever, as long as the trademark owner continues to use the mark in commerce to indicate the sources of goods and services.7 A federally registered trademark must be renewed every 10 years.8

Why do I need an attorney?

Initial registration

  • It is highly recommended that a mark owner federally register his or her trademark. Although it may seem unnecessary due to common law protection, a registered trademark provides additional protection which may be necessary to successfully defend an owner’s trademark against potential infringement.

Enforcement of rights

  • When someone else uses an owner’s mark or a substantially similar mark, it is in a mark owner’s best interest to enforce any and all rights he or she may have against the potential infringer. If a mark owner does not enforce his or her rights, the mark owner may lose those rights due to the non-policing of such rights.9

Abandonment claims

  • A mark owner may lose his or her rights when the mark is no longer used in commerce and/or the owner does not intend to use the mark again.10


  • A mark owner should understand the importance of using his or her mark distinctively as a source identifier. Failure to use the mark in appropriate ways or to defend against others who may use an owner’s mark in a generic sense as to dilute its distinctively identifiable characteristics may lead to the loss of trademark protection under the law.11 Companies with trademarks such as KLEENEXTM and SCOTCH TAPETM vigorously assert the distinction between their products and similar products of their competition.

Our intellectual property lawyer, Richard Knellinger at the law office of Knellinger & Associates, in Gainesville, Florida can help you protect your trademark. Call our Gainesville, Florida law office to schedule an appointment to find out how we can help you with your trademark.

1. United States Patent and Trademark Office, Protecting Your Trademark: Enhancing Your Rights Through Federal Registration, available at
2. Id.
3. Id.
4. Id.
4. Id.
5. Id.
6. Id.
7. Id.
8. Id.
9. Id.
10. Id.
11. Id.

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The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates provides legal advice and representation for individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners in Gainesville, Florida, and communities throughout north central Florida, including cities such as Ocala, Starke, Palatka, Lake City, Middleburg, Trenton, Bronson, Lake Butler, Cross City, Williston, Chiefland, Alachua, Jasper, Live Oak, and Jacksonville, Florida.

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