Also, can you claim a trademark with the USTPO if you wanted to use part of an already well-known name, such as "virgin publishing" since i can't seem to find that term inside the TESS system? will the virgin group go after me?

I'm afraid there aren't any yes or no answers to your questions. The USPTO doesn't allow people to claim a trademark like the domain name allocation system does. Instead, the USPTO will examine your trademark application to see if the mark appears to meet the basic criteria for being a trademark and whether the mark would cause a "likelihood of confusion" with a prior registered (or applied for) trademark. If you are attempting to register a word or phrase that is the same or similar to an existing mark, the likelihood of confusion analysis looks to other factors such as what products or services each mark is used with. For instance, the word "Delta" is registered as a mark by two separate companies because the products/services are very different (airline vs. faucets).

The same likelihood of confusion analysis applies to whether your trademark might infringe someone else's existing trademark and whether you might get sued. Keep in mind too that a trademark doesn't have to be registered with the USPTO to be a valid trademark. In fact, you have to actually use a trademark in connection with the sale of products or services before you can register the trademark with the USPTO.

I'd suggest reading some of the basic information about trademark law on the USPTO site to get a better handle on things before going any further. You can start here: Another good resource on basic trademark law is Nolo: Ultimately you'll be much better off hiring a trademark lawyer to help you, but these resources will at least get you in the right ballpark.

Hope this helps somewhat. Good luck!

Answered 5 years ago

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