Over 7 months ago I started the trademark process for "Stylish Blooms. It has been a long process full of ups and downs. Mid process I was told by the USPTO examiner that I wasn’t a flower shop and there for I couldn’t trademark “Stylish Blooms” as one. This news actually made me cry because there was no other category that "Stylish Blooms" fit into and protecting my name from others using it was one of the reasons why I applied for the trademark. The fact is I do everything a flower shop does except I do not have a retail location . After many months of paper work the trademark for "Stylish Blooms" was approved and then finally published for opposition.
Now that I am past all the legality of the trademark and the opposition period, all I have to do is wait 12 weeks for the registration papers and then, and only then, can I start using the ® symbol. I couldn’t be more excited about this!
After the time and money it took to actually get my trademark application to this point I take the ® symbol seriously and I think others businesses should as too. I see more and more businesses using the ® symbol without ever filing for a registration. Its easy to go to the USPTO website and search for any registered trademarks.
Any business can use the ™, ℠ or even the © symbol with out filling for a federal registration, these symbols are also known as common law trademark. The ® symbol can only be used after filing for and then receiving official registration papers from the government. Unlike a registered trademark (®), a common law trademark (™) or service mark (℠) hold little protection in court. The only way to really protect your intelectual property is by registering each mark you want to protect from copyright with the USPTO.
I am in no way claiming to be an expert with federal trademark registrations, I just know from this experience what symbols can and cannot be used and how they can be used in commerce. I just want others to take the ® symbol as serious as I do. I know how difficult the process is to obtain the right to use the ® symbol and it isn’t something that comes easily. Even after all this I still am not authorized to use the ® symbol. I have to wait for the paper from the USPTO office that says I can.