Idaho State Seal

Idaho Secretary of State
Trademarks & Service Marks

Trademark FAQ's

  The acceptance of a trademark or service mark for registration by the Office of the Secretary of State provides the owner with a right to use the mark in the State of Idaho on the goods and services identified in the registration application. However, the Office of the Secretary of State does not search other state or federal registrations, Internet domain names or other common law (unregistered users). Therefore, right granted by the state registration may be affected or preempted by prior use or other registration of the mark.

Registering a business name with the Secretary of State Business Entity section does not provide automatic protection against another’s use of such a business name. Further registration or clearance may be necessary to provide added means of protection.

WHAT IS A TRADEMARK / SERVICE MARK?

A word, name, symbol or device or any combination thereof used by a person, company or partnership to identify and distinguish services or goods, including a unique product or service.

WHAT IS A CERTIFICATION MARK?

As defined by Section 48-501(3), Idaho Code:

"Certification mark" shall mean any word, name, symbol or device or any combination thereof: (a) used by a person other than its owner, or (b) which its owner has a bona fide intention to permit a person other than the owner to use in commerce and files an application to register on the principal register established by this chapter to certify regional or other origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy or other characteristics of such person's goods or services or that the work or labor on the goods or services was performed by members of a union or other organization.

WHAT IS A COLLECTIVE MARK?

As defined by Section 48-501(4), Idaho Code:

"Collective mark" shall mean a trademark or service mark: (a) used by the members of a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization; or (b) which such cooperative association or other collective group or organization has a bona fide intention to use in commerce and applies to register on the principal register established by this chapter, and includes marks indicating membership in a union, an association or other organization.

WHAT IS THE DURATION OF REGISTRATION?

Ten (10) years. Registrations are renewable.

HOW DO I REGISTER A MARK?

You must first use the trademark or service mark in commerce before you register it with the Secretary of State's Trademark section. There is no prescribed length of time that the mark must be used in Idaho before you can register it. You must be currently using the mark in order to register it. Registration is accomplished by filing a completed Application for Trademark or Service Mark Registration along with one (1) specimen of the mark as used in commerce along with the $30.00 filing fee per class code.

It is not necessary to have an attorney file your application, but we strongly encourage you to seek competent legal counsel of your own choice if you have any questions or concerns about registering your trademark.

HOW MANY MARKS OR CLASSES CAN BE REGISTERED PER APPLICATION?

Only one mark may be filed per application, however, you may designate as many class codes as you wish on the application. The fee for filing is based on the number of class codes indicated.

CAN A TRADEMARK OR SERVICE MARK BE RESERVED BEFORE USING IT?

No. A mark must be in use prior to filing with the Secretary of State.

DOES A SPECIMEN OF THE MARK NEED TO BE SUBMITTED ALONG WITH THE APPLICATION?

Yes. One (1) specimen as used in commerce must be submitted along with the application and fee.

WHAT CAN NOT BE REGISTERED AS A TRADEMARK OR SERVICE MARK?

The requirements for registerability are contained in 48-502, Idaho Code. The code section specifically addresses what cannot be registered.

DOES REGISTRATION WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE PREVENT OTHERS FROM REGISTERING THE SAME OR SIMILAR MARK IN OTHER STATES?

No. Registration of your mark in our office only applies to the State of Idaho. You should consult with a trademark attorney to determine whether additional state and/or federal registrations are needed.

DO I NEED TO REGISTER MY MARK WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?

You do not need to federally register your mark in order to apply for mark registration in Idaho, nor does registering for mark protection with the State of Idaho obligate you to also file for mark protection with the federal government.

You are encouraged to consult a trademark attorney of your choice if you are unsure whether you need to register your mark at the federal level.

You can visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office web site at www.uspto.gov/ .

DOES YOUR OFFICE SEARCH THE FEDERAL REGISTER WHEN CHECKING ON THE AVAILABILITY OF MARKS?

No. Our office does not search the records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office for Federal Registrations. You may visit their web site at www.uspto.gov/ to do a federal search online.

DOES YOUR OFFICE FILE COPYRIGHTS?

No. Copyrights are registered federally in the United States Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. Their phone number is (202) 707-3000 or you can visit their web site at www.lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TRADENAME AND A TRADEMARK?

A tradename (also know as an assumed name or "doing business as") is the name an owner uses to identify his or her business. These filings are recorded with the Secretary of State’s Business Entity section.

A trademark is used to identify the goods and products that an individual or business offers to the public. These filings are registered with the Secretary of State’s Trademark section.

WHAT DO THE DESIGNATIONS "TM", "SM" AND MEAN?

The "TM" and "SM" designates that a person claims rights in a trademark or service mark. They do not mean that a mark has been registered with the state. A person or entity that claims ownership right to a trademark or service mark may place these designations next to it even though the mark is not registered. The designates that a mark has a federal registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

CAN I FAX A COPY OF THE APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION?

A fax is acceptable only if the mark to be filed does not designate color. You must have a prepaid account with our office or pay by credit card. You can fax your application and specimen along with a cover letter indicating your prepaid account number or, if paying by credit card, our credit card transmittal form.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF REGISTERING A TRADEMARK OR SERVICE MARK IN USE IN IDAHO?

The primary benefit of registering a trademark or service mark with the Secretary of State is to give public notice of a person’s claim of ownership of the trademark or service mark.

DOES THE STATE OF IDAHO REGISTER PATENTS?

No. Patents are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office of the Department of Commerce. The phone number for that office is (800) 786-9199. www.uspto.gov/.

WILL THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE TAKE ACTION AGAINST A PERSON USING A MARK CONFUSINGLY SIMILAR TO A MARK ALREADY REGISTERED TO ANOTHER?

No. The Office of the Secretary of State does not have legal jurisdiction to resolve conflicts regarding mark ownership. You would consult private legal counsel if you believe another person or entity has infringed on your mark.

DOES A FEDERAL TRADEMARK OR SERVICE MARK SUPERSEDE A FILING AT THE STATE LEVEL?

There are many factors to be considered and you would need to consult private legal counsel for an answer specific to your circumstance.

DOES REGISTERING A TRADEMARK OR SERVICE MARK GIVE EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO THE MARK?

Registration in and of itself does not guarantee exclusive ownership of a mark. You would need to consult private legal counsel for an answer specific to your circumstance.


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