Filing for a Trademark or Trade Name in Arizona
November 25, 2020
Filing for a Trademark or Trade Name in Arizona
Trademarks and trade names are similar but not the same. According to the Arizona Secretary of State, filing for a trademark (also called a service mark) in Arizona publicly registers a logo, symbol, or slogan that you want to display on goods or services you intend to sell.
In contrast, filing for a trade name – which is similar to a “doing business as” (DBA) name – publicly registers a business name. Filing for a trade name does not guarantee exclusive rights to that name and is not the same as filing for a corporation or limited liability company (LLC), which must be done with the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Note that trademark and trade name filings in Arizona only apply in the state. Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) 44-1441-56 et seq are the governing statutes. Even if you currently plan to operate under your brand name only in Arizona, strongly consider filing for a trademark or trade name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as well for broader protections.
Although you are not legally required to file for a trademark or trade name in Arizona, there are several good reasons to do so. Among other things, these filings help:
– Place other businesses on notice that a trademark or trade name is taken
– Defend against unfair competition, such as deceptive advertising
– Identify your business and prevent confusion with another company
– Drive internet traffic to your company’s website
Trademarks do not expire as long as they are maintained, and they can become valuable business assets over time. To file for a trademark or trade name in Arizona, take the following steps.
1) Make Sure Your trademark or Trade Name is Unique
You can search a trade and business name database that is shared by the Arizona Corporations Commission and the Arizona Secretary of State to make sure no one else has taken a name. The Arizona Secretary of State “strongly suggests” that people “perform extensive, independent research” before registering a trademark or trade name to avoid a lawsuit for trademark infringement. The Secretary of State offers the following tips when searching the database:
– Search for the root of a word. For example, if you want to add “professional” to your trade name, search for “pro.”
– Remove plural references.
– Do not include a corporate designation (e.g. LLC), which cannot be part of a trade name.
– Most punctuation, some short words like “an” or “the,” and lower vs. upper case do not count toward the uniqueness of a trademark or trade name.
Domain names cannot be registered, and your trademark or trade name cannot look like that of a government agency. There are additional rules for certain other types of businesses such as mortgage companies.
2) File the Appropriate Forms Online
The Arizona Secretary of State has an online portal where you can search for trademark and trade names, as well as access the online forms you will need to register a trademark or trade name. Follow the instructions carefully, including providing company information and an image and complete description of a trademark.
After you file, expect to wait two to three weeks for your application to be evaluated. You may ask for an expedited evaluation for an additional fee. If your trademark or trade name is approved by the Secretary of State, you will have to pay a small registration fee. Payment can be made by credit or debit card, check, or money order. There is no fee if the trademark or trade name is rejected.
3) Maintain your Trademark or Trade Name
You must renew a trademark registration every 10 years and a trade name registration every five years. Do not wait until your registration is close to expiring, but rather take advantage of the renewal window that begins six months prior to the expiration date.
If a trademark or trade name expires, you will have to file a new application, and someone could register that same trademark or trade name in the meantime. The renewal form should include the original trademark or trade name, along with the owner’s name and other pertinent information about the business.
4) Amend or Cancel your Trademark or Trade Name as Needed
The Secretary of State’s online portal has a form for amending or canceling a trademark or trade name. This could be necessary if, for example, the owner of a business legally changes their name; a business no longer operates in the same industry; or the contact information (email address, physical address, or phone number) associated with the trademark or trade name changes.
Trademarks and trade names also can be assigned to someone else using a different form. All of these forms must be printed, filled out, notarized, and mailed to the Secretary of State.
Contact Counxel Legal Firm
If you have a growing business that operates across state lines, it is particularly important to speak to an attorney about your trademark or trade name. This is because complex interstate commerce issues can arise, such as a company in another state registering your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice for your specific situation. Use of and access to this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Counxel Legal Firm. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-536-6122 to request specific information for your situation.
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