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Registering a Trade Dress

Charles Internicola

by Charles Internicola
National Business and Franchise Lawyer

Date: 11/24/2010 | Category: Start a Franchise | No comments

Registering a Trade Dress

How to Begin the Process

Trade dress is the unique design of the packaging that is used on your business products. This is intellectually property‚ which can be federally registered the same as a patent or a trademark. To federally register your trade dress‚ and protect it against dilution or infringement‚ you can submit your application with the United States Patent and Trademark office (USPTO).

To register your trade dress‚ you can submit your application electronically with USPTO's Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). This can be done remotely via the USPTO website. If your trade dress application is accepted by the USPTO‚ you should receive a response within 3 months from the date of application.

However‚ depending on legal issues that may arise during the application process‚ it may take anywhere from 1 year to several years to federally register a trade dress. Issues that may arise include: 

  • that the proposed trade dress contains an immoral‚ deceptive‚ or scandalous design; or
  • that the proposed trade dress resembles a trade dress that is already registered by the USPTO‚ and therefore is likely to cause confusion or deception. 

Therefore‚ before you register your trade dress with the USPTO‚ you should consult with an attorney. A franchise attorney can review your trade dress design‚ and conduct a search of trade dresses that have already been federally registered. This can help you avoid making costly trade dress mistakes.

Contacting a Franchise Lawyer

If you are an entrepreneur who is interested in franchising your business there is a lot you need to know‚ including the significance of evaluating your trademark and how to approach the preparation of your FDD. Charles N. Internicola‚ Esq's book‚ "The Franchise Formula: A Guide for Franchising Your Business in the New Economy" can help you understand franchising to help you determine whether or not your business is right for franchising. Contact us at 1-800-976-4904 for more information about Mr. Internicola's franchise law services and how he assists entrepreneurs franchise their business nationwide.

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