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United States trademark law

In the United States, trademarks[?] are protected by common law, state law, and the federal Lanham Act 15 USC 1051 - 1127, administered by the US Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO").

A person or business entity acquires rights in a trademark either by using it in the normal course of business (for example on a tag or label for merchandise being sold to the public) or by filing an application for registration of the mark in the USPTO. An application for registration may be based upon actual use in commerce or upon a bona fide intent to use (ITU). An ITU application will not become a registration until documents evidencing actual use of the mark in commerce that may be lawfully regulated by the U.S. Congress is submitted to the USPTO.

An individual may represent himself before the USPTO in attempting to register a trademark. However, there are many pitfalls that can trap someone who is not experienced in trademark prosecution matters. An experienced attorney who specializes in trademark registrations typically will charge $800.00 to $1500.00 for preparing and filing an application for trademark registration. If the application is initially rejected because the mark is deemed descriptive or generic, then there will be additional fees for attempting to overcome such rejections.

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