Good question. I’ve been asking the same thing myself. There are two types of registers for trademarks at the USPTO: a principal register; and a supplemental register. You might not even know it when you are applying for a trademark registration but most likely, you are applying for registration in the principal register. When you register your trademark in the principal register, you receive several benefits such as: the right to sue in a federal court; the right to use the “R” symbol; presumption of validity of your trademark; and gaining incontestability under Section 15 (5 years after registration).
One of the most common questions that I receive is “Can I go forward with filing a patent application or am I already infringing on existing patents?” This is sort of a tricky question because the client is really asking for two different things: a patentability analysis and an infringement analysis.
The standard for patentability is very different from the standard for infringement, so you need to conduct two separate analyses to fully answer questions like the one above.
I filed a PCT application in February (seems like forever ago) and I received a search report back from the International Searching Authority (ISA) a couple of days ago. Since PCT applications are not all that common, I thought it would be nice to talk about PCT applications a little bit and what this search report entails.
As you may remember, there is no such thing as an "international patent application" but there is this thing called PCT application, which is pretty much the next best thing. Preparing a PCT application is pretty much the same as preparing your regular nonprovisional utility patent application, meaning you prepare the specification, claims, abstract, and drawings. Preparing the administrative forms is where it gets a little bit complicated.
You have to download this program called PCT-SAFE-FM. I think it's worth noting that using a PC is recommended if that is feasible. I normally use a Mac but I have a PC that I use for all the stuff that my Mac does not like doing. Anyways, once you complete all your forms, submit it through the USPTO (by designating US as the receiving office), and pay a ridiculous fee, you wait around for several months.