The easiest example for trademarks comes from our own name and logo: SHEWCHUK IP SERVICES.
Prior to use, we searched pending and registered marks as well as on the internet. No third party was using Shewchuk IP Services or a similar mark. We also checked and verified that the www.shewchukip.com domain name was available.
We began use of Shewchuk IP Services and logo on December 2, 2003. Our printing costs and advertising costs upon start-up were minimal, so we did not file for an intent-to-use based application prior to use. Instead, we took the risk, and, if someone objected to our use, we would consider our options at that time.
We acquired the www.shewchukip.com domain name a few months later, on February 16, 2004, even though we were too busy with other start-up details to even think about the content of the eventual website. We didn't want someone else to snap up www.shewchukip.com while we were looking the other way and then try to make money off us by holding it for ransom.
We felt that the logo was both original enough and potentially useful with enough other names (i.e., something other than "Shewchuk") to warrant registration. We filed federal trademark application no. 78/401,482 on April 14, 2004. Though the mark is commonly presented in maroon and black colors, we knew that colorings for marks frequently change (and in fact did change on this website when we saw how difficult it is to distinguish between maroon and black in small items on a webpage). So, we filed the application all in black coloring so as to be equally applicable to all color renderings. The application notes that the logo is both a representation of the letters S IP S and the characters "IP" in the center of a section symbol. The application proceeded through examination with a minor Examiner's amendment, and published on February 15, 2005.
The name SHEWCHUK IP SERVICES is unusual enough that we thought it highly unlikely that a third party would adopt the same or similar name. However, as goodwill in the name and the marketing investment grows, registering the service mark becomes more important. We'll probably apply for registration of SHEWCHUK IP SERVICES at around the first of the year.
If you'd like to see information about the numerous trademark applications we've filed for clients, go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website and do a "free form" search on the term "SHEWCHUK".