Do you have a brand name or logo you want to protect?
Here’s a guide to help you register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
There are three types of mark formats that can be used for trademarks: standard character marks, design mark, or stylized mark. Design mark format is like a logo, standard character mark is like a font, and stylized mark is like a jazzed up font.
The most important thing to do before picking a trademark is to do a trademark search. You can do a trademark search at www.uspto.gov/trademarks. This shows you trademarks that are already registered and helps you prevent yourself from coming up with one that is confusing or similar to other trademarks.
Also, most trademark applicants hire an attorney because it becomes complex. The application process often requires legal advice. Attorneys can help you do a comprehensive search of trademarks before you do your application.
Federal registration of your trademark is not required, and common law rights can be obtained; however, owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides a number of significant advantages. This includes the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court, the right to use the symbol ™, listing in the USPTO’s databases, and others.
You can file over the internet at http://www.uspto.gov/teas and the three electronic filing options discussed above are available through this link.
All applications are assigned a filing date. The information required in the application is:
- owner of the mark (applicant);
- name and address;
- depiction of the mark (drawing);
- application filing fee;
- basis for filing;
- specimen for use-based applications;
- and finally: your signature.
Basis for filing is either use-in-commerce or intent-to-use. “Use-in-commerce” means you are using the mark in the sale of goods or services, and “intent-to-use” means you plan to in the future.
A specimen is a sample of how you actually use the mark as it appears on the goods. According to USPTO, invoices, announcements, order forms, leaflets, brochures, publicity releases, letterhead, and business cards generally are not acceptable specimens for goods.
About three months from the date your application is filed, the application is assigned to an examining attorney to determine whether federal law permits registration.
From there, it will move further in the process of getting published.
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