How do you trademark a name and logo in the United States? In this article, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step to get your business trademarked in less than an hour. All you need to do is follow these seven simple steps!
1. Determine the type of trademark you need
The first step is to determine if you need a trademark or copyright. A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol or design used by one person on goods that are sold. It is the law’s way of preventing unfair competition from the use of someone else’s mark for their own goods.
The next step is to conduct a trademark search. You can use your company name and logo as keywords at the USPTO website or hire an attorney to do it for you. The results will give you insights into how difficult it would be for you to register your trademark or copyright because they will show other names and logos that are already registered under those keywords.
2. Gather the right information
One of the first steps is to do a trademark search. The USPTO offers a helpful trademark search tool that you can use for free. You can also hire an intellectual property lawyer to do the work for you, which can be expensive but is worth it if you are looking to trademark your name or logo on the global market.
Once you have completed your trademark search, there will be one of three possible results: no conflicting marks found, conflicting marks found but not in conflict with yours, or conflicting marks found and in conflict with yours. If there are no conflicts found, then congratulations! You’re ready to move on to step two: filling out the application form.
3. File your application
You have created your company, assembled your team, and are ready to start branding. The first step of this process is trademarking your name. After you have filed the necessary paperwork with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you can use the federal registration symbol ®, which informs consumers that you hold exclusive rights to the trademarked name. This will help prevent anyone else from using it as well as allow consumers to know that they are purchasing products or services from you.
4. Choose a specimen
In order to trademark a name, you’ll first need to decide what type of mark you would like. You can register your trademark as either an ordinary word mark or one that includes graphic elements such as a logo. If you already have an established logo for your business, then it’s best to register it as an ordinary word mark because you’ll be able to protect both the name and the logo.
If you’re not sure how many colors are used in your company logo, it may be wise for you to register the design with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as opposed to just registering for an ordinary word mark.
5. Get it examined
The first step to take when designing a brand for a new company is to search for whether the name is already trademarked. This will tell you if someone else has already trademarked your name or logo. If they have, you’ll need to come up with something else.
If the name or logo hasn’t been trademarked, it’s time for step two: get it examined. The examining attorney will assess your application and let you know if there are any problems with your proposed mark that would prevent you from getting it registered (common issues include generic names or logos, or marks that are too similar).
The third step is paying the fee for registration – this can vary depending on how many words the mark contains and whether it includes color. There’s also an administrative fee, which goes towards the cost of processing your application.
6. Maintain your mark
To maintain your trademark, you’ll need to periodically file with the USPTO. You can do this online on the EFS-Web system. The process is quick, simple, and only costs $275 per class of goods or services covered by your mark.
There are some exceptions. If you have filed an intent-to-use application for a trademark that covers more than one class of goods or services, you will not be able to file online with EFS-Web until six months after the notice of allowance is issued.
7. Don’t forget about renewal
If you want to make sure your trademark stands up in the long-term, it’s important that you work on renewal. You should file for renewal about six months before your original trademark registration expires. You can also request an extension of time at least 120 days prior to expiration. Just remember that if the USPTO doesn’t receive your renewal application within three months of expiration, you’ll have to start the entire process over again!
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