How to get a registered trademark for your business
While trademark disputes can be resolved in state (if both parties are in the same state) and federal courts (if the parties are in different states or a federal trademark registration is involved), U.S. businesses register their trademarks with the federal government, specifically, with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. Keep in mind that registration with the USPTO only protects you in the U.S.
You can register a brand name, a trademark you're already using, a trademark you intend to use, or a trademark you have already registered in a foreign country.
The first step in the trademark registration process is searching the USPTO’s trademark database. You need to search for the name you want and also for similar names. Your application can be denied if your proposed brand name is too similar to any already trademarked.
The next step is to submit your trademark application to the USPTO. You'll need the following pieces of information:
- Name under which your company is organized
- Contact address
- Name of your brand and/or a drawing of your trademark
- A thorough description of your trademark (if it's a logo)
- A specific list of the goods and services covered by your trademark, along with their description
- Example of your trademark
- Date of first use
You'll also be responsible for any filing fees.
Your third step is filing your application. You'll need to go through an identity verification process.
Then, you'll file 1 of 2 application forms:
- TEAS Standard allows you to check your products and services from a list of registered products and services.
- TEAS Plus enables you to describe your products and services in more detail.
Your application will be recorded in the system in about a week. This gives legal protection against competing trademarks filed later. However, it can take up to a year to issue you a new trademark. The same steps apply if you're concerned about how to trademark a logo.
Until your trademark has been issued, you can use the trademark symbol. This tells other companies that you have asserted a legal right to your logo and brand name. After the USPTO has officially registered your trademark, you can use the registered trademark symbol, indicating your brand name has been reserved.
Wrapping up: Does your business need a registered trademark?
Does your business need a registered trademark? Absolutely! Registering your trademark is the only way to force brand imitators to cease and desist without a lengthy court battle. Registering your trademark keeps predatory entrepreneurs from claiming your hard work as their own.
Now that you understand trademark symbols and the importance of obtaining a registered trademark, you can move forward with getting one of your business. This way, you can confidently publish social media posts, send email campaigns, and create products with your logo.