How to get a Trademark
Trademarks are one of the most important pieces of intellectual property that you can own. They tell consumers, clients, and employees, that your product is authentic and that they can expect certain qualities from it. As such, it's not surprising to hear people say things like "I'd like to trademark my brand" or "I'm going to trademark my business name." But what do these statements really mean? And how do you get a trademark? Let's take a look at the process for getting one:
Gather the Necessary Information
You should know the difference between a trademark and a service mark.
A trademark is any word, symbol, or design used by a person or company to identify their goods and distinguish them from those of others.
A service mark is an identifier that distinguishes the services of one business from those of another. For example, if you want to start up your own flower delivery service but don't want your flowers to be confused with other flower delivery services in your area (such as "Florist" or "Flowers & Gifts"), then you might choose to put something distinctive on each box.
Find out if your Mark is Available
The first step in applying for a trademark is to make sure your mark is not already registered by someone else. The USPTO maintains an online database of all federally registered trademarks. You can search the database yourself, or hire an attorney to do so for you. A more thorough search may be conducted by examining each individual package in which your product will ship, as well as searching through every text description of your product on its packaging and website label copy to ensure that no other marks are used on these things that might conflict with yours.
Draft a Good Specification of Goods and Services
A good specification of goods and services is important. You want to make sure that you can prove that you are offering the right things in your trademark application and that someone else is not using a similar mark for similar goods or services. This can be done by specifying all the goods and services you are offering with your trademark, as well as all the goods and services you are not offering with your trademark.
Conduct a Preliminary Search
A preliminary search is a quick way to see if you have a viable trademark. It's especially important for new businesses or brands that are just starting out since it's hard to predict how popular your product will be or whether anyone else has already registered any marks similar to yours.
You'll want to do a preliminary search before filing an application because once you submit an application, the USPTO won't consider any conflicting marks that were found during the search process. This means that if they find multiple conflicting marks while doing the initial search, they'll reject your application based on those conflicts rather than waiting until after it's filed and letting them come up during prosecution (which is after registration).
Hire an Attorney to Conduct a Comprehensive Search
There are two types of trademark searches: a comprehensive search and a preliminary search. The reason for doing both is that the results can be different, and if there's an existing mark out there that you don't know about, it could cause problems further down the road.
If you want to conduct your own search, you can do so by visiting the TESS portal at www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/. You'll be able to enter in your proposed mark along with some information about its use and see if there are any existing marks that are similar (or identical).
File an Application
Your signature is required on all applications, as well as your address and phone number. You may also want to include an email address if you don't already have one listed on your form of identification (driver's license, passport). Make sure that you provide the name of the applicant (you), along with any other information that might be helpful in clarifying who you are and what type of mark this is.
Submit the application.
Once you have completed the application, you will submit it to the USPTO. You can do this by mail or electronically through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). If you choose to file via TEAS rather than sending your application via USPS, there is an additional fee of $225 for using this service.
Once submitted, your trademark will be processed and reviewed by a trademark examiner at the USPTO who will either approve or reject your application. This process can take anywhere from 6-12 months depending on how busy their office is at that time and any other factors that may affect its processing time frame.
By following these steps, you can get a trademark and protect your brand. Once your application is filed, the USPTO will send you a confirmation of receipt letter with their contact information in case there are any questions or issues with their review of your application.
Now that you know how to get a trademark, it’s time for you to decide if you want one. If so, the next step is applying for one and filing the necessary paperwork with the USPTO. If you have any queries, feel free to contact us today.