How to Trademark a Name
Trademark is a type of intellectual property that can be used to protect the name and logo of your business. Trademark registration can help you establish your brand, prevent others from using your name or logo on similar products, and prevent unauthorized use of your mark.
State, Federal, and Common law.
Trademark law is a complex area of law. The first thing you should know is that there are three types of trademark protection: state, federal and common law. While each type of trademark provides legal protection for your business name, they have different benefits and limitations.
A state trademark applies only within the limits of that particular state and must be registered with the state government. For example, Apple has a number of active state trademarks in addition to its federal trademarks and common law marks across all 50 states (and several others).
A federal trademark protects your business name against infringement nationwide through registration with U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Commonly called an “R” or “TM” symbol next to a word or phrase that indicates exclusive rights over use by one party for goods or services associated with said party's brand identity.
Conduct a Trademark Search
Your trademark search should be conducted by an experienced attorney or an accredited trademark professional. Conducting a comprehensive and accurate trademark search is essential to protecting your brand name, logo, and other business identifiers. The USPTO's online database provides free access to pre-existing federal trademarks but not state trademarks or common law marks (i.e., those not registered with the USPTO).
When conducting your own search, you can use either of these databases:
- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's TESS system (Trademark Electronic Search System) at https://tess2.uspto.gov/default.aspx?page=advSearch&advSearchKeyword=+AND+. This database searches for exact matches only (so it will not pick up variations such as misspellings of your brand name).
Draft your Application
The next step is to draft your application. You should make sure that the application is drafted in such a way that it is easy for the examiner to understand. The application should also be drafted in a manner that makes it easy for other parties involved in the process, such as attorneys or representatives of foreign applicants, to understand. It’s important that you are able to clearly explain what you want by filing an application and avoid any confusion or ambiguity when filing with USPTO.
Prepare the Application Materials
You must be sure to prepare the application materials properly. A trademark application is a legal document, which means that it must be filed on the correct form and include all appropriate information. The application must include:
- A description of the mark and its proposed use, in great detail and as precise as possible (this may require an attorney’s help).
- A specimen of the mark in use (preferably an image or a photo).
- A declaration of ownership.
Submit your trademark application.
Once you've completed the above steps, it's time to submit your trademark application. The USPTO recommends that you send in your application via mail or through their electronic filing system (EFS). From there, they will review your application and issue a notice of approval if they find no errors or problems with it.
Trademarks can expand to multiple types of intellectual property, depending on its usage and context in different cases. An example of trademark expansion is where a trademark has been used as a brand name for certain types of goods or services, it may be possible for the owner to expand their rights over that brand name by claiming copyright.
The above steps are the basic and primary steps required to get a trademark. A trademark is a valuable asset of any business, which will help it in generating profits by protecting its products from being copied by others. Therefore, it is important to understand everything about this process before filing an application.