A trademark is a symbol, word, name or device that is used to identify the source of a specific product and distinguish it from others. Trademarks prevent your competitors from passing off your product or service as their own without your permission. It is not completely necessary to register your trademark with the federal government, but a federally registered trademark can inform the public about who owns the rights to a product or service. In order to fully register your trademark, you must fill out an application. The information below will explain what is included.
The Actual Application
In order for your trademark application to be accepted, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will expect certain details. Your application should include
- The applicant’s full name
- An address for correspondence
- A drawing or picture of the mark
- A full list of the services or goods that your trademark will cover
- Money to cover the filing fee
If you do not provide federal officials with the details listed above, your application will likely be rejected and your fee will be refunded.
Many trademark applicants prefer to utilize a paper application. In this case, you must include the information listed above in order to meet the minimum filing requirements. Once you do this, the USPTO will assign a serial number to your application and send you a filing receipt. Always review your receipt, and if you notice any errors, notify the USPTO as soon as possible.
Electronically filed applications must contain the same information in order to receive a filing date. At the time of filing, you will receive an e-mail summary along with a serial number. The office does not issue paper receipts for electronic applications, so it is imperative that you retain the summary for your own records. If your application does not include the required information, your serial number and filing date will be canceled immediately.
The Review Process
Once your application arrives at the USPTO, a clerk will examine the materials that you sent and determine whether or not you have submitted all of the requested items. If you did, the USPTO will classify your application according to the goods or services that you are attempting to trademark. After this occurs, many applicants will have to wait up to three months for a decision.
During this waiting period, a federally trained lawyer will be charged with reviewing your application. The examiner will decide whether your trademark is eligible for registration and whether your mark contains any generic words that cannot be trademarked as your own. If he or she notices any inconsistencies, you will be notified so that you can correct the erroneous information. If your application is judged as sufficient, it will be published in the Official Gazette (USPTO’s publication). If no one objects to your use of the trademark, you application will finally be registered once you begin using it.
Once your trademark is published in the Gazette, readers will have the opportunity to object to its use. This is a rare occurrence, and it usually only occurs if another person, business or organization is already employing your trademark. In order to avoid legal penalties, you will need to hire a trademark lawyer when defending your claim or resolving a dispute. If you’re successful, you will be allowed to use your trademark freely.
In short, filing a trademark application is fairly simple, as long as you remain organized and thorough. The key to success is to do your homework. Always be sure that no one else is utilizing the trademark. This will prevent a plethora of problems from occurring later on. You should also be sure to read the application closely and submit all of the required items. Once you do this, you will have no problem federally registering your trademark.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.