You can get a trademark registration for the logo, words, slogan, numerals, and more. It offers the owner with the legal right of using the mark exclusivity. Thus, it is used by companies to set their products apart from the rest of the manufacturers out there. When customers spot the trademark, they instantly identify the product and who made. However, registering for a trademark is a long process that includes several steps. Take a look at every step of the process.
You need to decide on a registered trademark as soon as you set up your business. However, prior to doing that consider if you really need it. Generally, it is used by companies that sell or manufacture physical goods and register. At times, the business name is enough for the customers to identify the products or the company. Also, check the rules and statuses related to registration of names to find out if it is allowed. In case it is allowed, you need to move on to the next step of the process.
- Mark Selection
It is obvious that since you are applying for a trademark for your business, you need to choose the mark you are going to use. Believe it or not, this is the most frustrating part of the process. You have to put in a lot of thought while selecting the mark. As a matter of fact, you have to take several things into consideration. The mark you will be chosen should be registerable and for this, you have to ensure that e it isn’t used personally. Meaning, it has to be used in commerce. The second thing that you have to keep in mind is that it needs to be distinctive and should not have been used by someone else.
There are four different types of the mark:
- Fanciful or arbitrary
Also, make sure that you have chosen the one which is strong on its own. Other considerations include:
- The format of the mark which can be design, character, or sound. It can also be a combination.
- Goods and services that this is going to be applied to.
- Securing clearance for the mark that you are going to use for your product or business. This will dismiss the problem of redundancy. Thus, analyzing the trademarks that have already been registered.
- Fill the Application Form
Once you have chosen the mark, you need to identify the process of filing. There are mainly two bases that you will be able to choose from.
- Usage in Commerce
This is for the ones which have been used already or are being used at present. You need to give proof for using the trademark.
- The Intent of Using
These are for the ones which haven’t yet been used but there are plans for using them in future. You are set to prepare the application. The initial application form is available on the USPTO website. Through this website, you can apply for trademark over the internet. However, there is also an option to file on paper including a processing fee of $375. In order to get a filing date, you need to adhere to the requirements when you make the application. There are three application filing options, namely,
- TEAS regular with processing fee $325.
- TEAS plus with processing fee $225.
- TEAS reduced fee with processing fee $275.
However, you need to keep in mind filing the application doesn’t imply that the trademark is going to be registered. In case it is unsuccessful, you are not going to get a refund. Apart from the processing fee, you might have to pay some other fee. You can make this payment through credit card, electronic fund transfer, checks, money orders, or USPTO deposit account.
- Evaluation Period
This step involves examining the application, publishing in the official gazette, and issuing the certificate of registration. Keep in mind that during the period of submission, vigilance is the most important. The application is forward to the attorney who examines it. He/she is going to be responsible for the completion of it and giving the final review. Make sure that you cooperate with the attorney who has been assigned to examine your application. In case the attorney finds out something and refuses to provide you with the registration of the trademark, he is going to issue Office Action. This explains as to why the registration has been rejected. If needed, he/she might get in touch with the applicant directly. This mainly happens when the deficiencies and corrections are minor in nature.
You need to accept the Office Action within 6 months from the date it had been mailed. When you do not take any action, they simply assume that you have given up on the registration. The examination might take several months to a year in order to be complete. However, in most of the cases, it takes 12 months. It takes more time when there are problems like some oppositions to the application or incomplete documents submitted. In case there are oppositions, it will be taken to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. If you are lucky and there are no problems with the application, the examining attorney gives his approval for the mark. This manifested through the publication of USPTO called the Official Gazette. The rightful owner of the mark is then given the certificate of registration. However, to maintain the registration, you will have to file some documents from time to time.