How do you go about registering a trademark for your company?
Businesses must differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Catchy names and memorable logos are beneficial in ensuring that people notice your company’s goods or services in comparison to those of rivals. Trademarks are becoming more significant in the Internet age, as enterprises compete for business across the country by promoting items online. What is the objective of federal trademark registration, and how does one go about doing so?
Benefits of Federal Registration
It is important to note that trademark registration is not necessary. Simply by utilizing your mark, whether a name or a logo, in commerce within your community, you may get “common law” trademark rights. In other words, if you create a bakery named “Thelma’s Tasty Treats” and put that name on signs and packaging, that name will be “yours” within that local geographic area without official registration.
You may, however, register your mark on a federal level. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the federal office in responsibility of trademark issuance and maintenance. Registration is, indeed, a fairly bureaucratic procedure with minimal costs, paperwork, and inconvenience. However, there are several advantages to federal registration.
For starters, registration helps your company to frighten away competition. Your mark will be placed on the USPTO’s trademark registry, which will appear when others search for available marks. You will also be able to utilize the ® sign. Between the registration listing and the ®, you are likely to deter firms from attempting to infringe on your trademark since they will see that you are engaged in your legal rights.
Second, your mark will be presumed to be valid nationally, rather than simply in your local geographic region. This is especially beneficial for firms looking to grow or offer their products or services online. It also gives some legal protection if you are faced with international counterfeit imports, enabling a judge to enforce certain border controls.
Third, trademark registration may increase the likelihood of a successful trademark infringement litigation. Not only is your mark presumed to be legitimate (moving the burden of proof to the defendant), but you are also entitled to specific damages if you triumph in court against the defendant.
Registration System of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
In most cases, the USPTO makes trademark registration quite self-explanatory. Indeed, the agency’s thorough registration roadmap will assist you. While there are other “sub-steps” to the procedure, the following are the most important and fundamental ones when filing for a trademark:
Make a decision on the mark itself. This is no easy chore; after you’ve decided on a brand and invested in marketing, you won’t want to alter it. So think twice before submitting! Hold a small focus group and get input from friends and relatives.
Conduct a search for similar markings. You may do this yourself using the USPTO database, or you can pay a professional business or an attorney to do it for you.
On the USPTO website, fill out the trademark application. The forms themselves are very self-explanatory. You will include your name, contact information, and a description of your mark. You must also include specific filing costs with your application. These are usually just a few hundred dollars, however the cost will rise if you want to register a picture as well as a word mark.
You will most likely hear from the USPTO three months after submitting your application. The reviewing attorney will write to you to let you know whether your application fulfills specific legal standards or if you need to make changes. For example, the attorney will advise you if your desired mark has already been selected or if your application missing needed information.
However, if your registration is challenged, things may become a lot more difficult. For example, if you seek to register your mark but another firm objects, saying that the likeness to its mark would mislead customers, you may face legal action (sometimes known as trademark prosecution). In most cases, though, you may avoid these confrontations by doing thorough study before attempting to register a mark.