You know you have a solid and effective trademark or service mark. That is why you must register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), making sure no one else or no other company can use it. Yes, it is possible for business owners to rely on a trademark or service mark without registering it, but the businesses that do so are taking an unnecessary risk.
There are many benefits to registering a trademark or service mark. A registration declares your ownership claim. It also provides support to your claim of ownership if faced with a legal challenge. Finally, a U.S. registration can serve as a steppingstone to gain registration in additional countries.
Search, file online and provide an example
Here are the steps to take when registering a trademark:
- Thoroughly review trademark records. Before applying, search the USPTO’s trademark data base to make sure no one else is using it. Go to the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
- Choose the correct category that fits your trademark. Remember, your application will be rejected upon registering a trademark that currently exists or doesn’t fit the category.
- File your trademark online. Do so here.
- Make sure to register your trademark internationally.
- Pay registration fee. Different types of applications exist with different fee ranges.
- Provide an example of the trademark. This must be in included with the registration.
Remember that an approval may take several months. Once OK’d, the registration lasts 10 years. When that deadline arrives, you are required to renew the application. Because of the complications related to trademark applications, it is a good idea to seek advice from a skilled intellectual property attorney.