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  • Writer's pictureAshley Michelle

Trademark: a Business Necessity

Are you ready to take the next step in protecting your brand? Learn all about the trademark application process and how to make sure you don’t get lost in all the paperwork! Find out what steps are involved, what documents you need and most importantly – how to apply for a trademark with confidence.

Step 1: Choose the right category for your trademark

1. Service marks: identify and distinguish the services of one company from those of another and can be used on things like marketing collateral, websites, and vehicles.

2. Certification marks: indicate that the products or services bearing the mark meet certain standards set by the owner of the mark. (I.e., "CERTIFIED organic" label on food products)

3. Collective marks: used by members of a group or association to identify themselves as such, and can include symbols, logos, or words.

Step 2: Conduct a search on the USPTOs Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).

Not every mark is registrable with the USPTO, nor is every mark legally protectable. This will help you find out if anyone else is using a similar mark.

If your mark is available, move to Step 3. If not, repeat step 2.

Step 3: File your application electronically on the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).

Key things to remember when filing out your application:

  • The owner of the mark is not necessarily the person filing out the form

  • A drawing of your mark is JUST a depiction; a specimen shows how you’ll use the mark for goods and services

  • Correct identification of your goods and services will save you time and money

    • Goods = products

    • Services = Activity

  • Utilize the ID manual provided in the application to select from the list of acceptable goods and services

    • Only select those that you intend to use the mark on

  • Correctly identify your filing basis.

    • Is the mark already used in commerce (1B) or do you intend to use the mark at a later date (1A)?

  • Registration is not instant nor is it guaranteed!! This process can last for months or years and can be costly.

  • Be prepared to pay an application fee

  • If the USPTO approves the application, it is published in the Official Gazette, which gives notice to the public that you have claimed rights to the trademark.

If no one opposes your application within 30 days after publication, you will receive a Notice of Allowance from the USPTO.

If someone does oppose your trademark registration, you will need to defend your trademark by responding to their arguments in writing. The USPTO will then decide whether to grant you registration.

The entire process from start to finish takes over a year, so it is important to be patient and understand that there are many steps involved.

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