The trademark registration process is complex and can frustrate those who attempt it. Each step requires detailed attention, since missteps can cause considerable setbacks. Businesses armed with information about the trademark process can navigate it more safely, right from the start.
Unfortunately, the web is full of misleading and sometimes completely false trademark information. This section of SecureYourTrademark.com will guide you through the trademark process. I start with a broad look at what trademarks accomplish and why businesses need them. From there I will show you everything you need to know about the trademark registration process, so you will be more prepared when it comes time to file your trademark application.
Given the many steps necessary to obtain a federal trademark registration, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recommends hiring a trademark attorney to guide you through the process. A skilled attorney can:
- Perform a comprehensive trademark search to ensure that your mark does not infringe on any existing marks
- Register your trademark by filing a complete application with the USPTO
- Help you respond to any Office Actions the USPTO issues
- Provide trademark protection services once you have a federal trademark registration
Even before you contact a trademark attorney, you can prepare yourself with valuable trademark information. The more you know beforehand, the smoother your trademark registration process can be.
General Trademark Information
For an overview of trademarks, you can start with these general treatments:
|Trademark Resources||Trademark Basics||Trademark FAQ|
What is a Trademark?
Understanding the nature of trademarks is the first step to filing a strong trademark application. In this section you will learn about:
With this knowledge in hand, you can understand whether you are using, or plan to use, a strong mark. That will make the rest of the process much smoother.
Looking for some basic information about trademarks? In this section we take a look at trademark issues that affect every business. If you browse one section of the site, make it this one. Here you will learn:
- How to register a trademark in 4 steps
- Mistakes to avoid when registering a trademark
- How you can lose your trademark
Before You File a Trademark Application
“Fortune favors the prepared mind,” said Louis Pasteur. Good fortune with the USPTO means preparing before you file a trademark application. The more work you put in, the less chance you face of encountering an obstacle in your path. In this section you will learn about:
- Trademark research
- Whether you should hire a trademark attorney
- A trademark registration checklist that will make your experience much less frustrating
Only after you’ve prepared should you move onto the trademark application. Filing a trademark application without understanding the nature of trademarks, and without preparing for your application, can lead to many problems. The USPTO scrutinizes every application, and one mistake can lead to long delays in trademark registration.
The Trademark Application Process
The trademark application is not just a form, but a process. Filling out the form is just the first step along the way — and as we saw in previous sections, there are preparatory steps to take before it. In this section you will learn all about the trademark application process, including:
- What is on the US trademark application form
- What happens after you file your trademark application
- Problems you can encounter after filing, such as abandoned applications and Office Actions
In this section you will also learn how to protect your registered trademark, which is perhaps the most important part of the process.
Common Trademark Questions
While the above sections cover a large array of trademark issues, clients always have further questions. As they should. Trademarks affect businesses in many different ways. Applicants should ask as many questions as possible so that they understand their situation more completely. This section covers some of the most common questions clients ask, including:
- Do you need to trademark your business name?
- Should you file a trademark application for a product that is not market-ready?
- How long does it take to get a trademark?
This section contains answers to and commentary about many more common questions regarding businesses and trademarks. If at any time you are unclear about some aspect of the trademark registration process, chances are you can find an answer here.
What Can You Trademark?
Oftentimes when clients ask questions, they want to know whether they can trademark something. Sometimes there are simple and easy answers to these questions. Other times the question requires a longer treatment. In this section I provide information about what you can trademark.
This section contains answers to dozens of questions about what you can and cannot trademark. Chances are if you’re wondering, you can find the answer here.
New trademark information appears every day. New companies file trademark applications, and other companies contest those applications. There is also a wealth of knowledge to share. On the SecureYourTrademark.com blog, I provide updates about prominent trademark cases and expand the breadth of knowledge available here on the site. On the blog you can read more about:
Links for Further Reading
In addition to the blog, there are also a number of interesting facts and cases that are worth highlighting.
- Preventing Plagiarism and Copyright and Trademark Infringement
- Research: Trademarks Registrations are a Strong Indicator of Economic Health
- Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents
- Top Resources on Trademarking in the United States
- Interesting Expired Trademarks and Patents
- Lego and other Famous Toy Trademarks and Patents
- Trademark and Brand Your Writing
- Trademarks & The Invention Convention