How do I register a trademark?


Last week this blog discussed what trademarks are. Understanding what trademarks do and how they can help a business be successful may make you wonder how to register a trademark.

After taking the initial important steps to registering a trademark discussed last week, a registration application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is required. There is also a processing fee that is required for any application. Once an application has been filed, it is important to routinely check the status of the application to ensure no important filing deadlines are missed. An examining attorney will review the application to ensure it complies with all rules and statutes and includes the necessary fees. The complete review of the application will include searching for conflicting marks and examining the written application and other materials.

If the application to register the mark is denied, the applicant will receive an explanation of the reasons; the applicant may also be contacted to correct minor errors with the application. If the applicant wishes to respond to a denied registration application, there are important timelines to respond. Alternately, the application may be approved for publication. There is an objection period that follows during which time any party who believes it will be harmed by registration of the mark may object.

If no objections are received, the mark may proceed through the process based on its use or intended use. It is important to understand that there are different requirements based on the different ways of proceeding. The next step is generally a statement of use and after a trademark has been approved, it is important to properly maintain the trademark. A failure to file the proper maintenance paperwork may cause the trademark to be cancelled or expire. It is also important to keep in mind that the owner of the registration is responsible for enforcing it and that all information submitted to the USPTO becomes public record.

As you can see, there are many steps and complexities involved in the process of registering a trademark. Because it can be a beneficial step for your business and its success now and in the future, it is useful to be familiar with the benefits of a trademark and to fully understand the process when registering a trademark.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office, "Is a trademark application right for you?" accessed on Feb. 15, 2015

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