Trademark registration has become more critical than ever, with the popularity of social media and mobile technology. Companies are no longer operating in their own spaces but rather everyone’s space. Your competitor could be right around the corner or five states away.
Therefore, it is necessary to mark your territory to ensure no one else is infringing on your ideas. It can be confusing to register a trademark, but it doesn’t have to be if you understand the steps of the process and what needs to be done at each stage.
The following are simple steps to take to register your business and protect your ideas:
1. How to Register a Trademark
Understand the three types of marks, descriptive, arbitrary, and suggestive. Descriptive marks are words that only describe the goods or services they represent.
Arbitrary marks are words that have nothing to do with the goods or services they represent, but because of their long-term association, many people began believing that they do. They are also known as coined terms.
Suggestive marks are slightly different from arbitrary because although the word suggests what it represents, it does not describe them. These are often used when you do not want to use a word that will only describe the goods or services.
With US trademark registration, you will not be able to claim exclusive rights if your mark is simply a surname, a geographic name of origin, or merely a word that describes the goods and services.
2. Determine If The Trademark Is In Use.
Even if you have a trademark already, it is recommended to apply one more time to ensure that no other person has already claimed the same mark.
If you are unsure, seek professional advice. To check if the mark is already registered, you can contact your state’s Secretary of State for help.
Now you need to determine if the mark is being used to sell goods or services. You can do this by using a search engine. You will have to provide relevant information, including your name and address, products/services description, and online platform. Then wait for results to come up.
3. File An Application With The United States Patent And Trademark Office
You will need to file a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. US Trademark registration can be filed through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). If you require assistance, feel free to use one of the many USPTO customer representative numbers.
The US Patent and Trademark Office will send a confirmation email when your application has been successfully received. Payment is due within six months unless an extension is requested and granted.
4. Consider If You Need To Provide Evidence Of Use Through The Uspto
It is possible not to provide proof of use, but it does allow you more time before paying the fee. If filing for a foreign mark, the USPTO will need proof of your marks usage in your country. To do this, you will need to use the Madrid Protocol.
5. Benefits of Trademarks
Trademarks give you the exclusive right to use your mark and prevent others from using it on goods or services that you may mistake for yours.
You will also receive a listing of all of the areas where your trademark is protected, which can include everything from fixtures, containers, and equipment to websites and social media.
As you can see, the trademarking process is not overly complicated. It is much easier than trying to win a case against someone who infringed on your mark after being in use for years.
By following the above steps and doing a check online where you can input relevant information to determine if anyone has used similar marks, you can easily apply for trademarks through the USPTO.
With your trademark, you will benefit from exclusive rights and prevent others from using similar or identical marks on goods/services that may cause customer confusion. Remember to always do a review of all registered trademarks before filing your application.