Oftentimes, brand names and logos are protected by trademarks. Trademarks identify that the specific good or service come from a specific source. There are a variety of steps to take if you are interested in applying for a trademark.
First: Select a mark
First, you will want to determine what format your mark will take. It is critical that you clearly define what product or service the mark applies to. You will also want to have a trademark search performed to lower the chances that you are accused of copying someone else’s trademark.
It is important to note that not every mark can be registered or is legally protectable. When selecting a trademark, it is important to research whether that mark can be registered and the ease in which it can be protected by you, the trademark owner. An experienced trademark attorney can assist you with determining if your chosen mark is registerable or legally protectable as well as with performing a trademark search.
Second: Prepare and submit your application for your trademark
The Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) is the online platform you will use to file your application. You may also need to pay a fee for each class of goods and services. You will want to monitor the progress of your application, checking on it through the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval system at least once every six months to ensure you meet all filing deadlines.
Third: Working with the assigned examining attorney
After the minimum filing requirements are met, your trademark application will be given a serial number and it will be assigned to an examining attorney. The examining attorney will determine if your application abides by all applicable rules and laws, and that all necessary fees have been paid.
If it is determined that your trademark should not be registered, you will receive a letter giving the reasons for refusal. If you receive such a letter, you must respond to it in a timely manner or the application may be deemed abandoned.
Fourth: Your mark will be approved or denied
If the examining attorney finds that the mark should be registered it will be published in the “Official Gazette.” At this point, if anyone believes they will suffer damages if the mark is registered, they have 30 days to oppose. Finally, if there is no opposition, the mark will be registered.
Trademark law is complex
Ultimately, this is only a brief overview of the trademark process. The entire process is complex, and there are details not included in this post. Therefore, this post cannot serve as legal advice. Those who are interested in learning more about trademark law will want to seek the assistance of an experienced trademark attorney.