There are few business owners who would leave the keys to their business in the door. But some business owners do just that without even realizing it. By failing to trademark their brand, they put their business at risk. Learn more about the steps you need to take in order to get the protection you deserve.
Steps to Trademark My Brand
1. Search for Other Trademarks
The trademark application process can be lengthy and costly. If you fail to perform a trademark search before undergoing the process, you could waste your time and your money. There may already be a business with your trademark, which would make your application futile.
Search the United States Patent and Trademark Office database for trademarks like yours. If there is an active, similar trademark used on similar goods or services, your application will not be successful. Be thorough in your search, or you could miss something. Check for misspellings and trademarks that are similar to yours but have some variations.
2. File an Intent to Use
If you are already using a trademark, you can go through with the paperwork. But some business owners don’t want to use a trademark until after they receive approval. If this is the case with you, then you need to file an intent-to-use form.
By filing this form, you notify the USPTO that you are not currently using your trademark. However, it also informs them that you plan to use it in the near future. You only have six months from the acceptance of your form to use the trademark. If you fail to meet the deadline, you can file for an extension. You need to have a convincing argument explaining why you haven’t yet used the trademark.
3. File the Trademark Application
To officially register your trademark, you need to fill out the appropriate paperwork. You can download the necessary forms from the Trademark Electronic System.
On the application, you need to specify the type of trademark. If you’re protecting a product, you will use a ™. However, a service receives an “SM” mark. You don’t receive the typical marking until the office approves your trademark.
4. Pay the Fees
You need to pay the trademark fees to receive protection. However, there’s often another fee – an attorney’s fee. Many companies choose to work with attorneys. They help with the trademark search and the application process. Often, they can improve your chance at a successful application.
There are several fees associated with the filing process. First, there’s an initial filing fee. The cost of that varies, but it starts at approximately $275. You also may need to pay late fees and renewal fees.
More About the Process
The actual application for the trademark is not challenging. In fact, you can finish it online in less than about two hours. However, it takes about six months to receive a response.
There are many things that cannot be trademarked. Additionally, there are several requirements for trademarks. It’s not uncommon for business owners to have questions and concerns about the process and requirements.
For this reason, you may want to work with an attorney. The Patent Professor® can answer all of your questions regarding trademark law. Furthermore, they can take you through the process. With some assistance, you may be able to avoid making a mistake that puts your business in jeopardy. You can receive the advice and guidance you need.