How to Get a Trademark for the Name of Your Business

Wondering how to get a trademark? If so, you might be in for a surprise. Applying for a trademark isn’t a straightforward, intuitive process.

It’s a lot like filing your taxes. It’s often a convoluted process for which many folks require professional assistance. When you’re ready to learn more about this process, so you can determine whether you need a hand, read on.

Trademark Vs. Patent Vs. Copyright

Before we get started on how to get a logo trademarked or give you a list of trademark tips, let’s start with the basics. Let’s define trademark and the cousins with which it’s often confused, patent and copyright.

A trademark is for business. It’s designed to differentiate one company from another. Trademarks cover such identifiers as your business name, phrases in your branding, as well as symbols and designs you use in your marketing.

A patent is for inventions. It’s granted by the federal government and provides exclusive rights to a patented process, invention, or design. Like the trademark lawyer and trademark attorney, you can also find a patent lawyer or patent attorney.

Copyright is for artists. The work in question may be an original piece of material, such as print, performance, or recording.

Things You Can’t Trademark

When you’re filing your business trademarks, avoid these common pitfalls. Generic words and common phrases can’t be trademarked. For instance, you could never trademark the phrases, “Good afternoon” or “apple orchard.”

You can’t trademark a name, phrase, symbol, or design that’s the same as one that already exists. For instance, you can’t try to trademark Logitech Keyboard or Nike Nail Polish. The words Logitech and Nike already fall under trademarks and can’t be reused.

How to Get a Trademark: The Process

If you’re wondering how to get a name trademarked, it all starts with a search of the USPTO database. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) keeps an up-to-date database on all the trademarks and patents in the US.

After you find a name that nobody has trademarked, you must file an application. It’ll either be a TEAS Standard or a TEAS Plus application. The Plus application costs less but requires a few notable stipulations.

During the application process, don’t skimp on the Goods and Services page. Be specific. That’s especially true if you’re trademarking a symbol or design.

Lastly, you need to explain why you’re filing for a trademark. This is the “basis” for which you’re filing. For most business owners, your basis will either be “commerce” or “intent to use.”

After you finish, you need to attach a .jpg of your goods or services. The application process costs $225 or $275. It depends on whether you choose the Plus or Standard application.

What’s Next?

Now that you know how to get a trademark, is it a process you’d feel comfortable undertaking alone? If you’re comfortable with numbers and legalese, it’s probably a project you can do on your own. Just remember, if you’re uncertain, it’s best to seek professional guidance.

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