Registering a trademark will add value to your company, and give your business certain intellectual property rights. Below is an outline of the trademark registration process.
First, thoroughly search on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website (USPTO), to find out whether or not there is an existing trademark or a pending registration which is similar to yours. This includes searching for variations of the words, or related words, or trademarks. If it appears that your potential trademark is indeed unique then it is OK to proceed.
Following the trademark search is the actual application. An online application asks for information about the company and the trademark. The USPTO also requires a specimen of the trademark. The objective is to show how the trademark is used in commerce in connection with your goods and services.
Along with the application are the fees that go along with it. When you apply for your trademark you must choose a class that your trademark is associated with. You can have more than one class, but there is a separate filing fee for each class. Fees range from $275-$400.
4) Office Action…or not.
After the application is a waiting period for several months, until you hear back from USPTO, when one of three things will happen. They will either issue a non-substantive office action, a substantive office action, or will publish your trademark for opposition.
A non-substantive office action means that something minor needs to be changed or corrected in your trademark. Usually, you will have to disclaim a word or element of your trademark.
A substantive action means that something major needs to be changed or corrected in your trademark, and you must respond to the USPTO within 6 months or your application will be denied.
Responding to a substantive action requires intensive legal research and writing explaining and demonstrating why your trademark is dissimilar to a trademark that already exists or is pending.
If you are successful in either the non-substantive action or the substantive action the USPTO will publish your trademark for opposition.
A trademark published for opposition is an opportunity for anyone to object to your trademark. The notice of opposition exists for 30 days. If nobody objects then it is is published.
Lastly, the entire process, if everything goes smoothly takes from 8-12 months. If there is an office action, especially a substantive action it will take considerably longer.
If you’d like more information about registering a trademark or help with your business, please contact my office. Phone: (303) 900-2529 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.
This article is for educational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice about your case or situation. There may be exceptions to the information outlined above. Please consult an attorney if you have specific questions about your business.