If you have thought to yourself, “I’m ready to register my trademark,” it’s likely time to seek legal counsel.
A trademark is a form of intellectual property, which protects certain words, symbols, or logos (among other things) used by a business to represent a product or a service. Patents and copyrights, other forms of intellectual property, protect the commercial rights of inventors and creators, respectively. Business owners may consider registering the following:
- Company name
- Product name
- Service name
It is important to recognize that trademark registration will not happen overnight. On average, the federal trademark process takes six months from start to finish. This process includes a search for other registered or common law trademarks, filing an application with the appropriate government agency, and a two-month publication period during which other trademark holders may contest the trademark registration.
5 considerations before registering your trademark
- First, where are you planning to register your trademark? In the United States, registration generally occurs at either the state or federal level. There are benefits and drawbacks to each. If you are considering a federal mark, you must demonstrate that your trademark is used in interstate commerce, meaning you must be selling or conducting commercial operations in more than one state. Online sales usually qualify as interstate commerce for registration purposes.
- Next, what type of mark are you planning to register? Is it just the name (a standard character mark) or a specialized mark that includes a logo (a design mark)?
- What goods and services are covered by the mark? Goods and services are grouped under 45 different classes. The United States Patent and Trademark Office and State governments will require that you identify the appropriate class associated with your trademark. An attorney can help you determine the appropriate class for your trademark. Keep in mind that, if you are filing in multiple classes, the filing fees will increase.
- Are there any existing trademarks that may prohibit registration? It is essential to determine whether your mark may be confused with an already existing trademark. An attorney will have access to state and U.S. databases to try to ensure your mark is not in conflict with other federal, state and common law marks before filing.
- Who should own the trademark? You must determine at the outset whether to register your trademark in your individual name or in the name of your business. An attorney can make sure you file your trademark under the appropriate ownership.
A business lawyer can help to ensure you properly register a trademark. Contact Stock and Leader’s Business team today.