A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or scheme of decorating that you use to market your business and/or specific products and/or services offered by your business. Trademarks can be registered nationally and on a state by state basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I obtain a trademark?
Simply by using it to market a business, a product or a service. Registration is not required. You can sue a competitor for infringing your trademark under state law and federal law (if you do business in more than one state.
Is registering my trademark necessary?
Registration of a trademark is NOT a requirement, but it is highly recommended in most cases. A federal registration enables you to protect the trademark throughout the U.S., even in places where you fo not currently use the mark.
Furthermore, it is not uncommon for business to lose the right to use their trademark when a competitor registers the same trademark with federal or state authorities. Thus, registration serves an important defensive purpose in helping to better insure you can continue to use the mark.
What does a trademark registration cost?
U.S. government fees to file an application for a trademark registration and have it examined are $225-$275 per class of goods and services.
Legal fees for filing a trademark registration application vary from about $250 to $1,500, depending on if and what depth of search is performed for similar marks.
Is it necessary to perform searches for similar trademarks be-fore filing a trademark registration application?
At a minimum, you should search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database for similar marks. Use the USPTO's TESS search query function to begin your search. A quick “knock-out” search can save you the cost of filing an application that is unlikely to be allowed. A quick Google search is also recommended.
Additionally, a more extended search can be conducted by an attorney or a third party service utilizing one or more fee-based proprietary databases. Such searches can uncover uses not reflected on Google or USPTO databases.
How long will it take?
A registration application, if allowed, will issue in 3 to 6 months. While there is never a guarantee a trademark will be allowed, most are. For a more compete description of the trademark process, seehttp://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/process/index.jsp.