What Are Trademarks?

To register trademarks, you first need to understand what trademarks are and what purpose they serve. Trademarks, whether they are a sound, phrase, or symbol, are meant to identify the goods or services provided by a business. When a trademark is well-known, it represents both the products provided by a business or person, as well as the individual's or company's reputation. Trademarks are one of the most valuable forms of intellectual property in the world.

How Long Does It Take to File an Online Trademark Application?

It's possible to complete and submit an online trademark application in as little as 90 minutes. After your application has been filed, you can expect the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to give you a response within six months.

Trademark/Service Mark Application Process

The easiest solution for registering a trademark is by visiting the USPTO website. The first entity that uses a trademark in a geographic area can receive trademark protection whether the mark has been registered or not.

Does Any of the Filing Process Require an Attorney?

Registering a service mark or a trademark can be extremely difficult, particularly if you are doing so for the first time. It's also important to remember that the online filing process has a hard time limit, which means if you take too long, you may be cut off before completing your application. If you want to make the filing process smoother and more successful, you should consider hiring a trademark attorney.

An experienced attorney can help you through the entire process of applying for your trademark. Your attorney should be able to help you understand the benefits of obtaining trademark protection, and can also connect you with tools that will make the application process easier.

What to Do if the Chosen Mark is Already Registered by Another Company?

If another company has already registered your chosen mark, then your application will be rejected. Responding to an application rejection will usually require help from an attorney. If you wish, you can request permission to register your trademark from the person that owns the rights to the mark you want to use.

How Much is the Cost to Register a Trademark?

If you register your trademark online, you can expect to spend between $275 and $325. In your application, you will need to provide information such as:

  • What category of goods and service your mark will be used to indicate. 
  • The date where you first used your mark for commercial purposes.
  • If the mark you wish to register contains a design component.

Your individual needs will determine how much you will pay to register your trademark. In certain circumstances, you will only need to pay a registration fee and filing fee. In other cases, additional fees will be required. You may also wish to hire a trademark agent for assistance, which will add to your overall costs.

If you are registering the name of an internet business, you should only register your web extension if you plan to use your mark with and without the extension. If you register your domain without the web extension, you will prevent other businesses from adding a different extension so that they can register the same name.

Although you want your trademark to receive broad protection, you should refrain from designating your mark with a specific design to achieve this goal.

If you use a business name that is very generic or too descriptive, it will be hard to register your trademark. Hiring a trademark lawyer is the best way to make sure that you receive some legal protections.

Registering a Trademark Overview

Small business owners need to protect their brand so that they can succeed in a competitive marketplace. Registering your brand with the USPTO will provide you with a wide range of legal protections, including the ability to file a lawsuit if someone has used your trademark without first obtaining your approval. In addition to registering your trademark federally, you can register with your state so that others will be aware of your ownership of your mark. Registering your trademark will legally entitle you to use the ® symbol, which notifies others that they can't use your brand without your permission. You will also be able to license your brand, which can be a very profitable endeavor.

If you want to register trademarks, you can post your legal needs on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.