Register Trademarks USA

In order to register trademarks USA, you will need to file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which oversees federal trademarks.

The USPTO will then look over the applications and determine whether the trademark is sufficient to be registered and given federal recognition. Even if you don't register a trademark, you will still acquire some common law rights from using the trademark.

Getting a federal trademark can provide you many legal benefits well above common law protection. These benefits will range from national protection for the trademark, being able to sue those who are infringing on your trademark, and using the trademark to help with foreign authorities from whom you also may want to obtain trademark status with.

How to Register a Trademark for a Company Name

When you use your trademark in business, you may use the abbreviation "TM" to designate and notify viewers of the trademark that the item is protected by trademark. There is a federal symbol, ®, which can only be used however if your trademark is approved by the USPTO. It cannot be used otherwise, even if the application has been filed and is being reviewed.

The ® symbol is also limited in use to only the trademark you received federal protection for.

What Types of Applications May Be Filed

Many different kinds of designs and words can be trademarked. The USPTO will primarily be looking at whether the trademark is distinctive and has a clear association with a product or business brand. Everything from sounds to words to pictures can be trademarked as long as it fits several essential criteria.

There are several different kinds of marks used to generally classify trademarks:

  • Word Mark: A Word Mark is comprised completely of lettering and numbers. There are no pictures or other markings.
  • Design Mark: A Design Mark will be a picture that is clear and highly pixelated.
  • Color Mark: A Color Mark essentially is a unique color that can be trademarked. The color will need to be shown to be unique and you will have to include examples of how it is used in business.
  • Shape Mark: A Shape Mark is essentially a figure that is three-dimensional. An actual copy of the mark doesn't need to be included, but a relatively detailed picture and description of the three-dimensional mark is needed.
  • Sound Mark: Even sounds can be trademarked. A trademark application for sounds will need to include a recording of the sound along with a written description.
  • Scent Mark: For smells or tastes, there needs to be a clear and detailed written description. The application will also need to include an actual sample of the item that's being trademarked.
  • Touch Mark: If the mark is going to be touch-based, it has to be accompanied by drawings.
  • Motion Mark: For movements, the mark will need to have pictures that show how the motion works through frames at varying points of the motion. As with other marks, a thorough written description of the mark is also needed.
  • Collective Mark: A trademark that an association uses for its collective whole.
  • Certification Mark: If the mark is a seal of approval by an organization or person, then it is considered a certification mark and a symbol of approval.

What Is the Basis for Filing a Trademark Application

Trademarks applications can be sent to the USPTO based on use if the trademark is already being used in business at filing time.

The business use of the trademark must have some relation to interstate commerce, as that is how the federal government has authority over patents.

The use of the trademark also needs to be real and serious rather than just nominal use in order to secure the trademark approval.

When you submit the application under the use-basis you will be required to swear that it is being used currently in business, as well as identify when it began being used in business.

You will also be required to include a description and some model or example of the potential trademark as it is being used.

If you need help with filing your USA trademark, you can post your legal need 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, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.