When you create a brand, product, or service, it is essential to properly protect it with a trademark. A trademark is a legally enforceable form of protection for a name, logo, or phrase associated with a particular product or service. In the United States, the process of trademarking a name is regulated by both federal and state laws. For those based in Chicago who own a trademark, a few key steps must be taken to ensure that it is adequately protected. This article will explore the five top tips that should be taken into consideration when trademarking a name in Chicago.

The first step when trademarking a name in Chicago is to conduct a proper search. It is essential to conduct a comprehensive search to make sure that the desired trademark is not already taken. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides a service that searches their databases for potentially similar trademarks. If a similar trademark is found with the USPTO search, the prospective trademark applicant may withdraw their application or modify it to make it sufficiently distinct from the existing trademark. If the search turns up no similar trademarks, then the applicant may proceed with their own trademark application.

Once a search has been conducted, the next step is to thoroughly evaluate the potential trademark to make sure it is unique. The USPTO evaluates trademarks based on distinctiveness, meaning a trademark must be sufficiently distinct from all other marks that it can easily be identified as a separate entity. Any trademark that would be difficult to distinguish from a previously existing trademark will be rejected by the USPTO. As a result, those wishing to trademark a name in Chicago must ensure that it is distinct enough.

The third tip to keep in mind when trademarking a name in Chicago is to remember that filing for a state trademark is not the same as filing for a federal trademark. While it may be possible to file for a state trademark, filing for federal protection offers more comprehensive protection and enforcement. Also, if someone wishes to expand their business into other states, then registering a federal trademark can help them maintain the same trademark no matter the jurisdiction.

Fourthly, it is important to consider whether or not the trademark should be filed as either an intent-to-use application or a traditional application. An intent-to-use application is a type of trademark filed for a business before the business is actually operating. This type of trademark can be beneficial when a business wants to have sole rights to a particular name before the business is launched. The time frame for having a trademark from filing to approval is typically much quicker than with a traditional application, as it requests the USPTO to reserve the trademark for the applicant until it is ready for use.

Finally, it is important to be aware of and comply with any state statutes and regulations that may apply to the trademark. Many states have separate laws governing trademarks, so it is important to research these laws to make sure the potential trademark fits within the requirements of the applicable state's laws. Additionally, it is important to remain up to date on all legal developments related to trademark law, as the laws are constantly evolving.

In sum, it is essential to take a few key steps to ensure that a prospective trademark is adequately protected. When trademarking a name in Chicago, it is essential to conduct a search, evaluate the uniqueness of the potential trademark, decide whether or not to file for a federal or state trademark, make sure to file an intent-to-use application if applicable, and be aware of and comply with all applicable state statutes and regulations.



Trademarking a Name,

Laws and Regulations