Updated October 29, 2020:

How to Trademark a Blog Name

  1. Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.
  2. Browse the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database to see if anyone else has already registered your blog name in the appropriate category.
  3. Submit your blog name trademark application with the filing fee. The USPTO charges about $300 for trademark registration.

What Is a Blog Name Trademark?

A trademark is a brand that's linked to the source and quality of goods and services. Registering your blog name can help your website stand out and add value to your business.

When you trademark your blog name, you gain the exclusive rights to use it. You have to defend your blog name from infringement. You can sue infringers if they profit from your blog name.

Along with a blog name, a trademark can include a business name, a slogan, a logo, or a combination of these elements. All blog name trademarks must be unique since you can't register a name that's already taken.

Your blog name should also be something that you use to generate a profit ("use in commerce") or something that you plan to use to make money ("intent to use"). In other words, your blog should be a business.

Reasons to Consider Trademarking Your Blog Name

  • You Can Build Your Brand

As a blogger, your brand is one of your most important assets. Trademarking your blog name allows you to claim and enforce exclusive rights to it. Remember that others can refer to your blog name, but they can't adopt it as their own. Trademarking your blog name can give you the confidence to invest in your brand and build awareness around your blog name.

  • You Can Gain Control Over Your Online Presence

For bloggers, maintaining an online presence is essential. With a trademark, you can exclude others from using your blog name to build their own brands. You can sue infringers who profit from using your blog name.

  • You Can Create a Valuable Business Asset

Many blogs are profitable websites that become available for sale. Trademarking your blog name now could help you build value as you develop your website. An example of this is the TechCrunch blogger, who sold his successful brand to AOL for $25 million. As more people conduct business online, strong blog presences become even more valuable. They also allow bloggers to monetize their brands in new ways. An example of this is The Pioneer Woman, who has applied to register a trademark for additional goods and services related to her brand.

  • You Can Deter Others From Using Your Blog Name

When your trademark is registered, it will appear in a list published by the USPTO. This can deter others from using your blog name as their own.

Reasons to Consider Not Trademarking Your Blog Name

  • Your Blog Is Just a Hobby

If you don't intend to profit from your website, there's no need to register a trademark. To be eligible for a trademark, there should be a commercial aspect to your blog.

  • You Don't Plan to Enforce Your Exclusive Rights

Registering a trademark is just one step of the process. You'll also need to spend time and resources identifying infringers. If you don't plan to do this, registering your blog name might not be necessary.

  • It Could Result in Unexpected Legal Battles

Once the trademark examiner approves your trademark, it will appear in the USPTO Official Gazette. After that, third parties have 30 days to file an opposition to your trademark application. These can result in long, expensive cases that can alter your course of business. For example, the owners of the blogs "Honest Toddler" and "Danielle Walker's Against All Grain" encountered unexpected legal battles when filing their trademark applications.

Common Mistakes

  • Waiting Too Long to Register

There's no specific deadline for trademarking your blog name. You should do it as soon as possible, though. If you haven't launched your blog yet, you can still file with the "intent to use." With a trademark in hand, you can build your brand without worrying that another party might take your blog name first.

  • Not Maintaining Your Trademark

The USPTO requires you to maintain your trademark. At the five-year mark, you have to show continual use. Every 10 years, you have to request a renewal. If you don't do the necessary maintenance, the USPTO will cancel the trademark.

  • Assuming a Trademark Also Protects Your Blog's Content

Trademark and copyright protection are separate. Written and visual content on blogs is protected under copyright. Other websites must get your permission before republishing any of your content. They shouldn't merely link to your blog. If you're not sure whether permission is necessary, review the Doctrine of Fair Use from the U.S. Copyright Act. This protects the following uses:

  • Criticism
  • Comments
  • News
  • Reporting
  • Teaching
  • Scholarship
  • Research

You can also give your content a Creative Commons license to allow others to use it as a resource.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Much Does It Cost to Trademark a Blog Name?

The USPTO trademark filing fee costs between $225 and $400. If you need an extension or have to file an amendment, you'll have to pay more.

  • How Long Does It Take to Trademark a Blog Name?

When you file online, the application takes as little as 90 minutes. You'll receive a response to your application within six months. You'll probably receive an approval within a year.

Trademarks last for 10 years. You can renew them every 10 years indefinitely.

  • Should I Hire a Lawyer?

If your trademark case isn't straightforward, hire a lawyer. Trademark specialists charge around $125 to $300 per hour. This equals about $500 to $2,000 in legal fees, in addition to the standard trademark registration fee.

Steps to Trademark a Blog Name

1.     Do a Trademark Search

Check for your blog name in the USPTO TESS database. If it already appears, you can't apply for a trademark.

2.     File a Trademark Application

Submit your trademark application through the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) and pay the filing fee. The application includes the following: Basis for Application: If you already use your blog name, check "use in commerce." If you plan to launch the blog soon, check "intent to use."

  • Identification of the Class of Goods or Services: Blogs are in Class 041.
  • Description of the Goods or Services: Describe your blog and its purpose.
  • Identification of the Mark: List either the name or include a stylized version of the name.
  • Information About the Applicant: List your name and mailing address. If you're filing as a company, list your business name instead.
  • Declaration: Sign this to indicate that you've filed the application truthfully.
  • Specimen: If you checked "use in commerce," submit an image of your blog header, along with the URL.

3. File Trademark Maintenance Documents

Submit trademark maintenance documents with the USPTO regularly. You'll need to do this five years after the original trademark registration date. You can apply for a renewal 10 years after the original registration date and again every 10 years thereafter.

If you need help with trademarking a blog name, you can post your question or concern 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.