Trademark Name: Everything You Need to Know
A trademark name is a company name that has been determined by the US Patent and Trademark Office to be unique. When a company name has been trademarked.3 min read
A trademark name is a company name that has been determined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to be unique. When a company name has been trademarked, no other company may use it. Only the company itself can, regardless of the level of production it operates at and worldwide recognition it has.
How to Register a Trademark for a Company Name
It’s not difficult to register your trademark. It’s actually quite easy. A lot of businesses are able to do it in 90 minutes or less, many times without a lawyer’s help. The easiest way by far is to just to do it online at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, before you go and submit your application, first check with the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to see if any other company has already registered something very similar to yours in the same category and geographical location. Regardless of who came up with the trademark first, if it’s not registered, it doesn’t matter who made it. What matters is who actually registers the trademark first.
To do everything online can cost anywhere from $275 to $325. You’ll need to be able to pay the costs then and there, as well as provide any information about the services you’ll provide that are associated with the mark, plus the date of the first time you used the mark and any design you plan to go along with it.
Online companies registering their names are not advised to trademark their name with the web extension (com, net, org, life) unless they want to pay for registering it both with and without the extension.
Responses from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, positive or negative, usually take up to six months.
Sometimes it is advised to seek legal counsel before proceeding. If you are unsure whether or not you should, it’s probably best to do so sooner rather than later.
Understanding Trademark Name Restrictions
An established trademark that helps establish a business allows the owner to have exclusive rights to use trademarked:
- Certain Words
If you want to trademark a certain name, then you absolutely must use it in commerce. If you’re not using it in commerce at the time of registration, then you should, at the very least, be about to do so in the near future. Any business name can be trademarked (if it hasn’t already been done so), but you can’t trademark something you only intend to use for personal reasons outside of business.
For a name to be trademarked, it must be unique, so anything normal or generic is likely going to be denied by the Patent office. Words like ‘cold,’ ‘hot,’ ‘Pizza,’ or ‘hamburger’ are not going to be trademarked. Another thing that should be considered is whether or not your name is also a plant name, which is obviously something that can be bought and has an identity/existence separate from any product you would produce. Plant names are often denied, but do sometimes go through (a prime example being Apple). These are often strong trademarks and should be pursued if and when possible and applicable.
Another way to make a strong trademark is to have a name that suggests or conveys something to the consumer but doesn’t actually mean anything by itself. Microsoft is a great example. ‘Micro’ coming from the word microprocessor and ‘soft’ coming from the word ‘software’—thus Microsoft.
Sometimes trademark requests are denied because they will create a good deal of confusion with the consumer because there is another product out there that is very akin to yours. If your requests weren’t denied, then consumers might buy a product that they associate with another company. If the complaint went to the legal level, the blame would then be laid upon the Patent Office for not doing its job properly.
How Do You Trademark a Name?
It is very urgent that you know how to trademark your business name if your business is going to have any kind of future with consumers. It’s a process that can generally be completed in three steps, which involve:
- Trademark research/ search
- Submitting an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
- Replying to any requests from the USPTO in the interim
If you need help learning more about 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, Stripe, and Twilio.