If you’re based in Los Angeles and are planning to trademark your logo, you’re starting on an important mission that can provide your business with substantial rights and protections. Trademarks—which are legally recognized symbols, designs, or words that differentiate your product or service from the competition—are often the foundation for creating and maintaining a strong brand identity. Securing the trademark for your logo, then, is of paramount importance.

Fortunately, understanding the process of filing for a trademark is relatively straightforward; however, the legal aspects involved can still be daunting. That’s why it’s essential that you have top legal counsel by your side. To get started on the process of Trademarking your logo, consider the following five steps.

Step 1: Investigate If Your Logo Is Trademark-able.

Before you get started preparing the proper paperwork, you want to make sure that your logo is actually capable of being trademarked. The legal standard is that your logo must be distinctive—meaning it can’t merely be descriptive of your product or services. There are four categories of trademarks, as described by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”), ranging from least distinctive (Descriptive) to most visible (Fanciful).

Step 2: Have a Trademark Attorney Review Your Logo.

At this point, you’re understandably eager to begin the registration process. But take a moment first to speak with a reputable trademark attorney. You’ll want to have them not only ensure that your logo is capable of being trademarked, but also perform trademark research to make sure you’re not running into any conflicts. Your lawyer can also assist you in submitting the application, ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of filing the trademark paperwork.

Step 3: Prepare the Trademark Application.

Now that you have the all-clear from your attorney, you’ll need to complete the trademark application form. There’s a variety of information required, including a description of the logo’s “mark,” the “goods and services” that are protected, and the “filing basis”, among others. You’ll also need to attach a copy of the logo itself, as well as the appropriate fees.

Step 4: Wait for the USPTO’s Response.

Once the USPTO receives your application, a trademark examining lawyer will assess it for any issues, particularly potential conflicts with other registered trademarks. In no more than three months, you should receive one of three responses: a request for more information (an “Office Action”), an outright denial, or actual approval.

Step 5: Monitor Your Trademark.

If the USPTO approves your trademark application, congratulations! This means you’ve registered your logo as an official, recognized trademark. Of course, this also means that you’ll now be responsible for enforcing your rights against any infringement. This is where a quality trademark attorney from Los Angeles can provide increased value, as they’ll make sure your trademark isn’t being used improperly.

Trademarking your logo can be an intimidating process, but with an experienced trademark attorney on your side and a clear understanding of the USPTO application process, you can make sure your brand is properly protected. Take your time to understand the process, know your rights, and your trademark will provide substantial value to your business.