How To Get A Trademark
If you are serious about your business and want to penetrate the current market and compete with other players in your chosen industry, then you should be serious about advertising and creating a strong branding for your business. One of the first things that you should do is to create a representation of your company (this would usually mean a logo or a slogan) and apply for a trademark registration.
What is a trademark?A trademark is anything that identifies your business and sets it apart from other companies that may offer the same goods or products that you sell. It could be a word or a phrase (e.g. business name or your company slogan), a symbol or design (e.g. company logo and colors). Trademark can also be a combination of these elements.
A service mark is also similar to a trademark. A trademark identifies a product where as a service mark identifies a service that is being offered by a company.
A trademark is represented by the symbols "TM" and "SM" for service mark. You can use these trademark symbols even without an application for a trademark. This simply indicates to the public that you claim ownership of the said mark. The federal registration symbol for trademark and service mark is "®" which stands for "original". You can only use this symbol if the Patent and Trademark Office has approved your application for trademark registration.
A trademark registration is not really a requirement. But applying for a trademark can bring you a number of advantages. You would be given legal ownership of your mark. This means that you have exclusive rights to your company's mark and you can take legal action against anyone who made an unauthorized duplication of your mark. If you want your business to go international, with a trademark, you can use your registration from your origin country and obtain registration from other countries.
Applying for a trademark registration
Trademark registration form
You can use the Internet to download an application form or you can go directly to the nearest Patent and Trademark Office in your locality. If you are in the United States, you can download your application form at this link.
The US also devised an online system called the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) to make the application process much faster. The system features online help, validation function and instant reply.
If you do not have Internet access, you can also go personally hand in a hardcopy of your application to the Patent and Trademark Office of your country. Faxed applications are usually not accepted so it is important that you get the address of the Patent and Trademark Office nearest you.
Do a thorough search for similar trademarks
Before you even submit an application for a trademark registration, it is important that your mark should not be similar to other company's registered trademarks. The whole application process would be to no avail if your mark contains prominent similarities to other brands' trademarks because it would just get disapproved.
There are trademarks databases that you can find on the Internet. Browse the database prior to your submission of your application form. There is a proper design code to help you make your search easier. You can also search via serial or a registration number.
Filing out a trademark application form
The basic things that your application should contain includes the following:
- applicant's name (owner of the mark e.g. a corporation, organization, partners, sole proprietor)
- applicant's address
- drawing of the mark being applied as a trademark
- listing of products or service where the trademark would be used
- paid filing fee
Upon submitting your application, a unique serial number would be generated for you. Make sure that all details and information you submitted is accurate, current and complete. If there has been an error in your part, make sure to report it to the Patent and Trademark Office immediately. Once they evaluated your application and determined that your form is incomplete and has insufficient information, your application would be cancelled and your money refunded.
Drawing the mark
All application should include a detailed and clear drawing of the mark being applied for a trademark. It should be drawn in a white paper of the size of a standard letter paper (8.5 inches x 11 inches). The drawing it self should be no bigger than 3.5 in. x 3.5 in.
It should also include a header that contains the name and address of the applicant along with the list of products and services where the trademark would be used. It should also include the date of use of the mark (intent to use).
Make sure that your drawing is final for you can no longer make changes on your mark once you submitted it for filing.
Declared use of trademark
You should have a list of the particular goods or services where you would use the trademark. When it comes to trademarks on goods, it can appear on product labels, containers, product displays and even in delivery vans. When it comes to service marks, it can be used in advertising of the company.
If you are already using your mark in commerce, you should also mention and declare its first date of use. If you are not using the mark yet, then you should declare its 'intent of use' in the future.
Signing the application form
Naturally, the person who would sign the application form is the applicant himself. The only person that is allowed to sign the form in the absence of the applicant is his legal representative. A person who is knowledgeable about he facts of the mark and the details of the application can also sign the form.
In case you applied on line, any combination of characters, symbols, spaces and punctuation enclosed in two forward slashes would be considered as your signature (e.g. /jien12-02/).
Hiring an attorney is not really necessary. But they can help in ensuring that you comply with the rules and requirements needed for your trademark application to get approved. If you decide to get a lawyer, then Patent and Trademark Office would only communicate with your lawyer and your lawyer alone.
There are currently no comments on file, be the first to add yours!