Everything There Is To Know About Trademark Requirements
Do you want to protect your catchy slogan and the memorable logo of your small business? Applying for federal trademark protection doesn’t guarantee a successful registration. For better chances of success, you should pay attention to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) trademark requirements.
This guide will help you understand what aspects you should focus on. If you need help to ensure that you register correctly, you can rely on DoNotPay.
When applying for federal trademark registration, you must submit some general details, such as:
- Name and address of the trademark owner
- Business type (individual or corporation) and the address of the headquarters
- A detailed description of products or services associated with the mark
- Drawing or specimen of the mark
- Statement of use (or intent to use) in commerce
- Date of the first use of the mark
Additional requirements can vary based on the type of mark you want to register. For instance, special form marks with designs and colors have more submission requirements than standard character marks. You may have to submit a JPEG file, color claim, and mark details, such as the position of the colors.
If your permanent residence or the business’s headquarters are located outside of the United States, you must hire a U.S.-licensed attorney to apply on your behalf.
Although you can trademark nearly every distinct brand element you use in conducting business, some have special rules. For instance, ideas cannot be protected while they’re just concepts. You can only trademark a materialization of the idea, like a song, painting, etc. Check out how you can trademark each of the following elements of a brand:
|Podcast names||Domain names|
|Business names||Artist names|
|Usernames||Book series titles|
Before you complete the USPTO trademark application form, do the following to avoid wasting time and flushing money down the drain:
- Determine if you need a trademark
- Search the USPTO database for similar marks
- Classify your goods or services
- Understand your filing basis
Does your mark require patent, copyright, or trademark protection? Knowing the differences will help you apply for the correct type of protection:
- Trademarks or service marks protect brand elements that are unique to your business and that help with the recognition of your products or services on the market
- Copyrights protect original creative expressions, such as paintings, novels, or photography
- A patent protects inventions and processes, like new machine parts
You should find out if your mark is unique before you use it in commerce or attempt to register it with the USPTO. Do that by performing a USPTO clearance search. If your mark can be confused with the trademark of another company selling similar goods, your application will be denied. You also risk facing trademark infringement charges. The trademark protection law only allows similar marks if the businesses in question offer different types of services or goods.
If you need help with the search, you can consult a trademark attorney, but there is a caveat—you can expect to pay up to $2,000.
Before you file the application, use the Trademark ID Manual to identify the trademark classes of your goods and services. Be careful because your mark will only be protected based on the classes that you list in your application. The USPTO does not allow you to increase the number of classes after submitting your application.
Understanding your filing basis will help you in the application process. You must meet the requirements for the filing basis that applies to your case. The common filing bases include:
- Use in commerce—This means you have used the trademark in commerce, but you must submit evidence of use
- Intent to use—This means you haven’t used the trademark in commerce or haven’t expanded to another state. You can apply, but your trademark will be registered when you provide evidence of actual use of the trademark. In case of a trademark lawsuit, you will be given priority of ownership over another business that hasn’t filed an application
You don’t have to register a trademark to get protection. If you are the first to use the mark in commerce, you instantly acquire common law ownership rights.
Since common law rights give you protection in the geographic area of your operations only, check out the benefits you can get by registering your trademarks with the USPTO:
- Initiating a trademark infringement lawsuit in a federal court
- Stopping the importation of foreign goods that infringe on your trademark
- Increasing public awareness of your claim of the mark
- Recovering the attorney fees you incur during lawsuits
- Getting a basis for registering in foreign countries
The USPTO allows submissions through the TEAS application system. To apply, you must create a USPTO account and log in to the TEAS system. The platform has two trademark application forms:
- TEAS Plus—Use this form if you want to submit more information in the initial application. You will pay $250 for every class of goods or services that you list
- TEAS Standard—Use this form if you want to submit fewer details initially and add custom descriptions of your products or services. It costs $350 per class of goods or services
The total number of trademark classes that you list your goods or services under affects your overall application costs.
You can maintain the registered trademark forever by using it in business and periodically filing the necessary paperwork.
There is no doubt that the trademark application process is complicated. It can get worse if you miss a similar mark in your search and get a trademark objection. Let DoNotPay help you get such issues out of the way and increase your odds of registering your mark successfully. We will do all the work for you—from searching for similar marks to submitting your application to the USPTO.
All you need to do is:
- Sign up for DoNotPay
- Go to the Trademark Registration tool
- Complete a brief questionnaire about your mark
- Pay the required USPTO fees
Being a small business owner is not an easy task, and all the details that you need to pay attention to might seem overwhelming. From handling trademark registration and protection to dealing with crucial paperwork, such as the Employer Identification Number (EIN) SS-4 form and 83(b) election forms, you need to invest a lot of time and energy into each business-related aspect. That is why you should rely on DoNotPay and have us take care of everything in your stead!
If you need help handling copyright issues, you should consider registering a DMCA agent with the U.S. Copyright Office. Not sure how to do it? Use DoNotPay, and we will take care of it for you!
We can also help you dispute chargebacks and avoid losing your money to scams by generating a personalized chargeback rebuttal document based on the info you give us.
DoNotPay strives to make your business endeavors free of unnecessary stress, which is why we created a variety of useful products to help you deal with complex issues hassle-free. With our assistance, you can:
- Draft a professional letter requesting a loan for your small business
- Enjoy convenient faxing and mailing services
- Get rid of fake negative reviews that could harm your business
- Prove your commitment to your clients’ privacy by using DoNotPay’s Privacy Shield Self-Certification product
- Avoid hiring lawyers or collection agencies as our Breach of Contract product will help you send formal demand letters to clients who refuse to pay for your services