How to Register Your Trademarks & Copyrights
Most Valuable Assets
Your company’s most valuable asset is its trademark. Keep it safe! Do you have a name or logo that you use to promote your business? You may be the owner of a trademark. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has its headquarters and the Eastern Regional Outreach Office in Alexandria, Virginia, as well as four other regional offices spread across the country.
These, when combined, give inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses a USPTO presence in every time zone in the United States. The process of registering a trademark for a company name is fairly simple. Many businesses can file an application online in less than 90 minutes without the assistance of a lawyer.
Learn how to protect it by registering it with the federal government. The simplest way to register is on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office,
What exactly is a Trademark?
A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of these that uniquely identify your goods or services. It is how customers identify you in the marketplace and differentiate you from your competitors. Trademarks and service marks are both referred to by the term “trademark.” A trademark is used to identify goods, whereas a service mark is used to identify services.
- Identifies the source of your goods or services.
- Provides legal protection for your brand.
- Aids in the prevention of counterfeiting and fraud.
A common misconception is that having a trademark gives you legal ownership of a specific word or phrase and allows you to prevent others from using it. However, you do not have rights to the word or phrase in general; rather, you have rights to how that word or phrase is used in conjunction with your specific goods or services. Learn more…
Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights
Intellectual property includes trademarks, patents, and copyrights. The USPTO is in charge of granting patents and registering trademarks. The Library of Congress’s U.S. Copyright Office registers copyrights.
A Brand or a Trademark
A brand is a marketing concept that includes how customers perceive your product or service. Customers associate certain elements, such as reputation, image, and emotion, with various brands. For example, a certain brand may have been created to make you feel more confident, calm, or secure.
A federal trademark registration, on the other hand, can provide your brand with nationwide legal protection in connection with specific goods or services. It is entirely up to you whether to seek trademark protection for your brand.
Many business owners choose to safeguard their brand names for their most important or dominant goods or services. If you have a slogan or logo for those goods or services, you may want to protect it. Learn more…
Look through the Trademark Database.
Before applying, you should check the USPTO’s trademark database (Trademark Electronic Search System, or TESS) to see if any of the following trademarks have already been registered or applied for:
- Is similar to your trademark.
- Is used on related products or for related services; and
- Is currently in use.
Because it creates a likelihood of confusion, a trademark that meets all three criteria will prevent your trademark from being registered.
If you have successfully searched for a word or logo trademark and found nothing similar in the TESS database, your search is not over. You have simply determined that there is no registered trademark in the United States that matches yours. You should also look into other resources, such as the internet, to see if another similar trademark is being used in commerce. Conduct a search now!
The Scope of Trademark Protection
A trademark is always associated with the specific goods or services that are sold to customers who use that trademark. You cannot register a trademark for a word, phrase, symbol, or design unless you specifically identify the goods or services being used. Your trademark is not limited to a sole product or service. It can be applied to a wide range of goods and services, including both goods and services. Learn more…
Strong Brand Names
It is critical to have a strong, inherently distinctive trademark. This means that your trademark identifies you as the source of your goods or services quickly and clearly. The more powerful your trademark, the easier it will be to prevent others from using it without your permission. Weak trademarks can be difficult and costly to defend because they lack the legal protections afforded to stronger trademarks. Learn more…
Registration at the Federal, State, and International levels
It is entirely up to you how you protect your trademark. You are not required to register your trademark, but where you choose to register your trademark can affect the scope of your rights. You can, for example, rely on common law rights or register a trademark with a state, federal, or international agency. Find Out More…
Rights Under Common Law
If you haven’t filed for state or federal registration, your trademark is only protected if you use it in commerce within a specific geographic area. This restricts your rights because you can only enforce your trademark rights in the area where your trademark is used.
How long does it take to sign up?
Many factors influence how long it takes to register a trademark. In fact, there is no guarantee that your trademark will ever be registered, as it could be denied for a variety of legal reasons. Typically, the process takes between 12 and 18 months.
The process of registering your trademark is a lengthy one that involves your application going through several stages. Understanding each stage of the process will help you understand why obtaining a trademark takes so long. Learn more…
Online Trademark Resources
MyUSPTO is your personalized homepage and access point to all of your USPTO records. It gives you a safe place to actively manage your intellectual property portfolio, with quick access to search, file, and status functions. You can even sign up to receive email notifications when the status of your application changes.
Sign in to your uspto.gov account to access and customize your MyUSPTO page. To access MyUSPTO, you must first create an account at uspto.gov. If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up for one for free. Learn more…