How do I File a Trademark?

G. Wiesen

To file a trademark, you should first begin by establishing a name for your company or organization. You should do a trademark search for that name to ensure that a competing business does not already have a trademark on it before you develop your trademark. It is then a good idea to use your name or logo you wish to trademark in a professional way so you establish it as an “in use” trademark. You can then file a trademark with the appropriate government agency in your country to gain greater legal protection of your mark.

Part of an application to register a trademark.
Part of an application to register a trademark.

A trademark is a form of ownership for intellectual property regarding the identity of a business. It can be used to protect the name of a company, a logo the company uses, and similar identifiers for particular goods or services that company offers. Before you file a trademark for registration, you should develop the name and any logo you may want to use. You should also do a search of registered trademarks to be sure your preferred name has not already been trademarked for a similar purpose.

Before you file a trademark you can use it on products your company produces or to advertise services you provide. To actually register a trademark in the US, you should begin by filling out the necessary paperwork needed to file. This typically includes your name, the name and address of the company for correspondence, a depiction of the mark known as the “drawing,” details of how the mark will be used, the basis for filing the trademark, a specimen of its use when applicable, and your signature. To sign the paperwork you must be an appropriate representative of your company or an attorney hired for this purpose.

When you file a trademark for registration, you will need to provide a depiction of the mark, known as the “drawing.” The depiction typically consists of one of two types: a “standard character” drawing or a “stylized or special form” drawing. Standard character drawings consist simply of a name that is being used, without regard to any specific coloration, font, or style of the letters used. A stylized or special form, on the other hand, is a specific way in which the name or logo is being used to file a trademark for registration. If you just wish to trademark a name, for example, you would use a standard character drawing, while a company logo or special way of depicting that name would use the stylized form.

To file a trademark you also have to indicate the goods or services the trademark is meant to cover. You cannot simply trademark a name to be used however you wish, but instead must indicate a specific use, such as “manufacturing car alarms” or “for use on t-shirts.” The application also requires that you indicate if it is a trademark currently “in use” in commerce or one you intend to use in the near future as a basis for filing. You should also provide a specimen of the trademark in use, such as on packaging for a product or an advertisement for your services. There is also a fee required to file a trademark and you will need to pay this fee when you file your paperwork.

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