Once you have created a strong trademark, it’s important to also obtain the legal benefit of trademark protection. While individuals and businesses aren’t required to have trademark protection, you leave yourself vulnerable to copycats and have little recourse for taking legal actions if you don’t file for protection. When you register a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, no one else can use your trademark.
In addition to strengthening your ownership claim, if you’re faced with a legal challenge, registering a trademark in the U.S. also paves the way for gaining trademark protection in other countries.
Steps to take to effectively register your trademark
There are a number of steps you will need to take before receiving trademark protection, including:
- Reviewing trademark records: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office maintains a database of all registered trademarks. You should perform a search to ensure your idea for a trademark isn’t already in use.
- Determining your trademark category: There are various trademark classifications; you will need to choose the proper category for your trademark.
- Filing your trademark application: You can do this online.
- Seeking international registration: This will help you assert ownership outside of the U.S.
- Determining the registration fee: There are various fees for trademark applications; these fees vary depending on the type of protection that you are seeking.
- Show don’t tell: It’s essential to include an example of your trademark with your application. A written description will get you nowhere.
The application approval process can take several months to complete. Once your application has been approved, your trademark will be protected for 10 years. Once the deadline expires, you will have to renew the trademark.
A skilled attorney can help guide you through this process
As you can see, the trademark registration process involves many steps. An experience intellectual property lawyer can help you through this process one step at a time and help you avoid any potential application rejections or other frustrations you may encounter.