How to File for a Trademark

You’re getting ready to start a new business. You have your business plan, you have your capital prepared, you have a lease all ready to go, and now you need to make sure that no one imitates your brand. The way to go about that is to register a trademark. That way, no one else can imitate or impersonate you. But how do you file for a trademark? And what if you find out the trademark you’ve been using is already registered? Working with a trademark attorney will help you navigate any specific problems that may arise, but for a general overview of the process read on.

First Steps

The very first thing you need to do when you file a trademark is to come up with a trademark. Let’s say you’re a barbecue restaurant with the name Swiney Todd. You might want to trademark the name of the business as well as its logo, a pig walking on its hind legs and holding a straight razor. The next thing you need to do is identify the mark format; is it a character mark, a stylized mark, or a sound mark? In our case, the business name would be a character mark and the logo a stylized one. Next, you should perform a search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s online database to see if anyone else has had an idea similar to yours. Looking at the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), no one else has a trademark similar to Swiney Todd, which is good because it means our application will likely not be rejected after we file for this trademark. The next step is to decide what our filing basis is. Swiney Todd is already an up-and-coming barbecue restaurant, so we would file on a commercial basis. If we weren’t, it would be under an intent to use basis. For those who file a trademark for an active business from overseas, the basis would be foreign registration. 

Next Steps

Now that you know what trademarks you want to file, the basis for filing them, and that there is no other trademark similar to yours, the next step is to set up an account at USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System and fill out the necessary information for your application, including drawings of the business name, Swiney Todd, and the pig mascot. Once it has been submitted, you can track the progress of the claim on their website. It will be reviewed by a USPTO attorney, who will see if you meet the requirements to hold the trademark. From there they will either approve the application, or reject it. If they reject it, you can respond to their rejection. These are the basic steps for filing a trademark. If you have any questions or would like help with the process, please be sure to contact a lawyer, like one from Mughal Law Firm, PLLC.

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