Are you ready to register your company’s name? Creating a trademark for your company’s name and logo legitimizes your business. It also ensures that the name can’t be used by another company. Registering your trademark is quick and easy. Click here to learn how to file a trademark online.
Have you just started a new business? How exciting!
But how do you make your new company’s name yours and prevent others from using it? You have to file a trademark.
But where do you even start? If this is your first time, don’t worry. Although this process might seem daunting and scary, it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve put together some tips and tricks on how to file a trademark for your new business so you’re not overwhelmed.
Think of this as the quick cheat-sheet. Keep reading and you’ll be off filing your new trademark in no time.
What Exactly is A Trademark?
Don’t worry. If you’re asking yourself this question, you’re on the right track.
A trademark is a logo, design, phrase or symbol that’s used to indicate your product or service.
This is the symbol or phrase that when people see or hear it, they should immediately think of your business. A trademark is essentially your calling card in the consumer’s eyes.
Why Do You Need One?
You may be wondering why you need to file a trademark. Isn’t it the same thing as registering your business name with your state?
We’re glad you asked.
The short answer is, no. A trademark and registering your business name aren’t the same.
When you go to register a business name with your state department, they’ll check to make sure that it’s not in use by another business.
When this has cleared with approval, you’re now able to use that name within your state. No one else can use your name in your state. If you only register your business name and don’t trademark it, someone could take your name and trademark it.
Trade-marking a name, logo or phrase is an action that occurs on a federal level. Basically, once someone trademarks something, no one else can use it in the entire country. So if you only register your business name with the state, you’re leaving your company vulnerable to someone trademarking it and forcing you to rename your business.
To avoid this potential future mix-up, it’s best practice to both register your business name and file for a trademark.
What Should It Look Like?
By now you know that you need a trademark.
But before you even file a trademark, you have to have one! What should it look like? What permanent symbol or phrase do you want your business to be recognized by?
There are some cardinal rules when it comes to creating your perfect trademark.
You should never include offensive terms or phrases in your trademark. Even if they’re in a foreign language, they’ll still be flagged and won’t receive approval. In general, phrases and symbols that are offensive to the overall public shouldn’t be included in your business plan.
When creating a trademark you should also avoid generalities. Do everything you can to avoid generic words.
For example, if you’re selling computers you’re not going to name your business “Computer Store”.
Take that example and apply it to your business. Creating a trademark is a great opportunity to showcase your business’s creativity and vision. The more distinctive and unique your mark is, the more chance you’ll have of it being approved.
If you’re still finding that you’re stumped coming up with a trademark that really captures your business, you can also seek out the help of a trademark attorney.
They’ll be more up-to-date with trademark laws, what you should and shouldn’t include, and what marks are available.
How Do You File A Trademark?
Actually filing for a trademark is something that can be done online and usually within 90 minutes.
Before actually filing for a trademark, it’s a good idea to make sure no one is already using it.
Check out the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to make sure your potential trademark isn’t already in use.
After you’ve checked and no one else is using it, head on over to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website. From there you can find the portion of the website dedicated to getting your trademark filed.
There will be questions regarding the services and products your selling, when you’ll start to use the trademark within a commerce arena and whether or not there’s a design aspect of the trademark.
To make the process of filing a trademark swifter and smoother, have a game plan prior. Take some time to think about these questions and have answers prepared before you even check out the TESS website.
Things to Keep In Mind
Keep in mind that filing a trademark can cost anywhere from $270 to $325. Be prepared to pay these fees when filing your trademark.
Another thing to be aware of is the time frame in which trademarks are usually filed. As soon as you file for your trademark online, you should hear within six months if yours has been approved or not.
If your trademark looks anything even remotely close to another business or organization’s trademark, it might make sense to seek out a specialist. Look to a trademark lawyer on how to move forward with yours.
If you can prevent being rejected because of a similarity to another trademark, you’ll want to take the extra precaution and advice. When drafting and sketching your trademark, make it as unique and distinct as possible.
Time to File!
There you have it!
You now know how to file a trademark and the process included. Trademarks are crucial in creating and increasing the longevity of your brand so it’s important to spend as much time and energy as necessary.
Don’t rush this process and enjoy the journey of creating a trademark. Starting a business is a big deal and your trademark should get the same amount of effort and energy as your business plan.
If, after all of this information, you still feel like the idea of filing a trademark is daunting don’t worry! We’re here to help.
If not, it’s time. You’ve arrived and ready to spread your newly developed baby butterfly-trademark wings.
Have fun creating and filing!