First order of business, know that in order to trademark your company name you must first be planning to use it for commercial purposes.
Also your name must be distinctive to your firm, and not a generic type of name like ACME Cleaners.
If you want to register your trademark with the federal government you need to do some research to be certain that another company is not already using your name for their business.
Only after you, or your attorney, have determined that no other company has trademarked your intended name can you file an registration application.
It is a complex process that must be done correctly or else you could lose the use of your business name. I suggest you use a low-price online legal service for your trademark registration. Save money with this Legal Zoom promo code coupon.
Trademark Name Restrictions
You are granted the exclusive right to use certain words, phrases, symbols or designs to identify your business with your trademark registration. These are identifying features that mark your company and goods as different and separate from your competitors products.
In order to trademark a name you must be using it “in commerce” as per the USPTO, United States Patent and Trademark Office, either currently in sales transactions or have intention to use it commercially in the near future.
Protection via trademarks are only granted to distinctive names and logos. Basic generic names will not qualify for trademark status because they are too common and in market-wide usage already.
The strongest company names are ones that are created terms such as Microsoft, which was not a word until it was devised as the brand name. Product names can also be trademarked such as those with distinctive names that describe a products benefits such as Easy-Off oven cleaner.
Many trademark applications for registration are rejected because there is deemed by government officials that there is a “likelihood of confusion” with another previously registered trademark or one that is pending application approval.
In these cases usually one or both of these conditions exist; the two company marks (names and logos) are similar in look or words and they are used on related goods and services from the same industry.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office take the issue of consumer confusion very seriously and will reject trademark registration applications if they suspect it will create marketplace confusion between companies.
Your trademark application needs to detail the kind of goods and services you will use this trademark on.
Trademarking a name is a three-step process detailed below:
Step 1 – Trademark Name Search
You must check if there are potential conflicting applications or approvals in the trademark database before you complete and submit your application.
Use basic research strings in the USPTO database to match your business name. Experiment with the word order and different spellings to check all possible issues before you submit for trademark.
Continue to a more thorough search to include state directories of business registrations and online directories to find those firms that are currently using similar names but have not formally registered their trademarks. Even if they did not file applications they have protection for that name under state and common laws which may cause lawsuits and issues later on.
Step 2 – Application Filing
After you have determined that your name is available you must file an application with the USPTO. You can apply online by using the Trademark Electronic Application System.
However, I recommend that you use a good online legal services to complete and file this paperwork. If you do opt to do it yourself be sure to include; your name and address, the business name you want to trademark, your basis for filing which will be in commerce and include a specimen of your product label or package with your company name and logo.
Your filing fee will be between $225-325 per class of goods or services.
Step 3 – Office Actions – Oppositions or Approvals
Your application will be reviewed by examining attorney at the USPTO. If deemed acceptable it will be published in the online Official Gazette to give other people an opportunity to oppose your application. If there is any opposition you may need legal help to get to a good resolution.
If there is no opposition, or any opposition is resolved, then you will get a Notice of Allowance indicating that you trademark has been formally registered and you can begin to use it with the registered trademark symbol R.