When I consult with people about trademarks, one of the biggest questions they have is about the process itself. Unlike say, a business license or registering an LLC, a trademark does not happen overnight. There’s a process involved.
While the process can seem to be lengthy and complicated — that’s where I step in and provide my experience to help clients navigate what may seem to be a murky depth. The good thing though, is that even though the process is long, your mark is protected during the process.
Essentially, there are five steps to the process:
Before I file an application, I need information from you — your basics (name, address, phone number) and information about what you want to trademark and how you currently use your logo or slogan in your business.
Once I have received all of the information, I file the application. Part of the application asks me to identify the industry in which you use the mark. I also provide evidence of how you use the mark in your business. There is a $225 filing fee charged by the USPTO for each filed application.
This when, if you haven’t already started, you need to use the “TM” symbol after your mark.
3. Review by the US Patent and Trademark Office
Once your application is filed, the USPTO takes over. An examining attorney reviews the application for errors or questions. They may ask me to clarify something — such as the colors in a logo. They may ask for additional items showing how you use the mark in your business. If this happens, I will notify you and follow up for your response.
Your mark is then published in the Federal Register. Other people have an opportunity to object to the registration of your mark, showing that they use the mark as well. If this were to happen, there would be additional filings required so that the USPTO could determine which party should be entitled to register the mark.
Once any objections are resolved — or if no objections are filed — the mark officially registers and receives a registration number. Your registration certificate is mailed out and your mark is official. You may now use the “R” in a circle after your mark.
The whole process can take as little as 6 months and as long as 2 years, depending on the number of issues raised and your own responsiveness if the USPTO asks for additional information..