How to Register a Trademark
According the United States Patent and Trademark Office a trademark is a phrase or design the distinguishes the goods and services from one party from that of another. Corporate logo's such as the golden arches and Nike swoosh are trademarks but also phrases such as Just Do It and I'm loving It are also trademarked. Patents which are related to inventions and copyrights which are used for works such as book, websites and music are often confused with trademarks.
Make Sure You Have Unique Material that can be Trademarked
The most common reason trademarks are denied is because they information the applicant files does not function as a trademark usually because it's a generic name of a product. There are a list of some of the most common reasons that trademark are denied on the USTPO's website which include trademarks that are immoral, scandalous, contain a connection with a public figure without their consent, any part of a government insignia flag or design which includes the United States Flag or the trademark closely resembles another trademark that could cause confusion or be deceiving.
If your trademark meets all these qualifications it is highly recommended you register it. You can do business without a trademark but registering your trademark has its advantages. The biggest advantage from registering your trademark is you can protect your trademark by going to court if someone else infringes or uses your trademark without your permission. You can also protect your trademark internationally by filling out an international
As soon as you come up with an idea for a trademark the very first step would be to make sure that no one else is already using your idea. There are a few ways to check, The first way is to check The United States Patent and Trademark Office's searchable database yourself however with the number of registered trademarks it could be time consuming. You can also check in person at the local Public Search Facility. It is important to make sure that your trademark is not used because if you fill out your application and your trademark is the same or similar to a trademark that is already registered you will get denied
Fill Out The Application
The currently the basic filing fee is $330 and must be paid before when your form is submitted. Along with basic information about yourself there are a few things that your application must contain. When you submit your application if your trademark is a logo or design you must submit a drawing with your application. There are two ways to file your application. You can fill out the application online which is much quicker or you can fill out the paper version and mail it to the USPTO If you fill the application out on-line at the USTPO's website upon completing the application you are emailed a serial number. If you mailing the forms in it takes two weeks for them to mail your serial number. You can use your serial number to check the status of your trademark request. They recommend you check every six months.
Either way you file your application it usually takes 6 months from the time you file your federal application form to hear a response if there are no legal issues with you application. However some application run into problems and take several years for the trademark to be completely processed.
Registered trademarks are good for ten years from the registration date, however trademarks can be renewed by filling out a renewal application.