Any logo, symbol, design, phrase or word you use to refer to your brand and set your business apart from competitors constitutes a trademark. Once you start using the trademark to represent your company’s product or service, you own the mark. You also have the right to seek federal registration of the trademark.
Determine whether your trademark qualifies for registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and review the reasons for federal registration.
Guidelines for registration
To be eligible for federal trademark registration, a mark must:
- Not be deceptive or misleading to the public
- Not be likely to cause customer confusion
- Go beyond simply describing products and services
- Be more than a geographic description or last name
When naming a new business, consider choosing a name that fits the USPTO guidelines for trademark registration.
Advantages of federal trademark registration
You own your trademark simply by using the mark in commerce. However, federal registration carries distinct benefits, including:
- Sole right to use the mark within your industry
- Ownership presumption in courts throughout the U.S.
- Public notice of your ownership of the mark
Having USPTO registration makes it easier to defend your trademark if a competitor begins using a similar mark.
Trademark registration process
Before filing a federal trademark application, you must research the mark to make sure no other business in your industry uses a similar mark. When you are ready to start the process, you can do so online.
Your application must include a filing fee, which ranges from $250 to $350 depending on the characteristics of your trademark.