What are trademarks?
Trademarks are a way of registering your slogan, logo, system, process or title with the government to prevent others, including your competitors, from using your ideas. Trademarks can be filed at the state and at the federal level. A state trademark protects you within the borders of your state, while a federal trademark protects you in the entire United States. If you have a multi-state business, you should obtain a federal trademark.
How do I get one?
To obtain a trademark, you file an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application requests information about you, your business and the mark itself. You need to have examples of the mark (or slogan), as well as examples of how you use the mark or slogan in your business. Some common examples include: business cards, advertising materials, websites and social media pages.
The application will ask you to assign a class to your mark. The class is the general category of your business – such as food or spiritual growth or clothing.
Once you submit the application and pay the filing fee, the application is reviewed by an attorney who works for the USPTO. If they have any questions or concerns about your mark, they will send a letter requesting additional information. Once any and all concerns are addressed, an official notice of your mark will be filed in the Federal Register. The USPTO will issue your official mark if there are no objections. The entire process can take anywhere from 3 months to more than 2 years – it depends on how busy the USPTO is at the time of filing, the number of amendments that are requested to your application, and a host of other factors.
What are the fees?
The initial filing fee is $225 (for online filing). Most amendments require an additional fee of $100. For this reason, I prefer to have as much information as possible before submitting the initial application. My firm completes trademarks for a flat fee of $1,000, which can be broken up into 2 or 3 payments if needed.. This includes the search for conflicting marks, the initial filing fee and any work done on your behalf to complete the application for your mark. It also includes all additional filings, agreements and other work needed.
Why do I want one?
5 reasons you need a trademark
- Trademarks provide a strong legal foundation for your intellectual property rights
- Trademarks protect you and your business from others infringing on your ideas
- If there is a dispute over the rights to a mark or slogan, a trademark puts you in a stronger legal position.
- Protecting your ideas at this level signifies to others that you are serious about your business
- Being protected in this way gives you more confidence. You feel secure and safe, knowing your ideas are protected.
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