As an entrepreneur, business leader, or innovator, you will always be on guard to ensure that a third party or no one steals your ideas and innovations. One of the best ways to promote your business interest is trademarking your idea, invention, words, or company logo.
This is where the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an agency that collects registration requests, reviews, and approves trademark applications. You can submit applications to register: traditional marks such as word, design, and combination marks; non-traditional or non-visual marks such as color, shape and configuration, sound, scent, flavor, touch, and motion marks; collective marks; and certification marks. However, there is a due process involved in trademarking, but here’s a step-by-step and stress-free guide to help you navigate it.
Search and Clear The Trademark
Not everyone has invented something or wants to open up a new business enterprise trademark on their product or services. Still, in a situation where you have decided to take the step to get your idea trademarked, you need to be sure that you’re not in mark competition with others, maybe in terms of logo, wordings, color, shape, and configuration.
The most reliable way to avoid this is to research a public database (free and paid ) or the Trademark Electronic Search System database. The search process is to help you narrow down if there are marks similar to yours and already in use, so you would know how to proceed. However, when you discover that your signature is not in use after crawling through all available online databases using several keyword searches, you can move to the next stage in the process to get your commerce or brand trademarked.
Hire A Trademark Attorney
While registering for a trademark, the need to hire a trademark attorney cannot be underscored. Why? They are well-equipped for the job and can help you through the process. For instance, when you discover a similar mark during the search process, a trademark attorney can provide you with legal advice on going back to the drawing board, changing your mark format, and other solutions that would earn you trademark approval.
According to the folks at https://www.camutilaw.com/trademark, a trademark lawyer offers you streamlined services such as trademark searches, preparation, and filing of applications and service marks, all of which is a stress-free way to get your trademark approval. But, a trademark attorney is not limited to that alone. They come in handy when you need to respond to office actions after USPTO denies your registration, and you need to respond to it or have to maintain your trademark registration to avoid losing it.
Preparing and Filing Trademark Application
You must be sure that your trademark is unique and meets the USPTO’s Principal Register requirements before you proceed to fill your application document. The USPTO uses a digitized system called the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) to fill the application.
The TEAS is where all applicants, including attorneys, register on behalf of their clients. When compiling the documents you need for your application, it should include evidence identifying the type of goods or services your brand will be serving. For instance, will the brand only focus on apparel, or will it include accessories? State it in your application. Ensure that while filing the online database form a basis for filing the trademark, whether it is use-based or an intent to use application. A use-based application means the brand is already in business for particular goods or services, while a dream-to-use option means you haven’t used it yet but have plans to do so shortly.
Submit Your Trademark Application and Monitor The Status
Someone should duly note that there is an application fee to be paid before submission of your trademark registration with TEAS. After you have confirmed that all the details provided are correct, paid the cost, and submitted, the USPTO will acknowledge its receipt by issuing you a serial number which you can use to monitor the process by accessing its Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR).
The USPTO will assign an examining attorney for your trademark application who will review the information provided in your application. Still, it can take between 3-6 months to get a verdict from the officer. However, in a situation where you hear back from the USPTO with the examining attorney issuing a denial of registration with reasons for the decision, it is called an office action. At this point, you need a trademark attorney to help you prepare a response to plead your case.
Follow Up Trademark Approval With Statement of Use
However, if your trademark is approved, it will be published in the USPTO’s Official Gazette. If there is no opposition to the mark, then the agency will register it, and you will get a certificate of registration after the process is completed. Mind you, if you filed an intent to use the application, you will receive a Notice of Allowance from USPTO and be obliged to file a statement of use within six months with evidence that the mark is in use.
Registering a trademark can become relatively easy when you take your time to follow the steps discussed in this article.