Registering a trademark is an important part of your business’ legal protection and your brand’s marketing strategy. In fact, all small businesses should learn how to register a trademark! That being said, you don’t need to hire a lawyer or pay expensive attorney’s fees to register your trademark. Instead, working with a registered legal document assistant (LDA) is a great way to save money and get the help you need.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a recognizable, unique symbol, image, or text that represents your brand. In other words, a trademark is a piece of intellectual property that makes your business distinguishable from others. For example, the Starbucks logo is a trademark. Likewise, the brand name “Coca-Cola” is a trademark. Ultimately, we select goods and services every day based solely on trademarks, so they play an extremely important role for businesses large and small.

Why Should I Register a Trademark?

Believe it or not, registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is not legally required. Instead, once you associate a logo, symbol, or name with your brand in a visible and representative manner, a common law trademark automatically protects it. For example, wrapping your product in tissue paper marked with a symbol and adding your logo to your website are both concrete ways of associating your trademark with your brand.

That said, registered trademarks provide legal protection that common law trademarks do not. More specifically, federal registered trademarks:

  • Provide nationwide protection, while common law trademarks only protect you in a small geographical area;
  • Notify the public of your intellectual property;
  • Include your intellectual property in the USPTO databases;
  • Give you the right to use the federal “R” registered symbol; and
  • Allow you to bring intellectual property lawsuits to court

If you’re interested in learning how to register a trademark and want to avoid high attorney’s fees, consult our step-by-step guide to registering your logo, symbol, or brand name with the USPTO.

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How to Register a Trademark With an LDA

1. Choose a Trademark

The logo, symbol, and/or name that you choose for your business should be representative of your goods or services. Additionally, it should be recognizable and eye-catching, yet simple.

However, before selecting and using a trademark for your business, you should conduct personal research to ensure it is distinguishable from other existing intellectual property. For example, if you select a name for your business that is already trademarked in the state of California, you may have a hard time registering that trademark. Likewise, choosing a trademark too similar to an existing logo or symbol within the same industry as your business will cause major problems.

2. Conduct a Trademark Search

To ensure your logo or symbol is totally unique, you should conduct a trademark search. This research is important as it could save you from attempting to register a trademark that is already taken. In other words, it could save you the cost of re-paying filing fees.

Luckily, the USPTO provides a free service called TESS, or the Trademark Electronic Search System. However, note that TESS will only display federally registered trademarks. As a result, you should also conduct extensive Google searches to ensure your desired trademark is not already protected by common law. Finally, remember that the USPTO will conduct their own official research once you submit your registration application.

3. Work With an LDA to File Your Initial Application Form

The USPTO utilizes an online service called the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). When filling out TEAS, business owners must be sure to accurately describe the goods and services their business provides. Furthermore, TEAS requires additional statements for marks that are:

  • Already registered under a different owner;
  • In color;
  • Designs or stylized fonts;
  • Non-English words or non-Latin characters;
  • Depictions of a living person;
  • Already in use in other geographical locations

As you can see, registering a trademark is not necessarily the most straightforward process. For example, you must submit images and stylized font in JPG format. Furthermore, there are many opportunities for errors, including missing required fields. Therefore, working with a legal document assistant is a great way to avoid these mistakes as well as paying the application fee more than once.

4. Check Your Status

Five to seven days following submission of your application, you can use the USPTO’s Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system to check the status of your registration. Additionally, at this point you will have the opportunity to fix some errors in your application, if you have made any. However, note that not all errors may be correctable and some may require a new application.

Why Work with A People’s Choice?

If you are starting a business and would like help filling out the necessary forms for state registration, intellectual property protection, or other legal requirements, contact A People’s Choice. We provide quality and affordable non-attorney assistance.

A People’s Choice has been providing self-help legal document services for over 35 years and has established an excellent reputation in the community. When you are ready to go ahead with your paperwork, you can provide us with your information through our convenient online system, over the phone, or in person.

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A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!

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