Businesses work hard to build a brand that customers will instantly recognize, either when they hear the business’s name or see their logo. McDonald’s is easily identifiable by its golden arches and Nike for its swoosh. Both the golden arches and the swoosh, powerful icons, are federally trademarked. Obtaining a federal trademark for your business name or logo is essential if you want to ensure that no other business or individual can use your name or logo.
1. Consider the benefits of obtaining a federal trademark. In addition to providing proof that you legally own the brand name, a federal trademark will also make the process of applying for a trademark in other countries much easier.
2. Go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office‘s website to determine if your brand name or logo is already trademarked by searching the Trademark Electronic Search System. You can also search trademarks in person at the United States Patent and Trademark Office located in Alexandria, Virginia.
3. Complete the trademark application online at the Patent and Trademark Office website, which is available to users 24 hours a day. If you prefer to complete a paper trademark application, call the Patent and Trademark Office at (800) 786-9199.
4. Provide evidence with your application that you have used the trademark or that, at some time in the future, you intend to use the trademark. The Patent and Trademark Office requires that you fill out an application that states your intent to use the trademark and, once you have begun using the trademark, which you must do before your trademark is officially registered, you will have to complete the Allegation of Use form.
5. Call (800) PT0-9199 or view the trademark fee schedule at the Patent and Trademark Office website. You can pay the trademark filing fee by check, credit card or money order.
6. Mail your trademark application, if you have opted not to apply for the trademark online to the Commissioner for Trademarks at P.O. Box 1451 in Alexandria, VA 22313-1451.
7. Expect to wait a minimum of a year, sometimes several years or more, for your trademark to be officially registered. You can keep track of the progress of your trademark by using the status database at the Patent and Trademark Office’s website.