Frequently Asked Questions

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from those of others.

A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes a service rather than a product.

Why register a trademark?

Owning a federally registered trademark provides several important benefits, including:

  • Public notice of your claim of ownership of the trademark
  • The exclusive right to use the trademark nationwide in connection with the goods or
    services listed in the registration
  • You can sue in federal court to enforce your trademark rights
  • Your U.S. registration can be used as a basis to obtain registration in foreign
  • You can file with U.S. Customs to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods
  • You have the right to use the federal registration symbol ®
  • Your trademark registration listed in the USPTO database

I’ve already incorporated my business. Why do I need to register a trademark?

It is a common misconception that incorporation of a business or filing of an LLC, partnership or DBA (doing business as) will provide trademark rights for the business name.

These business filings with your state do not provide any trademark rights and are not a substitute for federal trademark registration.

Should I register the name only or with the logo?

There are two trademark formats that can be registered:

(1)   The standard character format is used to register words, letters, numbers or any combination thereof, without claim to any particular style, size, or color, and without any design elements.

Registration of a name in the standard character format will provide the broadest legal rights, namely use of the trademark in any presentation, design, logo or color.

(2)   The stylized or design format is appropriate if you wish to register a trademark with a specific design and/or words or letters having a particular stylized appearance that you wish to protect.

Is it necessary to search for similar trademarks before filing an application?

It is advisable to conduct a search before filing your application to determine whether the same or similar mark has already been registered or if another application is pending.

Can I use the trademark symbols: tm, sm, and ®?

If you claim rights to use a trademark, you may use the “tm” (trademark) or “sm” (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim of ownership, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO.

However, you may only use the federal registration symbol “®” after the USPTO has registered the trademark, and not while an application is pending.

You may only use the registration symbol with the mark on or in connection with the goods or services listed in the trademark registration.

What is “interstate commerce”?

For goods, interstate commerce generally means sending the goods across state lines with the mark displayed on the goods or the packaging for those goods.

For services, interstate commerce involves offering a service to customers in another state or rendering a service that affects interstate commerce (restaurants, gas stations, hotels).

What is “use in commerce” and “intent to use”?

If you have already used your trademark in interstate commerce, you may file under the “use in commerce” basis.

If you have not yet used your mark in commerce, but intend to use it in the future, you can reserve the trademark for future use by filing under the “intent to use” basis. An “intent to use” basis will require filing an additional form and fee later during the registration process.

How do I know which class my trademark is in?

The USPTO categorizes goods and services into one of 45 international classes. Each class is a category for specific goods or services into which the USPTO places the trademark.

On the trademark application, you can just describe the nature of your goods or services and the USPTO will properly assign the correct class.

How do I sign the application?

We’ll send you an email with a link to your completed application. You electronically sign it by typing your name between two forward slashes.

For example: /john smith/

When do I pay the government filing fee?

For trademark registration with the USPTO, there is a government filing fee of $275.00 (or $325.00). For your convenience, we do not collect this filing fee from you.

Only once our service is complete and your application is being filed, will you then be required to submit the filing fee directly to the USPTO.

Can I register from outside the U.S.A.?

Yes. There is no requirement that the applicant be a U.S. citizen or resident. However, your citizenship must be provided in the application.

We have helped clients from all around the world with U.S. trademark registration.

Need more information?

See our Trademark Guide for more detailed information about trademark law and the trademark registration process.

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