A trademark is a symbol, a word or a phrase that is used to define the source of goods from others similar. Owning a trademark has its advantages. A registered trademark prevents the product from being copied by another similar product. Trademark registration is not a very easy process. It needs one to be patient and thorough. This process can be undergone with or without involving a trademark lawyer. Let us have a look at the processes involved.
Searching for a Conflicting Mark
Once you have come up with a unique product name, you must make sure that the name is not being used on another product similar to the one you want to use it on. You can do this by searching the Patent and Trademark Office website to make sure it is not in use and it is not applied for. If it is being used already, you can talk to a trademark attorney who will find out whether your name is different enough to the one being used. On the other hand, if you find that the name is not in use, you can proceed with the registration. The Patent and Trademark Office has strict conditions for all trademark names. For instance, a name that merely describes a product or service will not be registered.
Filling the Paperwork
In this step, you are required to pay a fee. The fee however depends on a number of factors. The first factor is the number of marks. The second factor is the number of classes in which the marks fall whereas the third factor is the version(s) of the form you use. Even if the registration is not accepted, the fee paid is not refunded.
Once the registration is accepted, it is published in the weekly Official Gazette to give another party who might think that your mark might destroy theirs 30 days to file an opposition. If within the thirty days no one protests, then your mark is a trademark(TM).
Receiving the Notice of Allowance
Once the above steps are finished during trademark registration, you are supposed to receive a Notice of Allowance within a period of 12 weeks after your mark has been registered in the Official Gazette. You will then be given 6 months to have used the mark in commerce. This means that a product with the mark will have been sold (you will be required to give a statement of use). If you feel like you need more time to sell the product, there is fee you can pay to have a six months extension.
Filing the Statement of Use
This involves providing evidence that products are selling having your mark. This completes the trademark registration because it moves the mark from just being a mark with a TM to a fully registered trademark. All said and done, trademark registration is not a very big deal but as we had discussed earlier, it needs patience. Now you know everything about trademark registration that you never knew about.