How to Nationally Trademark a Name

By Karyn Maier

A trademark demonstrates the exclusive right to use a specific mark in trade or commerce. The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines a mark as a symbol, design, word or name or any combination thereof. Although the right to use a trademarked name is established through legitimate use in business, national registration provides additional benefits such as the right to bring legal action against unauthorized use of the name.

A trademark demonstrates the exclusive right to use a specific mark in trade or commerce. The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines a mark as a symbol, design, word or name or any combination thereof. Although the right to use a trademarked name is established through legitimate use in business, national registration provides additional benefits such as the right to bring legal action against unauthorized use of the name.

Step 1

Determine eligibility of the name for national trademark registration. A name is eligible for trademark registration based on its use in lawful commerce or trade between states or with a foreign country. Specifically, the name must appear on goods or products transported or sold, or used in the sale or advertising of a service.

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Step 2

Identify the type of trademark registration needed. If the name is used to render a service, then a service mark registration may be in order. Although the word “trademark” is a blanket term used to refer to service marks and trademarks, it technically pertains to the use of a name as it relates to a product and the former refers to the use of a name in providing a service. A scenario in which a service mark applies is a musical group that uses a name to advertise and sell tickets to a live performance. However, the application process to register on the national principal register is the same for both trademarks and service marks.

Step 3

Search the Trademark Electronic Search System online database, or TESS, to make sure no one else has claimed the name as a trademark. Your search will locate previously registered trademarks, if any, as well as pending applications for registration.

Step 4

Use the Trademark Electronic Application System, or TEAS, to complete and file a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office online. Your application fee will vary depending on factors such as how you file your application and how many classes you select.

Step 5

Check on the status of your application with the online Trademark Application and Registration Retrieval system, or TARR, every 3 months. If the trademark office has taken any action on your application that requires a response, be sure to comply promptly.

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How to Obtain a Trademark for a Food Recipe

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How to Trademark a Clothing Label

A clothing label builds its reputation based on its name, logo and designs. The clothing label must choose a name that will easily become a recognizable trademark. Both the name and logo function as trademarks to identify the clothing label's products and distinguish them from those offered by other clothing labels. The name and logo often work together, as we often see with top fashion designer brands and labels. A strong name and logo need to be protected from both trademark infringement and being diluted. Both federal and state registration provide trademark protections.

How to Trademark a Catchphrase

A catchphrase is a slogan or tagline that identifies a person, group or business. Often introduced into pop culture by a memorable line spoken in film or on television, a catchphrase is “catchy” because the association with a product, service or personality is indelible. It’s a unique signature – as long as no one else has used it previously. Although your catchphrase is protected as soon as you begin using it for business, registering offers additional protection.

How to Fill in Your Electronic Trademark Application

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) accepts electronic trademark registration applications online for trademark names, logos, slogans, images and other unique marks. The trademark must consist of an original mark, such as a word, sign, symbol or design. The trademark must also be used to identify the company’s products or services offered in the marketplace and to distinguish the company’s product or services from its competitors. Once the trademark is used in association with the product in commercial trade, the trademark automatically qualifies for basic trademark protection within the United States. Federal trademark registration is optional.

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