How to Get a Trademark in Kentucky

by Lori Lapidario
TM is the symbol for trademark.

TM is the symbol for trademark.

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From the McDonald's golden arches to the Nike swoosh, trademarks are a crucial tool in protecting the public identity of a product or company. A trademark is a word, combination of words, symbol or device that is used in commerce in association with a product. A service mark is a word, combination of words, symbol or device that is used in commerce in association with a service. For maximum protection, a Kentucky company can register its trademark with the state and federal government.

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Trademark Basics

In Kentucky, as in other states, a business acquires trademark rights through the actual use of the mark in commerce and not through its registration. Registration, however, provides public notice throughout the state of your claim to ownership of the trademark. Trademark registration also gives the owner an advantage when it becomes necessary to enforce its claim on the mark in court due to infringement issues. Before you can register a trademark, you must be using it in the marketplace.

Trademarks Have Set Terms

Trademark registrations in Kentucky are effective for five years and may be renewed by filing the renewal application six months before the current registration expires.

Applying for a Trademark Registration

In order to apply for a trademark registration in Kentucky, you will need to obtain a Trademark/Service Mark Application form from the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office website by clicking on "Business Filings," and then on "Trademark/Service Marks" link on the left side of the webpage. Completely fill out the application form. Under question 10 (a), provide the date when the mark was used in commerce outside of the state of Kentucky. Under question 10(b), provide the date when the mark was used in commerce in the state of Kentucky. Question 12 will be answered on page 2 by providing a drawing of what the mark looks like. The application will need to be signed in the presence of a notary public.

Samples of Use

You must provide three copies of a sample of the logo with the application. The samples may be a label of the product or photos of the mark on the products or packaging. For service marks, the samples may be brochures, photos of signage or screen shots of the applicant’s webpage. Mail the original application with the drawing page, specimens or samples, and filing fee to: Secretary of State, Trademark Division, P.O. Box 718, Frankfort, KY 40602-0718.