How to Trademark a Name in Michigan

By Victoria McGrath

Your trademark name distinguishes the products you offer in the marketplace from your competitors' products. You can establish trademark rights in your brand name in three different ways -- through common law usage, state registration and federal registration. Under common law, you automatically acquire basic trademark rights once you use your unique brand name in association with your goods offered in commercial trade. For state registration in Michigan, you register your trademark through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The registration confirms your claim of ownership over the trademark name within the state. Optional federal trademark registration, through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, offers exclusive rights to use the trademark throughout the United States.

Your trademark name distinguishes the products you offer in the marketplace from your competitors' products. You can establish trademark rights in your brand name in three different ways -- through common law usage, state registration and federal registration. Under common law, you automatically acquire basic trademark rights once you use your unique brand name in association with your goods offered in commercial trade. For state registration in Michigan, you register your trademark through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The registration confirms your claim of ownership over the trademark name within the state. Optional federal trademark registration, through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, offers exclusive rights to use the trademark throughout the United States.

Step 1

Choose a unique brand name that can be distinguished from any other business name without any possibility of confusion. Michigan state law prohibits the use of a name associated with any person, unless you obtain written permission from the individual. Michigan state law also prohibits the use of a surname as a trademark, consistent with federal trademark law.

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Step 2

Use your trademark name on your goods and offer them in commercial trade in Michigan. Michigan requires you to use the trademark in commerce before you apply for state trademark registration.

Step 3

Complete the Michigan State Application for Registration of Trademark/Service Mark. Designate that the purpose of this application is to register a Trademark, as opposed to a Service Mark. Write your trademark name under the "Words Only" section, not the "Design Only" or "Words and Design" sections.

Step 4

Complete the section on Trademarks, and skip the section on Service Marks. List the type of goods associated with the trademark and the manner in which the trademark is used. For example, state whether you use your trademark name on tags, labels or store signs.

Step 5

Select the appropriate classification code for the type of goods associated with your trademark from the Trademark Uniform Classification of Goods list. The state registration application only accepts one classification code per trademark application.

Step 6

Provide the date and place that you first used the trademark name on your commercial goods in Michigan. If you previously used the trademark name outside of Michigan, also provide that information. The date must be prior to the date of your trademark registration application.

Step 7

Complete the applicant information section for one individual or a business entity. Include a business address. Also, provide the state of incorporation, if the business applicant is a corporation.

Step 8

Submit two samples of the trademark name as currently used in commercial trade in Michigan. Limit the sample size to 8-1/2-by-11 inches or smaller so that it can be scanned into the Corporate Division trademark database.

Step 9

Sign the application as an individual applicant, a partner in a partnership or an authorized agent of a corporation or limited liability company. Provide the name and business telephone number of the person who prepared the registration application.

Step 10

Present your document to a notary public, who will notarize your document. Submit your notarized application, with your trademark samples and the applicable registration fee, to the State of Michigan, by mail or in person. The State of Michigan issues a Certificate of Registration as evidence of your registration and the right to use the trademark on your goods throughout the state.

Protect your brand. Register My Trademark Now
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References

Related articles

What Does "Date of First Use" Mean on a Trademark?

The first company to use an trademark secures exclusive ownership rights in the trademark. The "date of first use" refers to the date a trademark owner uses an original mark to identify his goods or services in the marketplace. A trademark includes an original mark, sign, symbol, word or design -- or a combination of words, phrases or designs -- to identify and distinguish a company's goods and services from its competitors. Trademarks help the general public identify their preferred products in the marketplace. The exclusive trademark rights depend on the originality of the mark and the date of first use in commercial trade.

Can I Trademark Before I Sell the Product?

Since the federal trademark registration process takes several months, it makes sense to apply for trademark registration as soon as you design your mark while in the initial stages of product development. Your company can file a federal trademark registration application before you sell any products. You can also potentially secure common law trademark rights in your name, logo or slogan through actual use in the marketplace, such as pre-sale marketing. Under common law, a company automatically secures trademark rights once the original mark is used in association with its goods or services offered in the marketplace.

How to Use TESS for Trademark

A trademark is a unique symbol, phrase or word used to distinguish one brand of goods or services from another. Technically, a trademark is protected as soon as it is used to conduct business, although registering the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office provides additional advantages. In any case, a search of the agency’s Trademark Electronic Search System, or TESS, can help to ensure a duplicate mark does not already exist.

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