How to Fill in Your Electronic Trademark Application

By Victoria McGrath

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.

Online Applications

The legal owner of a trademark can register the trademark with the USPTO through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) or through the mail. Electronic filing brings the benefits of reduced fees and a shorter processing time. The information provided through TEAS automatically becomes public record. Each year, the USPTO receives numerous electronic applications filed incorrectly, so it is critical to start with the correct application. You must select an application based on whether the trademark is currently in use in commerce or if it will be used in commerce in the future. These two types of applications are called "use in commerce" or "intent-to-use" applications. An online legal document provider can help applicants select the correct application and prevent common errors.

Technical Considerations

You can access the electronic application through TEAS 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Before starting the application process, you should check on the current status of the server and any scheduled outages on the site. Allow extra time to complete your application, in case of a down server. Keep in mind that credit cards cannot be processed on Sundays between midnight and 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. If you plan to pay by electronic funds transfer, it could take up to eight business days to set up an electronic funds transfer account.

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Online Registration

You must register the trademark as a standard character mark, with basic numerical or alphabetical characters or a stylized design mark with specific font, size and color. You can also register sound marks. The application requires a color or black and white drawing for each stylized design mark. If you submit a black and white drawing, it must be scanned as a black and white document before it is uploaded, or it will appear in thousands of colors upon transmission, and the USPTO cannot accept it. You must also select the type of goods to be associated with the trademark. If you have a lengthy list of goods, type out the list on a computer, use spell check and save it as a text file. Then copy and paste the list into the application.

Application Submission

You must complete all fields in the application, including the type of mark, the type of goods, the name of the legal trademark owner, the dates of first use of the trademark and certification of the legal ownership. You can file the application as the legal trademark owner, a domestic representative or an attorney for the legal owner. Once you complete every mandatory field, the registration form can be validated. You select the download button on the bottom of the page to save all the information in the registration application. Upload drawings and pay fees during the application process. After you submit your application, the USPTO will send an email confirmation to confirm that the application was submitted.

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