How to Put a Trademark or Patent on a Toy

By Joe Stone

Trademarks and patents are valuable property rights that you acquire for your products, including toys. A trademark is a logo, word, phrase or design that you use to identify the toy. You acquire rights in the trademark as soon as you use the trademark -- registration is not required. A patent for your toy can only be obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Trademarks and patents are valuable property rights that you acquire for your products, including toys. A trademark is a logo, word, phrase or design that you use to identify the toy. You acquire rights in the trademark as soon as you use the trademark -- registration is not required. A patent for your toy can only be obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Trademark Rights

Using your trademark is the primary way to create trademark rights, and the level of uniqueness of the trademark determines the strength of your trademark rights. Your trademark should be a distinctive logo affixed to your toy or packaging and include the designation "TM," which signifies that you claim trademark rights in your logo. Although your trademark rights give you exclusive use of the trademark, the exclusivity is limited to the geographical area where you market your toy. In order to acquire the greatest possible trademark rights, you should market your toys in as wide an area as possible.

Protect your brand. Register My Trademark Now

Trademark Registration

Registering your trademark is not necessary to acquire trademark rights, but it does give your trademark rights maximum legal protection. Federal registration is done with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and can be done online. The advantages of federal trademark registration include having the right to use federal registration symbol ® with your trademark and the right to use federal courts to enforce your trademark rights. You can also register your trademark in any state where you sell your toy.

Patentability

To determine whether your toy can be patented, you should conduct a search of previously issued patent grants by the USPTO to locate any existing patent that pertains to your toy. You also need to search for "prior art," which is any publicly available knowledge that relates to the creation of your toy that predates it. A patent search is not required before submitting an application; however, the USPTO will preform such a search as part of the application examining process. Preforming a search before submitting an application will give you an idea of the likelihood that the application will be approved. Searches can be difficult and time consuming, and you may wish to have aid from an attorney or online legal provider.

Patent Grants

The USPTO is the only government agency that issues patent grants. A patent grant for your toy gives you the right to exclude anyone else from "making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the same toy. The grant also gives you the right to prevent the same toy from being imported. The typical patent grant is good for 20 years, starting from the date you file your application with the USPTO. An application for a patent grant requires a written description for your toy regarding its specifications; a drawing of the toy; and a statement under oath regarding ownership. An online document provider can help you with the application process.

Protect your brand. Register My Trademark Now
How to Trademark a Shape

References

Resources

Related articles

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.

Difference Between Product Design & Product Packaging in Trademark Law

Whether the subject is a unique product design or specific product packaging, protection of intellectual property rights may involve trademark law. The common trademark element of both product design and product packaging is the distinctive market-significant appearance of the product or package, rather than its functionality.

How to Trademark a Shirt Design

If you plan on making some money with a unique shirt design that you’ve created, protecting it with a trademark is essential. As long as the shirt design only features words, symbols or other unique marks that distinguish your shirt from others on the market or that already have a trademark, obtaining a trademark will protect your intellectual property and prevent others from capitalizing on your design.

File a Trademark Online. LegalZoom. Learn More.

Related articles

How to Obtain a Trademark

You obtain a trademark by using a logo, word, slogan or design that is associated with a product or service provided by ...

How to Protect an Artwork Trademark

You worked tirelessly to create your original artwork, now you must consider the business side of your art -- creating ...

Checklist for Getting a Patent

Coming up with a brilliant invention can be exciting. Among the most important steps you'll want to take right away is ...

Enforcing A Trademark

Trademark law grants a monopoly on the use of a word, phrase, symbol or design that distinctively identifies a product ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED