Business names are incredibly important for every big and small business nowadays. If you do not have your name trademarked, any other organization can copy your name and make use of your brand image, more often illegally than not. So, getting your business name trademarked is essential for your business.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is the center of trademarking a business name. You have to file an application at this office after which, you will have to respond to the actions and oppositions that the office will come up with.
Also, check out How to Register a Business Name for Free!
How to Trademark A Business Name
Realizing the restrictions
The purpose of trademarks is to give you the right to use certain words and symbols to symbolize your business, which cannot be used by any other individual or firm. These symbols and phrases define your business and let others identify your business. But if you want to trademark a name, you have to use it in commerce. You cannot trademark a name for personal reasons.
Using a trademark for uses other than ‘in commerce’ will not allow your trademark to be officially registered. Besides that, generic and basic names have to be avoided completely as they fail to qualify for a trademark. A descriptive and distinctive name is usually the right way to go. Usually, most of the applications get rejected because their proposed name is very similar to that of another registered trademark.
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How To Trademark A Name
For anyone who owns a business, it is utterly important to have the knowledge of trademarking a business name. To get a name trademarked, a business owner has to go through a 3-step process. These include the trademark search, filing the application and finally responding to oppositions and office actions. This process is explained in details as follows:
1. Go through a Trademark Name Search
This step helps you to identify the problems that may arise while getting the name trademarked. This is done before filing in the application so that your time and money are not wasted in registering a name that is already taken. The basic search action takes you to the USPTO database. The program will automatically compare yours with previously applied trademarks.
The results will let you know if your application for a trademark has any probability of being denied due to the existence of a similar trademark. The search goes deep into different sources and collects data from databases, the internet, and business dictionaries. With the help of this, the program tells you whether the name you want to trademark is similar or the same as an existing business name.
If there are existing trademarks already, you will be alerted. Although the names may not already be registered, they may have some sort of rights on them so that they cannot be duplicated. So, the program will help you avoid any sort of unnecessary lawsuit down the road.
2. Submit the Application
Now comes the part where you have to actually apply for the trademark. To get your business name trademarked, you have to file the application to the USPTO. This process is rather easy since you can do it online, sitting at home. The USPTO has its own Trademark Application System that you have to use in this case.
While applying, you will have to include some specific information. The most important specifics are the name and address of the owner of the business. You will have to add the name that you want to protect from duplication or fraud. Or you have to include the product for which you are trademarking the business name; it can be multiple products. You also have to mention that you are going to use this trademark in commerce and not for personal purposes.
If your application is based on commercial use, you have to ensure that a specimen like a package or a label that represents the business is provided later. Finally, you have to pay a fee to get your application filed successfully. The fee is usually between $225 to $325 per class of goods and services.
3. Be responsive to office actions
Once you have successfully filed an application and paid off the fee, the whole application will be reviewed by an examining attorney from USPTO. If he/she finds any sort of problem in your application, you will be sent a letter, which is called an Office Action. This letter carries what issues exist in the application phase and it will mention a time for you to respond to it.
Responding to office actions is crucial. You must reply within the deadline, or else, your application for a trademark will get rejected. The application you filed will be publicly posted in the online version of the Official Gazette. Here, everyone who gets to see it will have the right to oppose it. In case of any opposition, you will have to get legal help to resolve the issues fair and square.
Once all the oppositions are dealt with, you will be deemed ‘registered’ if and only if you ticked the ‘use in commerce’ part. If your intention of use was not that, you would never receive the ‘Notice of Allowance’. This notice implies that your trademark has been approved, but not formally registered. It will only be deemed registered after you have sent over a package or a specimen as mentioned above.
After the completion of registration, you will then rightfully be able to use the famous trademark symbol, ®, next to your company’s name. After this, whether you enforce your trademark rights or not will depend on you. So, you have to monitor the use of your nosiness name so that no one misuses it for their personal gain.
To conclude, you can follow the above steps to trademark your business name. So, what are you waiting for? Go and apply for that sweet symbol beside your business name!
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