The first step in filing for a trademark is to preform a trademark
search. This is nessasary to make sure that whatever it is that you
want to trademark hasn't already been. The idea is to find if there
is anything out there which bears "substantial similarity" to what you
Substantial Similarity can imply one of two things, first will the
product confuse the customer with another product already on the
market. The other is to determine whether the new trademark would be
detrimental to the already existent trademark.
This search can be conducted at the USPTO website and at nameprotect.com.
If you do not think you can do this research adequately I advise
hiring a professional search service as you do not want to risk being
You can try www.trademarkmyname.com for this, I will have more on them later.
Once you are sure that your idea is in fact a unique one then you can
move on to step.
The next stop on the trademark express is the paper work. Which set
of paper work depends on the nature of your trademark. There are two
types, use and intent to use. The meanings are pretty self evident,
use applies if you have begun to use the trademarked name in commerce
and the later if you have not yet begun to use it in commerce.
Before you are ready to begin filling out the paper work there is one
other hurdle you must clear. It is nessasary to ensure that the
trademark office will even grant your request. They will not
trademark things which are viewed as being too generic. Also they
will not trademark anything which contains the following:
"*Names of living person who has not given their consent.
*The US Flag
*Federal and local government insignias.
*The name or likeness of a dead US President without his widow's consent.
*Words or symbols that disparage living or deceased persons,
institutions, beliefs or national symbols, or marks that are judged
immoral, deceptive or scandalous"
Once all that is taken care of you can begin to fill out the paper
work. This can be done on the USPTO's website:
After you have filled out and filed the paperwork it could take up to
nine months, assuming there are no problems, for the trademark to go
If you filed a intent to use application you need to be sure that you
use the trademark in interstate commerce as soon as possible. Once
you have done this file an "allegation of use", a sample and the
nessasary fee with the trademark office.
It should be noted that the trademark office will not grant a
trademark until it has been used in interstate commerce.
After months go by your application gets reviewed. If the trademark
office has a question or requires more information, they will contact
you. Make sure you respond promptly to their inquries.
After the application is looked over the prospective trademark will be
published in the "Official Gazette" where it can be reviewed by the
public at large. If anyone feels you have infringed upon their idea
they can file an objection. Assuming your trademark gets no
objections you will recieve your trademark approval in the mail.
You should check out "So You Wanna File a Trademark." The above
information relied on their information.
The costs can get very expensive. This is from the USPTO website:
"The filing fee is $335.00 per class of goods and/or services (i.e.,
an application may only have one mark, but may cover multiple classes;
e.g., an application with two classes would be for both computer
software in Class 9 and t-shirts in Class 25, making the filing fee
$670.00). Although only one mark is permissible per application, a
mark may consist of several elements that are joined to form a
composite whole (e.g., words plus a design). You do not have to have
already used your mark before filing an application. However, if the
mark has not already been used in interstate commerce at the time of
filing, but instead the application is based on an "intent-to-use" the
mark in interstate commerce in the future, an additional fee of
$100.00 per class will be required when the "Allegation of Use" form
is submitted (whereas a "use-based" application does not require this
additional fee). Also, the filing fee is a processing fee for the
application. This fee is not returned even if ultimately the USPTO
does not issue a registration. You should take all necessary steps to
ensure the mark is registrable before filing the application."
There are lawyers and services that will do all of the above for
you...for a fee. If you want someone to do the whole thing for you,
check out www.trademarkmyname.com. They offer a number of services for
various prices. For $99 they will do a basic database search for you.
For $199 they will file the paper work and follow the application all
the way through approval. For $499 they will do a comprehensive
database search and file your paper work.
Other Services Available:
Alan Chan and Associates
I hope this is what you were looking for. If you have any questions
or require clarification please don't hessitate to ask before rating
Have a wonderful evening,