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How To Trademark A Name


How To Trademark A Name

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How To Trademark A Name

Trademarking a Name: A Comprehensive Guide

In the competitive business landscape, protecting your brand’s identity is paramount. A strong trademark can establish your uniqueness, safeguard your goodwill, and prevent competitors from exploiting your reputation. Among the most valuable assets a business can own is a distinctive and memorable name. By registering your name as a trademark, you gain exclusive rights to use it for your products or services within a specific industry.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with a step-by-step roadmap for successfully trademarking a name in the United States. We’ll cover everything from conducting a thorough search to submitting your application and navigating the approval process.

Step 1: Conduct a Thorough Trademark Search

Before investing time and resources in registering a name, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure that no one else is already using or has registered a similar mark. Several resources are available to assist you in this process:

  • USPTO Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS): The TESS database maintains a comprehensive record of all registered and pending trademarks in the United States. You can search by name, design, or a variety of other criteria to identify potential conflicts.

  • State Trademark Databases: Many states maintain their own databases of registered trademarks. Checking these databases can help you identify any potential conflicts at the state level.

  • Common Law Searches: In addition to searching registered trademarks, it’s also advisable to conduct a common law search to identify any unregistered trademarks that may be in use. This can be done by checking business directories, social media platforms, and other sources.

Step 2: Determine the Type of Trademark You Need

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recognizes several different types of trademarks, each with its own requirements:

  • Standard Character Mark: Protects the name of your product or service as it appears in standard lettering.

  • Design Mark: Protects a unique design or logo associated with your brand.

  • Combination Mark: Combines a character mark with a design mark.

  • Sound Mark: Protects a distinctive sound associated with your brand, such as a jingle or melody.

  • Collective Mark: Used by a group or association to identify the goods or services of its members.

  • Certification Mark: Indicates that goods or services meet certain standards or requirements.

Step 3: File a Trademark Application

Once you have chosen the type of trademark you need, you can file a trademark application with the USPTO. The application consists of several sections:

  • Mark: A clear description of the trademark you want to register, including its name, design, or sound.

  • Goods or Services: A list of the specific goods or services for which you intend to use the trademark.

  • Basis for Filing: Your reason for filing the application, such as actual use of the mark in commerce or an intent to use the mark in the future.

  • Applicant’s Information: Your name, address, and other contact information.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

You can submit your trademark application online through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) or by mail using the TEAS Plus form. The filing fee for a standard character mark is currently $250.

Step 5: Respond to USPTO Inquiries

After submitting your application, the USPTO may contact you with questions or requests for additional information. It’s important to respond promptly to these inquiries to avoid delays in the application process.

Step 6: Trademark Registration Granted

If your trademark application meets all the requirements, the USPTO will issue a Notice of Allowance. After paying the registration fee, your trademark will be officially registered and will remain valid for ten years.

Step 7: Maintaining Your Trademark

To maintain your trademark, you must file renewal applications every ten years. The USPTO will send you a renewal notice six months before your trademark expires.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How long does it take to register a trademark?

A: The trademark registration process can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months, depending on the complexity of your application and whether any issues arise during the examination process.

Q: Can I trademark a name that is already in use?

A: No, you cannot trademark a name that is already in use by another business for similar goods or services. This would constitute trademark infringement.

Q: What if my trademark application is rejected?

A: If your trademark application is rejected, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

Q: How can I prevent others from using my trademark?

A: By registering your trademark, you gain exclusive rights to use it for the goods or services specified in your registration. You can enforce these rights by taking legal action against anyone who infringes on your trademark.

Q: What are the benefits of registering a trademark?

A: Registering a trademark provides several benefits, including:

  • Exclusive rights to use your trademark within a specific industry
  • Protection from trademark infringement
  • Establishment of your brand’s identity
  • Increased brand recognition and value
  • Enhanced legal leverage in case of disputes


Trademarking a name is a valuable step for any business that wants to protect its brand and reputation. By following the steps outlined in this guide and conducting thorough research, you can effectively register your trademark and safeguard your business’s unique identity. Remember to maintain your trademark by filing renewal applications every ten years. With a strong trademark, you can establish a strong foundation for your business and build a lasting legacy.