Trademark Filing: What is the Application Process?

A trademark is something that is uniquely attached to your company and/or brand. Sometimes, the brand itself is a trademark. This can be anything from a name, to logos, a font, a design, a phrase, or even a specific portfolio/collection of products (the “Mc” in McDonald’s products, for instance. Or “i” in Apple products).

The process to file for a trademark is fairly straightforward, and a lot less complicated than a process to file a patent. This is because of the unique intellectual property grey space that trademarks occupy, between the inventive nature of patents and the existing creations that come under copyright.

The first step to filing an application for obtaining a trademark is to do your research on the TESS – the Trademark Electronic Search System, available on the database of the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. This acts as a background check to make sure that there is no existing trademark for whatever it is that you are filing an application for.

It is important to note that the USPTO favors the first entity to use a trademark, not the first entity to obtain registration. But that doesn’t mean that fighting an existing registered trademark is an easy process.

If you want to proceed with filing an application, then you simply have to fill in the relevant form on the USPTO website and pay the application fees (which are non-refundable, regardless of the outcome). Your application is then examined for any errors or issues. Once resolved, it is published in the The Trademark Official Gazette, which is a weekly publication.

This publication gives others a chance to review new applications and to contest an application. While it may not be grounds for automatic dismissal, it can definitely cause some speed bumps in your road to obtaining a registered trademark. If someone does contest your application, this would also be a good time to involve legal aid to help your application. Ultimately, if things go smoothly and there are no contests (or contests are withdrawn) then you receive your registered trademark.

Though simple enough to understand, intellectual property law has a lot of loopholes and easy mistakes that can take place. For anyone unfamiliar with the practice, it is best to file through an I.P attorney. At MDE Patents, we are a trained group of professionals who can make your trademark obtaining process much smoother.

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