Protecting your business name and logo is important, especially when your goal is to create a brand that consumers will recognise instantly. While patents are used to protect inventions, trademarks are used to protect names, logos, drawings, symbols and other characters associated with a business. The process of registering a trademark is a simple one, but it can take several months for trademark registration to become official.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Trademark paperwork from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Create a name and logo for your business. To avoid using a name and logo that have already been trademarked, conduct a search using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database (see Resources).
Fill out the appropriate paperwork to register your business name and logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (see Resources).
Check on the status of your trademark. This process can take five to seven months. You will receive notice when your trademark has been filed.
Obtain a copy of your registered trademark. You can do this by contacting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You will need to provide your trademark registration number when requesting a copy of the trademark certificate.
File an "Affidavit of Use" after the fifth year but before the sixth year of using the trademark to prevent others from using it. You also must file two additional affidavits before each 10-year period you own the trademark.
Tips and warnings
- Be as creative as possible when designing your business name and logo to avoid mimicking another name and logo.
- You can hire a trademark attorney who can conduct research for you and guide you through the trademark process. However, you do not need to hire a trademark attorney to file trademark registration paperwork.
- Generic or everyday words cannot be trademarked.
- Failure to renew your business name and logo by not filing the requested affidavits may result in other businesses being able to use your trademark.
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