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How to Register a Trademark for Your Small Business

September 16, 2022

Trademarks are an essential part of brand recognition. With a registered mark, customers can quickly identify and distinguish a business’ products or services from the rest. As a small business owner, registering a trademark gives you an upper edge and ensures complete protection.

To help get you started, here’s a look at the numerous benefits of a trademark, the types of marks you can register, and the steps you can take for easy registration.

What are the Benefits of Registering a Trademark?

It’s true that trademarks have a price tag, but the advantages of registering a mark far surpass the cost and effort you put in. It can play an essential role in the success of a small business.

  • Differentiates your products in different markets and sets you apart from your competitors
  • Prevents others from using similar marks in commerce, even outside your operational geography, avoiding confusion between similar businesses
  • Provides nationwide trademark usage for your business
  • Serves as ownership of the mark 
  • Provides nationwide validity in cases of trademark infringement or misuse
  • Enables easy business expansion

What Can You Register as a Trademark?

When you’re ready to register your trademark, make sure you pick a mark the USPTO will accept. Here’s a list of the types of trademarks allowed for a US-based business.

  1. A name that isn’t primarily merely a surname. A mark that includes the personal name or surname of the applicant in business or their signature, such as “Jameson Apples,” needs to describe the mark as distinctive from the goods or services.
  2. A word that doesn’t directly describe the character or quality of goods and services. For example, “excellent” or “best” would be rejected.
  3. Numericals, including numbers, letters, numerals, or a combination. 3M and 1-800-CONTACTS are examples of numerical trademarks.
  4. Images, symbols, monograms, 3-D shapes, or letters.

What Are the Steps to Registering a Trademark?

When you’re ready to register your trademark, follow these simple steps:

1. Conduct Trademark Research

First, you should always do your research to ensure you aren’t violating any existing marks. By checking that your trademark is unique to your brand, your approval process is expedited and saves you from trademark infringement. This initial research also prevents you from spending additional money applying to register for a trademark already in use. 

To research existing marks, check the Trademark Electronic Search System (TEES) available on the USPTO’s official website or use the Trademark Engine’s trademark search tool.

2. Fill Out the Trademark Registration Form

After your trademark search, it’s time to fill out the trademark application form through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Based on your individual requirements, you will choose from one of the two options — TEAS Plus or TEAS Standard.  

  • TEAS Plus: The applicant can only choose from the goods and services identifications presented in the ID manual and already approved for use by the USPTO. 
  • TEAS Standard: The applicant does not need to select a good or service from the ID manual or meet the TEAS Plus requirements while applying. 

Once you have selected an application, provide the details and make payment. You’ll receive a confirmation email after submitting the “intent to use” form. 

3. Monitor the Application Progress Over Time

Once you submit your application, a USPTO examining attorney will review it to ensure that it meets all legal requirements for trademark registration. This process usually takes about three months after you apply. 

We recommend tracking your application progress every three to four months via Trademark Status & Document Retrieval (TSDR). Here, you can use your reference number to track the status of your trademark application and make sure you’re following any critical deadlines.

4. Complete the Approval Process

After registering, USPTO officials will scan your mark through a database of existing phrases to check for any similar marks. If they come across an identical trademark, they will reject your application without a refund. If they find nothing similar and your application meets all the legal requirements, they will approve your trademark for publication in the USPTO weekly magazine, the “Official Gazette.”

Anyone who notices an infringement can file an opposition within 30 days. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) reviews the opposition. If there is no opposition or an opposing party is unsuccessful in its claim, your trademark registration is complete. You’ll receive a certificate of registration to finish the process.

Are You Ready to Register Your Trademark?

We know it’s a lot to remember, but our experts at Trademark Engine are here to help. Whether you’re registering a word, image, or phrase, we have the tools to make it an effortless process. Through our cutting-edge web portal, you can conduct a trademark search and complete trademark registration, trademark monitoring, copyright registration, and extension filing. We have everything you need to register your trademark seamlessly. Contact our team today and leave the rest to the experts.

Trademark Engine is not a law firm and none of the information on this website constitutes or is intended to convey legal advice. General information about the law is not the same as advice about the application of the law in a particular factual or legal situation. Individual facts and circumstances as well as legal principles including but not limited to the ones referenced on this website can affect the outcome of any given situation. Trademark Engine cannot and does not guarantee that an application will be approved by the USPTO, that a mark will be protected from infringement under common US trademark law, or that any ensuing litigation or dispute will lead to a favorable outcome. If you want or have an interest in obtaining legal advice with respect to a specific situation or set of circumstances, you should consult with the lawyer of your choice.

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