Before you can start using a trademarked name for your business, you have to make sure that the name isn’t already being used. This is because someone else might already own the rights to that name and could sue you if they think it’s too similar. Luckily, there are ways to figure out if your chosen mark has been registered by another company before you apply for your own trademark.
Prior to filing for a trademark, you want to do a comprehensive search to make sure there are no conflicting trademarks.
A comprehensive search is a critical component of the process. You want to make sure that your trademark isn’t conflicting with an existing trademark, and that it’s available for you to use.
When searching for a trademark name, there are several places and methods you can use:
- Search the USPTO database yourself by submitting a US trademark application through their web site (www.uspto.gov). The database will show any trademarks that have already been registered in your category of goods or services.* Search the internet for similar businesses and see if they have already registered their names as trademarks.* Search the trademark databases of other countries that may be relevant to where you do business (e.g., China).* Use a free online tool like Trademarkia’s Trademark Name Availability Tool, which lets people search multiple sources at once.* Make sure you understand what constitutes a conflict.* Make sure you understand what constitutes a trademark
If you find your trademark has already been registered through USPTO trademark search for similar goods or services, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use it. You may be able to use the trademark if the goods and services are different enough so as not to cause confusion among the public.
To do this, you would need to file a declaration of use with your application form (or an amendment) explaining how the goods and services covered by your mark are different from those covered by any conflicting trademarks.
For example: “Electric toothbrushes” versus “Electric shavers; electric razors.”
Filing on paper requires more documentation than online filing.
Whether you’re filing on paper or online, the process is the same. You’ll have to include a receipt showing that you’ve paid for your application and submit an image of your photo ID. The only difference between the two is that if you use the online system, these documents will be submitted through My Trademark instead of being mailed in with your application.
If you choose to file electronically, there are some additional requirements: First off, since submitting by email isn’t secure enough for financial transactions like credit card payments (and because we need proof that it’s really you making this transaction), we require all electronic submissions to come with a digital signature — which means uploading something like an ID scan or passport photo. We also ask that any uploaded images be high resolution so they can be fully enlarged if necessary during review or examination stages without losing quality.
The process of examining and approving or rejecting your trademark application can take several months at the minimum. It is not uncommon for it to take six months or longer, even with a priority filing. The USPTO does not guarantee a specific timeframe for approval.
The average wait time for a trademark application is three months and four days from the date of submission, according to data provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
If your trademark application is rejected, you may be able to fix any issues and re-file. The approval process is fairly quick but can take several months at the minimum. If another party files their own trademark application for your proposed mark before yours gets approved, then you might need to change your mark or pay a fee to keep it available. This isn’t common unless there are many similar businesses in one location that all use a similar name or logo.
Once approved, your trademark is published in the Trademark Official Gazette for 30 days in case anyone wants to oppose it. The period can be extended by an additional 30 days. If you have not used your mark in commerce yet, you can file a statement of use (SOU) to extend the time to use your mark in commerce and then apply for an extension based on SOU. You will receive notification of any objections received during this time period from TTAB or USPTO respectively.
After 30 days have passed without opposition, your mark will be officially registered at the USPTO. Congratulations! You can now start using your trademark to identify goods and services in commerce.
Registered your desired mark
Before starting the application process, make sure you understand exactly what’s required of you so you can avoid delays or rejections – especially if you’re having someone help you apply. To begin with, search for any similar marks (U.S. and international) to make sure no one else has already registered your desired mark. If a search turns up any conflicting marks, it’s important to know that if those conflicting trademarks were first used before yours was first used by another person in commerce (or on goods or services), then yours will not be allowed to proceed because there is a likelihood of confusion between the two marks and consumers will likely be deceived as to who owns each brand name and/or product/service associated therewith.
Another thing worth checking before proceeding: Make sure all requirements have been met for filing an application so that nothing gets delayed unnecessarily due to missing information which could otherwise have been provided at outset instead of later on down road when someone gets frustrated trying figure out why their package hasn’t arrived yet while they wait impatiently wondering what happened since they sent everything out months ago now! Some common things like this include whether applicant has filed proper “Declaration Regarding Use in Commerce” forms outlining recent sales activity within past year – same goes with proof showing active use during same period; also check whether applicant has paid all required fees such as filing fee plus publication fee before submitting application form itself by mail/fax/e-mail etcetera.”
We’ve covered the basics of how to file a trademark, and hopefully you feel more confident in your decision to go forward. If you still have questions about any part of this process, please leave them in the comments below! We’ll do our best to answer them for you.