If you want to protect the name of your company, you’ll need a trademark. If you want to protect an idea or a project, consider patent or copyright protection.
The next step is to select a trademark to file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Make sure the name or phrase you’re trying to trademark is approved by the USPTO, and that you know how to distinguish your mark sufficiently to be protected.
Prepare and apply to the USPTO once you’ve selected an acceptable trademark name.
You’ll be assigned to a USPTO attorney after your application meets the minimal standards. They’ll go over your application and make sure it’s genuine, which may take a few months. If the attorney needs further information, they may contact you.
After that, you’ll either get permission or a rejection notice from the USPTO in a weekly publication. If they deny your application, you can pay a fee to appeal the final judgment.
You must file maintenance paperwork two months after the USPTO delivers a registration to keep your mark active. If you don’t complete out this paperwork in a timely manner, your trademark may expire.
It’s also crucial to check the status of your trademark with the USPTO once a year.
What a Trademark Does for a Business
The trademark registration gives the exclusive rights of a company or trademark owner to use a national name for goods and services for which the name is registered.
This inhibits rivals from using the name or inventing similar names in order to deceive people and offers you a legal way of protecting you from unscrupulous and understated copycats.
Also, strong grounds are its credibility regarding possession of a mark and its legal usage of the ® sign next to a name.
There are several restrictions on trademarks. Significantly, while the USPTO does not enforce trademarks. It is up to you, the proprietor of the mark, to seek for and take action against the trademark violators.
A U.S. mark protects your name only in the United States, however, there are means to globally register marks. A mark will expire after 10 years if not renewed.
Marks cannot take the place of state business registration and are not federal tax registrations. Furthermore, only if used in the classes of goods and services showed on your application is a trademark protecting your name.
Differences Between a Trademark, a Patent, and a Copyright
All kinds of intellectual property, but are used in diverse manners in many marks, patents, and copyrights.
Trademarks are used to distinguish one firm from another. They ensure consumers are never confused about who they are doing business with, and those business owners are not subjected to unfair competition from comparable firms that use the same or similar names or trademarks as theirs.
Trademarks do not have to be registered with the federal government, although they can be granted for a term of ten years.
A copyright is a set of rights that automatically vest in the creator of an original piece of authorship, such as a literary work, music, film, or software.
These rights include the ability to reproduce the work, create derivative works, distribute copies, and publicly perform and exhibit the work.
Works do not have to be registered with the United States Copyright Office, but doing so might be helpful. Copyrights are typically valid for the creator’s lifetime plus seventy years.
A patent is a federal government-granted privilege that allows an inventor to prevent others from manufacturing, selling, or using their invention for a certain period.
They classify patents into three types: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. They are typically good for twenty years.
Cost to Trademark a Business Name
You should budget between $250 and $750 when applying to trademark your business name with the USPTO on a federal level.
According to the USPTO website, the trademark fees paid may depend on:
The number of trademarks you’re looking for
The category of products and services for which you want to register a trademark
An applicant may seek only one trademark in an application. The fee to submit a request is usually $250-$350.
But you must file separate applications and pay separate filing costs for each of the products or services regarding multi-class trademarks. This method can be costly.
The USPTO prefers applicants to submit electronically using the TEAS or one of many other online filing services. The USPTO uses the electronic application system.
Costs range from $250 to $350 for each type of goods/service for electronically filed applications.
Cost of a Paper Application Form
While the TEAS is the preferred way for completing a trademark registration application, you may still file a “paper” application form with the USPTO.
A paper trademark application typically costs $750 for each class of services or commodities.
Whatever method you use, remember the filing cost is not refundable if the USPTO rejects your application to trademark a business name.
Costs for Renewal
After the 10-year trademarking term has passed, the charge to renew your mark can be as much as $300 to file electronically, and $400 to apply in person.
If you just want to register your company name in your home state, most states charge between $50 and $150 to submit a single trademark application.
In addition to the filing fees, spend an additional $500 to $2,000 to cover the costs of hiring a licensed patent attorney to assist you with the patent application filing and registration process.
Difference Between a Business Name and a Trademark
Your company name is just the name you choose for your company. The crucial distinction between a company name and a brand name is that brand names can apply more than simply your company name.
Whereas both your state authorities and the USPTO can register your business name, your country will not protect the logo, slogan, or other distinguishing characteristics of your firm against being used by others.
This protection is provided by federal trademark laws directly.
Reasons to Get a Trademark
Counterfeit protection: You may request US Customs and Border Protection to seize counterfeit import products automatically.
Can lead to global protection: With a trademark in the United States, protecting your trademark in other countries is significantly easier.
Federal law protection: Any actions for infringement should be brought before the federal court, not the state court.
Anti-cyber-squatting Consumer Protection Act: This is only accessible through the USPTO and permits a company to sue domain name registrants who use identical or confusingly similar trademarks.
Universal protection across the US: If you want to trademark your company, you will get protection for your brand throughout the United States; however, you will only gain this protection if you register with the USPTO. If you register your trademark with the state, it will be protected exclusively in that state or geographical region.
Establishing ownership and rights to a business name is a crucial step for companies that wish to keep their brand unique. As a firm expands, registering a trademark protects a name or brand against intellectual property theft or misuse.
On the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, you may begin the trademarking procedure. Although the application can be finished quickly, the full procedure may take several months.
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