Anyone who uses a mark in commerce may file an application to register the mark with the USPTO. The applicant is not required to use or intend to use their mark in commerce at the time they submit their application. However, they must still be prepared to enter goods and/or services that they use or intend to use their mark on in an affidavit of continued prosecution when filing an amendment or renewal application after receiving notice of allowance from USPTO.
As you may know, a trademark is a word, symbol or device that identifies the source of goods and services. Trademark rights are acquired through use. The owner of a mark who uses it in commerce may file an application with the USPTO to register its mark. Using the product or service is not required to file a trademark. In other words, all that matters is that you are using your trademark somewhere on some product or service (even if it’s just one) for there to be proof of use for your brand name or logo. You can also submit an intent-to-use application if:
- Your business plan includes plans to sell products bearing this mark; but you have not yet begun using them; and
- Use has been made at least once within five years immediately before filing on any goods covered by this registration (15 U.S Code § 1127).
- The trademark applicant must file a trademark application with the USPTO.
- The applicant must submit a filing fee for each class that is listed in his/her application.
If you’re planning on applying for a trademark, it will be helpful to know how to list your goods and services. Goods are items that can be touched or felt, while services are intangible things such as consulting.
For example, if you intend to sell books, the good is “books” and the service is “publishing.” If you want to offer consulting services in a particular field like manufacturing or marketing strategy for example, then those would fall under “consulting” rather than just “services”.
If you don’t include all of your goods and services in your application, then there’s no guarantee that everything will receive protection—the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) requires applicants to list all proposed marks at once because it doesn’t have time for follow-up paperwork later on down the road when someone thinks they’ve been forgotten about due their omission during initial filing process (which could lead up additional costs).
A USPTO trademark search should be conducted prior to filing your application. Prior to filing your application, you should conduct a search of trademarks in the USPTO database by going to http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-trademark-database. If you find a conflicting mark, you may want to consider whether to continue with your application. However, even if you do not find an exact match, you may want to consult with a trademark attorney about whether there are similar marks that may be confusingly similar to your mark and cause issues for your application or for using your mark in commerce.
If you do not find an exact match, it is a good idea to consult with a trademark attorney about whether there are similar marks that may be confusingly similar to your mark and cause issues for your application or for using your mark in commerce.
A person who uses a trademark can apply for trademark registration. However, the following persons cannot apply for trademark registration:
- A business entity that is not a natural person
- A government agency or office
- A political subdivision of a state, including counties and cities, etc.
Choosing to File A Trademark is important for businesses and individuals who wish to protect their identity. If you have a trademark that you want to register in the United States, it is important that you understand the process for doing so. The first step is conducting an application search in order to make sure there are no conflicts with existing trademarks. Next, prepare your application based on how you plan to use your mark in commerce (or not). This information will determine how much money it will cost as well as how long it takes before receiving approval from the USPTO.