Are you looking to file for official trademark protection for your brand or product? Trademarking a name or logo can go a long way towards building and protecting your brand from competitors and the like. However, not just every name or image can be trademarked, and many considerations must be taken to ensure that all is legally good in the eyes of the federal government.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a set of rules that it expects all applicants to follow if they want to have their trademark application accepted, including…

The Identity of the Applicant

The USPTO needs to know the name, address, and nationality of the person making the trademark application. If the application is being made on behalf of a group or a business, then every name, address, and nationality of the business owners must be provided. If the applicant is a company, then list the country or state in which the company is based.

Please note that, except for financial information, the majority of other information provided in an application becomes a public record as soon as it is filed. This includes, but is not limited to, your street or email address.

Type of Trademark

Decide what type of trademark you want. There are multiple options available for consideration. Your attorney may be able to best assist you so that you pick the right trademark for your needs. Different types of trademarks come with different requirements in your application.

You will also decide if you wish to use your trademark for commerce or simply want to register it with an “intent to use.”

Search for Similar Trademarks

If the name or logo you are looking for a trademark is too similar to other previously registered trademarks, then it may not be accepted. The USPTO reserves the right to refuse applicants if they believe the new trademark will lead to confusion.

The USPTO offers an online database to search for federally registered trademarks: the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). It is up to you to decide if the similarities are too readily apparent to bother trying with the application.

Classify Your Goods

Provide a list of goods or services that the trademarked name will provide or otherwise represent. The number of classes that your product fits into will affect the price of the trademark application.

If the trademark contains the use or mention of non-English words or characters, a translation into English must be provided on the application.

Foreign Trademarks

Those who hold foreign trademarks may file for trademark protection in the United States. The Madrid Protocol may allow you to extend legal protections to foreign registered trademarks.

Application Forms

To complete your filing, use the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). There are two different types of application forms; the TEAS Plus and TEAS Standard. The TEAS Plus is cheaper and more streamlined than the TEAS Standard, but the Standard option is more customizable for your unique needs.

For a smoother process with a smaller risk of seeing your application denied, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a trademark attorney.