Monday, August 25, 2014

A Guide to Trademark Application

A trademark is a brand name used to identify and distinguish the products of one seller from those of others. The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) provides individuals and businesses with the opportunity to file a trademark with the federal government in order to safeguard their brand from unauthorized use. Trademarks can be useful for businesses wishing to build brand awareness. A company can incorporate a unique design or symbol that will allow consumers to instantly associate its products. Below is a look at how to go about trademark application.

The USPTO has made it possible for trademarks to be filed directly via the internet. This can be done by using the TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System). This online method of trademark application is now the most preferred as it is user-friendly and cheaper than using paper filling.

For the USPTO to consider an application, certain information must be included in the application. This information includes the applicant’s name or that of the symbol’s owner, a clear drawing of the symbol, address and telephone number for correspondence, a listing of the products or services, and the filling fee for the class of products. The TEAS system is financially governed by a fee schedule that underlines the various fees for trademark processing. Payments can be made either with cash or check, or electronically, although in the case of rejected marks the USPTO does not refund the fees.

Online links are also supplied to visitors by TEAS that offer help sections for every one of the application fields. These validation functions will help applicants avoid omitting vital registration information. They also provide immediate e-mail receipts having a summary of the trademark submissions and the serial number. In addition, there is an over-the-phone help that is available almost around the clock in case the applicant has some problems finding what he/she are looking for.

Trademark application can be done either with the Supplemental or Principal Registers that are maintained by the USPTO. By filling a trademark with the Principal Register, the applicant is granted national recognition and offered protection from infringement throughout the US. On the other hand, registration with Supplemental Register can only protect a trademark as far as the applicant’s state or common law. All in all, anyone holding a trademark filed under the Supplemental Register can still sue for infringement if they wish to.

It is possible for an individual or business to apply for a trademark based on planned future use, even if they may not be using it in commerce at the time of registration. However, filling an Intent-to-Use’ application will keep the trademark’s approval pending until the applicant shows he/she is using it. To qualify for an Intent-to-Use’ application, an individual or business must have plans to use the trademark in commerce. Also, one must file an Allegation of Use’ statement that allows a 30-day opposition period whereby other businesses can claim that the proposed symbol is similar to theirs. Should the symbol be deemed unique, the application process is approved for publication. The applicant will have to wait to be issued with a notice of allowance until he/she can officially use the trademark.