Trademark basics – What you should know before filing
The trademark application process is a legal proceeding governed by U.S. law
- If you are a foreign-domiciled applicant, you must have a U.S.-licensed attorney represent you at the USPTO.
- If you are an applicant domiciled in the United States, you are not required to have a U.S.-licensed attorney represent you, but we strongly encourage you to hire one who specializes in trademark law to guide you through the application process.
- Foreign attorneys and non-attorneys are not permitted to provide legal advice, help you fill out a form, sign documents for you, or otherwise take action on your application for you.
- Hiring someone who cannot represent you at the USPTO could delay review of your application and jeopardize the validity of any resulting registration.
Your application must meet many legal requirements before your trademark can be registered
- Is your trademark federally registrable? Can you properly identify your goods or services? Can you identify the proper filing basis for your application? If you’re not sure how to answer these and other questions, review this webpage to avoid mistakes that cost you time, money, and potentially your legal rights.
- The TEAS new application tutorial takes you through the necessary steps before you file through filling out your online application form.
- The trademark registration process is a legal proceeding that requires you to act within strict deadlines (based on Eastern Time). See the trademark application and post-registration timelines.
- Information you submit will become public record and will permanently remain searchable in USPTO online databases, Internet search engines, and other databases. This includes your name, phone number, email address, and street address. For more, see the FAQs on Personal Information in Trademark Records.
Basic Facts About Trademarks: What Every Small Business Should Know Now, Not Later
This simulated presentation features reporters from the USPTO’s news broadcast-style video series, the Trademark Information Network (TMIN). While the setup is staged for educational purposes, the information provided is real.
The video is a must for anyone interested in starting a business to sell a product or offer a service. It highlights the important role of trademarks in that process, including a discussion of how trademarks, patents, copyrights, domain names, and business name registrations all differ. It gives guidelines on how to select the right mark—one that is both federally registrable and legally protectable. It also explains the benefits of federal registration and suggests free and reduced-price resources that can help you with your trademark. By the end of the video, you’ll understand why having a trademark component of your business plan is critical to your success.
NOTE: The run time for this video is approximately 42 minutes, so please allow adequate viewing time. If you do not have time to watch at one time, you may wish to watch the Basic Facts about Trademarks animated series, which covers the same information using user-friendly visuals in shorter video segments. Alternatively, if you wish to read the information (instead of watch a video), you may download the Basic Facts About Trademarks booklet that covers the same material.
After watching this video, if you have any questions about proper mark selection (one that is both federally registrable and legally protectable) or the benefits of federal registration, please feel free to email [email protected]. The Office may answer general questions, but may not provide specific legal advice. For legal advice, please consider contacting a private attorney who specializes in intellectual property.
Before filing your application, be sure to watch the Trademark Information Network (“TMIN”), the USPTO’s news broadcast-style video series that covers important topics and critical application filing tips.
Need more help? Contact us at [email protected] and we can get you started in the right place.