March 28, 2019

A trademark is a word, phrase, name or symbol that identifies a company, a product or a service and distinguishes it from competitors.

You can trademark your company name, product names, logos and taglines. You can’t trademark an invention or a piece of software.

Check the availability of your business name to trademark:

  • Search online for similar names and brands to make sure your company name isn’t already taken. Does it seem as if every name you want pops up in Google? Don’t fret: The only search results you really need to care about are those on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. If your name, logo, tagline, etc. doesn’t show up there, you can begin the trademark application process.

Define your trademark:

  • Be clear on what exactly you want trademarked. The USPTO will want to know if your trademark consists of words only (called a “standard character drawing”) or if it includes stylization, designs, graphics, logos or color (called a “special form drawing”).
  • During the application process, you’ll need upload files depicting your trademark. If you’re trademarking a special character drawing, the more detailed and original you can make this drawing, the better chance you have of securing the trademark. If your business has already begun, you’ll also need to show evidence of the trademark appearing in your marketing materials, correspondence and website.
  • You’ll also need to determine your business’s classification by describing your what your business does, how it does it and where it does it. The system then tries to match your description with several options for classification.

After your trademark has been approved:

  • Maximize its full power by using your trademark extensively to keep it in the public eye. The U.S. trademark system is based on use. If another company files for the same trademark and can prove you have not used your trademark consistently, you could lose your rights to it.