You don’t have to register a logo for your business, but it’s the best way to develop a unique brand. Registering a trademark can prevent other companies from copying your business identity and stealing your customers. Since 2001, MyCompanyWorks has offered simple business startup and management solutions. Find help for every stage of business on our blog and website. Whether you’re a brand new startup or a serial entrepreneur, you’ll find everything needed to register and run your business all in one place. Review our latest comparison to see why tens of thousands of startups begin with our services.
Check out our guide to find out about regulations, requirements, and steps to register a trademark to protect your business.
If you haven’t heard of a trademark, it’s basically made up of words, phrases, symbols, or designs that identify your business, products, and/or services. A combination of any or all of these elements can be used to create a trademarked business identity. Registering your logo or business name (or both) with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides protection against fraudsters and cheap imitators (more below).
It’s important to know that a trademark does not give you ownership of specific words or phrases. It only protects your unique use of words, phrases, symbols, etc. So you’ll come across other companies that use the same words, or maybe similar patterns in your logo. But no other business can use a design or combination of words or phrases that could be confused with your specific brand or offerings.
Your business name, logo, products, and services all become trademarks as soon as you start using them. A filed trademark application protects your brand in the geographical area where you do business. In order to get maximum protection, the USPTO requires that your trademark is registered in their federal database. Domestic businesses can apply and pay the fees online if they decide not to use an attorney.
Many startups do their own research via the Internet and state business sites to clear a name and file trademark applications. If you’re dealing with a niche business and a unique concept, it may be pretty easy to clear a proper name and/or logo. But with over 7.7 million businesses in the US, it can be a challenge to eliminate potential conflicts. The USPTO sets a high bar when it comes to defining distinctive trademarks. Your name and logo must relate to your specific products or services.
According to the Patent and Trademark Office, any name or logo that is arbitrary, suggestive, and fanciful is considered inherently distinctive and can be used as a trademark. You want to avoid generic names and descriptions, or common words that don’t define your offerings. The more unique your business identity, the better chance you have to submit a winning application. Generic or non-descript names and logos can be rejected and application fees are non-refundable. So you can save some cash by making sure you’re applying for a completely distinct logo, name, and brand.
NOTE: Businesses in other countries must hire an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the US and can represent them at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
We also partner with The Trademark Company to make trademark filing fast and easy. Just enter a few details to get the exact costs and turnaround time. They have specialists standing by to help with complex questions and can help international clients who need a US attorney to represent them at the Patent and Trademark Office.
Depending on the filing option you choose, the costs for filing directly with USPTO range from $250 – $350. However, that doesn’t cover research or attorney’s fees if you have to hire one. If you’re confident you have a solid name and logo and don’t need an attorney, you can go ahead and file on your own and pay the fees online.
There are also fees to maintain your trademark. They vary by class and the type of forms you have to file, but the good news is, that you don’t have to renew every year. The current Trademark Fees list still shows paper filing fees, but the USPTO started requiring online applications in 2020.
In order to keep your trademark registered, you have to keep using the trademark, and also file maintenance forms to protect ownership. You should receive an email reminder before forms are due, but even if you don’t, you still have to file on or before the due dates to avoid losing your trademark. Below are the maintenance forms with filing deadlines.
We’ve covered the basics of trademarks and registering a logo and name for your business. Trademark registration isn’t legally required, but it can prevent you from being confused with other businesses and keep them from taking advantage of your successful business identity. Filing for a trademark doesn’t prevent other companies from using the same words, phrases, or symbols, but they cannot match your logo or name in any way.
If you’re computer savvy, you can search local and state business sites, and the USPTO to clear a distinctive name for your brand, products, and services. You can follow the 5 steps above to file your own application if you’re confident with your name search results and the filing process. Companies doing business outside the US will need to hire a US-licensed attorney to represent them Patent and Trademark Office.
If you can file your own application, the costs to register your logo and name run between $250 – $350. There are also fees associated with renewing your trademark, and you must file by deadlines to maintain your registration. The USPTO displays a comprehensive list of trademark fees. Since 2020, companies have been required to apply online.
Our partners at The Trademark Factory offer exclusive pricing to our clients. They guarantee their services and process orders fast so you can start using your trademark quickly. Check out The Trademark Company Knowledge Center for FAQs, overviews, and guides to help you make the most of your trademark.
If you haven’t already formed a business in your state, MyCompanyWorks can process your order for a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation in as little as one business day. Simply enter your new business name and a few details to order a startup package. We’ll take care of the rest! You can log into your account dashboard (activated with order) to see live progress and access loads of free resources. Check out our blog and helpful FAQ page to learn more about starting and managing a hassle-free business.
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