The trademark process can be confusing for a beginner, so the frequently asked questions below will provide useful information on registering a trademark with USPTO. Additionally, the Trademark Electronic Business Center found on this page provides more helpful links regarding trademarks.
What is a trademark?
The term "trademark" is often used to refer to any of the four types of marks that can be registered with the USPTO. The two primary types of marks that can be registered with the USPTO are:
- Trademarks - used by their owners to identify goods, that is, physical commodities, which may be natural, manufactured, or produced, and which are sold or otherwise transported or distributed via interstate commerce.
- Service marks - used by their owners to identify services, that is, intangible activities, which are performed by one person for the benefit of a person or persons other than himself, either for pay or otherwise.
There are other types of marks that can be registered in the USPTO, but they occur infrequently and have some different requirements for registration than the more commonly applied for trademarks and service marks. They are:
- Certification marks
- Collective marks
- Collective trademarks and collective service marks
- Collective membership marks
PLEASE NOTE: Since the benefits conferred by registration are essentially the same for all types of marks, the term "trademark" is often used in general information that applies to service marks, certification marks, and collective marks as well as to true trademarks (marks used on goods) as defined above.
For more information regarding Trademarks, please refer to Basic Facts About Trademarks.
Why should I obtain a trademark?
Here are some specific benefits of having a federally registered trademark:
- Constructive notice nationwide of the trademark owner's claim.
- Evidence of ownership of the trademark.
- Jurisdiction of federal courts may be invoked.
- Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries.
- Registration may be filed with U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.
- See U.S. Customs Service
- See Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice
How do I register my trademark?
You can fill out an application online, check it for completeness, and file it over the Internet using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) . You can also respond to Office actions and file notices of change of address, allegations of use and requests for extension of time to file a statement of use through TEAS. You can check the status of your application through the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR) database. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199 or 1-571-272-9250 to request a paper form. For further information about the applying for a trademark registration, see Basic Facts about Trademarks .
What do I need to include in my trademark application?
- A completed application form submitted in hard copy or electronically as noted above.
- The appropriate fee.
- A drawing of the mark to be registered - this is true even if the mark is just an unstylized word.
- Specimens of use of the mark if the application is based on actual use in commerce.
Paper applications and any accompanying communications or material should be addressed to:
Commissioner for Trademarks
P.O. Box 1451
Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1451
These requirements are explained in detail in the booklet Basic Facts about Trademarks .
How much does it cost to apply for a trademark application?
The filing fees for a trademark application are as follows:
- $275 per class for a TEAS Plus application that meets the requirements of 37 C.F.R. §§2.22 and 2.23 ;
- $325 per class for an application filed electronically using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) ; or
- $375 per class for an application filed on paper.
If your application is filed based on a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce, additional documents and fees will be required at a later time.
We recommend that you file your application through TEAS , and pay the fee using a credit card, existing USPTO deposit account, or electronic funds transfer (EFT). If you file on paper, checks or money orders should be made payable to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and mailed to Commissioner for Trademarks, P.O. Box 1451, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1451.
PLEASE NOTE: Fees are subject to change and should therefore be verified before submission to the USPTO. You may obtain the current schedule of fees . To receive a hard copy of the fee schedule you may contact the USPTO Contact Center (UCC) at 1-800-786-9199
How do I do a federal trademark search?
You may conduct a search free of charge on the USPTO Web site using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) . You may also conduct a trademark search by visiting the Trademark Public Search Library, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Public Search Facility, Madison East, 1st Floor, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA 22313. Use of the Public Search Library is free to the public. You may check on the status of an application or registration through the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR) database. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199 or 1-571-272-9250 to check the status.
Does the USPTO determine trademark infringement?
The USPTO examines trademark applications to determine if there is likelihood of confusion between the mark in the application and a previously registered trademark or another mark in a prior-pending application. If no conflict is found and all other statutory requirements are met, the examining attorney can approve the mark for publication. The USPTO has no powers of enforcement concerning the use of trademarks in the marketplace.
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