Choose Your Mark and Goods/Services
Determine (1) what mark you want to register and the form thereof (i.e., either words only, stylized wording and/or design, or sound mark*; and (2) the goods to which the mark is (or will be) applied or the services in connection with which the mark is (or will be) used. For assistance with the goods and/or services, check the USPTO's Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual (ID Manual).
For more information about selecting a protectable trademark, please watch the animated video titled “Basic Facts: Selecting a Mark,” part of the Basic Facts About Trademarks video series.
For an overview of the most important issues to be aware of before filing a trademark application, please watch the news broadcast-style video titled “Before You File” (video #2 in the Trademark Information Network (TMIN) series).
For more information about choosing a mark format, please watch the news broadcast-style video titled “Drawing Issues” (video #5 in the TMIN series).
For more information about properly identifying your goods and services, please watch the news broadcast-style video titled “Goods and Services” (video #6 in the TMIN series).
* Motion/multi-media marks themselves may not be submitted as a file showing the actual motion. While this is acceptable as a "specimen," it is not permitted as a mark, as per the following: Motion marks. If the mark has motion, the drawing may depict a single point in the movement, or the drawing may depict up to five freeze frames showing various points in the movement, whichever best depicts the commercial impression of the mark. The applicant must also describe the mark. 37 C.F.R. §2.52(b)(3).
Search the USPTO Database
Once you have selected your Mark, use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to search the USPTO database, to determine whether a confusingly similar mark is already registered, or whether a pending application for a confusingly similar mark has been filed, for related goods and/or services.
For more information about conducting a clearance search, please watch the news broadcast-style video titled “Searching” (video #3 in the TMIN series).
WARNING: After searching the USPTO database, even if you think the results are "O.K.," do not assume that your mark can be registered at the USPTO. After you file an application, the USPTO must do its own search and other review, and might refuse to register your mark. For a complete list of possible substantive grounds of refusal and a detailed explanation of each, see Chapter 1200, Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP). The USPTO cannot provide preliminary legal advice as to whether we will register a particular mark; filing an application is the only way to obtain a decision on whether the USPTO will refuse or grant registration.
Check Status to Avoid Potential Conflicts
In light of all of the information above, re-assess whether it makes sense to seek registration. Please be aware that once you file your application, we do not cancel the filing or refund the fee, unless the application fails to satisfy minimum filing requirements. The fee is a processing fee, which the USPTO does not refund, even if no registration ultimately issues after the substantive review by the examining attorney.
Create JPG Image - (for stylized wording or design marks only)
If the mark you wish to register consists of stylized wording or a design, then first create a JPG image file (the only accepted format) of the mark, and save onto your local drive. TEAS cannot be used for filing a stylized or design mark if no JPG image file exists. Similarly, if you will be filing the application based on actual use in commerce (i.e., you have already sold goods or rendered services under this specific mark), create a JPG or PDF image file of the "specimen" of use, i.e., either scan or digitally photograph a sample of how the mark actually appears; e.g., a tag or label for goods or an advertisement for services. NOTE: Lack of an image file for the specimen will not preclude filing an initial application through TEAS RF or TEAS Regular; however, the TEAS Plus application form will not accept the transmission of use-based application that does not include an attachment in the “Specimen” field.
For more information about submitting a proper specimen, please watch the news broadcast-style video titled “Specimen” (video #8 in the TMIN series).
NOTE: You do not have to create a special electronic file for a "word only" (i.e., not stylized or design) mark, or for a specimen in an "intent-to-use" application (i.e., where you have not yet sold goods or rendered services under this specific mark, but you have a bona fide intention to use the mark at some point in the future).
Review Application Fees
The filing fee for the initial trademark/service mark is $225 per class of goods or services listed in a TEAS Plus application, $275 per class for a TEAS Reduced Fee (TEAS RF) application, and $400 per class TEAS Regular application. For TEAS Plus, payment for each class is required at the time of filing, whereas for TEAS RF and TEAS Regular, only the fee for one class is required, although any additional fees due must be submitted before the application may be approved.
Review considerations for electronic submissions and communication.
Under FORMS, click on the link at 1. to access the "INITIAL APPLICATION FORM."
On the "Initial Application Forms" page, select the appropriate link for one of the three application filing options for applications on the Principal Register: (1) TEAS Plus; (2) TEAS Reduced Fee (TEAS RF); or (3) TEAS Regular. [< This is a direct link to the combined TEAS RF/TEAS Regular electronic form. To file a TEAS Regular form, you must select the TEAS Regular filing option in wizard question 1.]
Note: For your convenience, a PDF preview of each application is available for viewing purposes only, prior to accessing the online form.
If you select the TEAS Plus application, you will go directly to the TEAS Plus application form and you do not need to take any additional action to select the application filing option.
If you select either the TEAS RF application link or the TEAS Regular application link on the “Initial Application Forms” page, you will go directly to the combined TEAS RF/TEAS Regular application form in which you can select the desired filing option (TEAS RF or TEAS Regular) using the relevant radio button in the form. This combined form is set to TEAS RF by default, so you must select the TEAS Regular radio button if you would like to file a TEAS Regular application.
Note: If you are filing an application on the Supplemental Register, or the forms on the "Initial Applications Forms" page are otherwise not appropriate for your filing, you should select the link for additional initial application forms at the bottom of the webpage.
The following steps presume that the "TEAS Plus" option is being used, although the steps for TEAS RF and TEAS Regular applications are almost identical to the steps for the TEAS Plus application. The main difference is that more fields are mandatory within TEAS Plus, and the TEAS Plus application requires selection of entries from the USPTO's ID Manual, rather than a "free-text" entry as permitted within the TEAS RF or TEAS Regular application.
STEP 1: If someone other than an attorney is filing the form, change the default setting for question #1 on the first page from Yes to No and click Continue.
STEP 2: Enter information in the appropriate fields in the form. You must enter information in all of the fields containing a red asterisk, as these fields are considered mandatory to receive an application filing date. However, even in the TEAS RF or TEAS Regular applications, which have fewer mandatory fields, you are encouraged to enter all available information at this time, since failure to do so, although not preventing filing, may delay approval of the application and require later submission of the information to the assigned examining attorney.
NOTE: To receive HELP at any point in the application process, simply click on any of the field names the appropriate HELP section will then be displayed at the bottom of your screen.
NOTE: If you did not enter information for a mandatory field, an "error" screen will pop up. You can continue onto the next section of the form only by making an entry(ies) in the fields designated within the error message. For fields that are not considered mandatory, but for which an entry should be made, a "warning" screen will pop up. If necessary, you can by-pass a "warning" and move to the next section by clicking the "Continue" button.
STEP 3: If you are the proper signatory of the application, you will use the default "sign directly" option, wherein you will then sign the completed application by entering any combination of alpha/numeric characters that has been specifically adopted to serve the function of the signature, preceded and followed by a forward slash (/) symbol. Acceptable "direct' signatures could include, e.g., /john doe/ or /jd/. No "pre-approval" from the USPTO of the signature" is required, nor must the signature used even be consistent from one filing to the next.
If you are not signing directly, you must change the default setting to indicate either the "E-mail Text Form to second party for signature option" (the "e-signature approach) or the "Handwritten pen-and-ink signature option" (where you will mail/fax the application to the signatory for later upload of the signed declaration into the electronic form).
STEP 4: Upon completing the application, click on the "Validate Form" button at the end of the form.
NOTE: The validation function in no way checks the content of the entry for accuracy or completeness; rather, the system only confirms that at least one "character" has been entered in each of the mandatory fields. The Pre-Examination section, and then later, the examining attorney, will determine the sufficiency and correctness of the entries.
STEP 5: Before submitting the application, double-check your work by clicking on the icons within the Validation Page (to view the application data in various formats):
- Input: this presents the data in a simple "table" format (i.e., field name on the left, data on the right, with no "boilerplate" text).
Mark: the mark will appear in the middle of the page, either in the standard character format or as the image previously attached. You should print out this page to ensure that the resulting image is correct, i.e., the entire mark is visible, in clear black-and-white (no gray tones), and not greater than 4x4 inches. (Because of different monitor settings, it is not always possible to determine this simply by viewing the image on-line. We are concerned only with how the image actually "prints out"). If you determine that the image is not acceptable, then you must create a new image file, re-attach the file within the form, and repeat the steps outlined above.
Specimen: (only appears for a use-based application): the specimen image should be viewable. You should print out this page to ensure that the entire specimen has been captured. (Because of different monitor settings, it is not always possible to determine this simply by viewing the image on-line. We are concerned only with how the image actually "prints out"). If you determine that the image is not acceptable, then you must create a new image file, re-attach the file within the form, and repeat the steps outlined above.
- XML File: this shows all of the data as associated with tagged data fields, which permits the USPTO to upload the information directly into our databases and avoid manual data entry errors.
Textform: this presents the application data in a narrative, paragraph-type format. NOTE: If you have not used the "Sign directly approach," then you must click on this icon in order to initiate the process for either the e-signature approach or handwritten pen-and-ink signature. Follow the specific instructions within the form for these options.
NOTE: You may print the information accessed from any of these icons for your records simply by using the print function within the standard browser.
STEP 6: If any of the information being viewed is incorrect, you should close the page, to return to the main Validation Page. Then, click on the "Go Back to Modify" button at the bottom of the Validation Page, to return to the original application form. You can then correct any errors. Because a change has been made to the form, you must re-validate the application, again using the Validate Form button. At this point, you may resume the process at the Validation Page.
STEP 7: Enter the address(es) to which the USPTO should email the acknowledgment; e.g., a personal email address and/or a "docketing" email address specifically established to track application filings. The USPTO does not mail paper filing receipts for electronically submitted applications).
STEP 8: Re-enter the email address(es), to ensure delivery of the acknowledgment. (An inconsistent entry will result in a pop-up box asking for another entry of the address).
STEP 9: Read and check the box within the "Important Notice" section at the bottom of the Validation Page. This confirms an understanding that once an application is filed, we will not cancel the filing or refund the fee, unless the application fails to satisfy minimum filing requirements. The fee is a processing fee, which we do not refund even if we cannot issue a registration after our substantive review.
STEP 10: To save the electronic file to a local drive (either to pull up to continue work at a later time, or to forward to another party, either for review or signature), click on the "Download Portable Form" button at the bottom of the Validation Page.
STEP 11: Clicking on the PAY/SUBMIT button will bring up a screen to enter the appropriate payment information. After properly entering the information, submission can be completed to the USPTO. Shortly after successful transmission, a screen comes up that says "SUCCESS! We have received your application and assigned serial number ________." Again, within 24 hours, an email acknowledgment, containing both the assigned serial number and a complete summary of all data (but for any images), will also be sent to the email address provided at STEP 7. For your records, print out copies of the SUCCESS screen and the email acknowledgment.
STEP 12: If after successful filing an error is discovered, follow the steps outlined in the email acknowledgment for submission of a "Voluntary amendment."
Track Application Status
Follow the status of the prosecution of the application through the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system; however, do NOT attempt to check status until approximately 5-7 days after submission, to allow sufficient time for our databases to be updated. Similarly, do not attempt to file a Voluntary Amendment (as referenced at STEP 12 in the Completing Application section above.) until the original filing has fully uploaded into the USPTO databases.
For an overview of the most important issues to be aware of after filing a trademark application, please watch the news broadcast-style video titled “After You File” (video #9 in the TMIN series).
This completes the TEAS process. For general trademark information, please telephone the Trademark Assistance Center, at 1-800-786-9199, or e-mail your question to TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov(link sends e-mail). If you need help in resolving glitches or need answers to technical questions, you can e-mail us at TEAS@uspto.gov(link sends e-mail). Please include your telephone number, so we can talk to you directly, if necessary.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN (AND, WE HOPE, SUCCESSFUL USE OF) TEAS. Please send any suggestions for improvement or enhancement of the system to TEAS@uspto.gov(link sends e-mail).