Step-by-step instructions for the trademark filing process using TEAS.
Step 1: Select your trademark and goods/services
Determine (1) what trademark 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 or services with which the trademark is (or will be) used. For help with identifying your goods and/or services, check the USPTO's Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual (ID Manual).
*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).
Step 2: Search the trademark database
Once you have selected your trademark, search the trademark 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.
WARNING: After searching the trademark 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 legal 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.
Step 3: Check status to avoid potential conflicts
Based on your search results from the trademark database, check the status of any potentially conflicting application or registration through the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system.
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.
Step 4: Create JPG image (for stylized wording or design marks only)
If the trademark you want to register has 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. Similarly, if you file 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 affixed to your goods or an advertisement for services. NOTE: Lack of an image file for the specimen will not preclude filing an initial application through TEAS Standard; 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.
NOTE: You do not have to create a special electronic file for a "word only" (i.e., not stylized or design) trademark, 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).
Step 5: Review application fees
The filing fee for the initial trademark/service mark application is $225 per class of goods or services listed using the TEAS Plus filing option and $275 per class for a TEAS Standard option. For TEAS Plus, payment for each class is required at the time of filing. For TEAS Standard, only the fee for one class is required, although any additional fees due must be submitted before the application may be approved.
Step 6: Filing the application online
Access the Apply online page to file using TEAS. On the Trademark initial application form page, select the appropriate link for one of the two filing options for applications on the Principal Register: (1) TEAS Plus and (2) TEAS Standard.
As necessary, click on the link(s) to the Frequently Asked Questions about Trademarks. For your convenience, a PDF preview of each application is available for viewing purposes only, prior to accessing the online form.
Note: If you are filing an application on the Supplemental Register, or the forms on the Trademark initial application form page are otherwise not appropriate for your filing, you should review the Other initial application forms page.
Before you attempt to file an application electronically, you should take the various steps outlined below.
- Check the USPTO Systems Status and Availability to learn about any TEAS maintenance or other system unavailability.
- Establish the required Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) profile in the Financial Manager before beginning the filing process if you wish to make your fee payment by EFT. It takes up to 8 business days before you are contacted about the status of your EFT setup. Review the Accepted payment methods page for more information.
- Ensure that emails from the USPTO are not treated as spam. If your email address changes, you must update the USPTO records with the new address.
- WARNING: You may receive solicitations from companies and/or law firms that are not associated with the USPTO that will offer monitoring services and/or other assistance regarding the registration of your mark. You must carefully determine whether, in fact, any communication is truly from the USPTO.
Step 7: Completing the application
The following steps presume that the TEAS Plus filing option is being used, although the steps for TEAS Standard are almost identical to those for TEAS Plus. 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 in TEAS Standard.
STEP 1: If you are the applicant filling out the form (that is, you don’t have an attorney filling out the form for you), then 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 for an application to receive a filing date. However, even if you use the TEAS Standard filing option, which has fewer mandatory fields, you are encouraged to enter all available information at the time of filing, since failure to do so may delay approval of the application.
NOTE: To receive HELP at any point in the application process, 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 does not check the content of an entry for accuracy or completeness; the system only confirms that at least one "character" has been entered in each of the mandatory fields. After submission, the USPTO's Pre-Examination section, and then later, the assigned 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 (nonstylized) text format or as the image previously attached. You should print out this page to ensure that the resulting image is correct and legible (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 by viewing the image online. 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: The filing receipt will be sent to the Primary Email Address for Correspondence and Secondary Email Address(es), if any. Return in the form to edit these addresses. The USPTO does not mail paper filing receipts for electronically submitted applications).
STEP 8: 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 9: 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), follow the instructions to download the portable form at the bottom of the Validation Page.
STEP 10: 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 Primary Email Address for Correspondence and Secondary Email Address(es), if any. For your records, print out copies of the SUCCESS screen and the email acknowledgment.
STEP 11: If after successful filing an error is discovered, follow the steps outlined in the email acknowledgment for submission of a "Voluntary amendment."
Step 8: 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.
Check the current processing wait times to find out how long your trademark filing could take. Filing your initial application, response form, and post registration accurately can speed up the process. You can help by reading these tips on avoiding processing delays.
This completes the TEAS process. For general trademark information, contact the Trademark Assistance Center. If you need help in resolving glitches or need answers to technical questions, email us at TEAS@uspto.gov(link sends e-mail). Please include your telephone number, so we can talk to you directly, if necessary.