Application requirements

Applying to register your trademark doesn’t guarantee it will register. Therefore, you should do your best to make sure everything in your initial application meets the requirements for federal registration. Consider each of these items before you start your application.

Application becomes public record

Your trademark application becomes public record once you submit it. Except for payment information, all personal information you submit to us, including your address and email address, will become part of a public record viewable on our website and other websites that index USPTO data, such as Google.

This is required by law. You can use limited options to prevent certain personal information from being made public on our website. Learn more about your personal information in Trademark records.

Determine what type of trademark you want to register

You can apply to register your trademark as a standard character trademark or a special form trademark. The type you choose affects your scope of protection and your submission requirements.

A standard character trademark requires very little information, while a color special form trademark requires you to submit a JPG version of the trademark, a color claim, and a description of the trademark that includes where in the trademark the colors are located. Once you submit your application, you cannot change to a different trademark or materially alter the trademark you submitted.

Learn more about trademark types and drawings.

Search for a trademark that’s confusingly similar to yours

Use our trademark search system to complete a comprehensive search to make sure that someone else hasn’t already registered or applied for a trademark that’s the same as or too similar to yours. If someone else already has done so, we may refuse your application because of a likelihood of confusion between your trademark and the other trademark. It’s your decision whether or not to file your application after conducting a search.

Identify and classify your goods or services

You can use the Trademark ID Manual to identify and classify what goods or services you’re offering. The number of classes of goods or services you include in your application affects how much your application costs. Once you file your initial application, you cannot expand the scope of your goods or services. You can only narrow or delete them.

Know your filing basis

A filing basis is the legal or statutory basis for filing an application to federally register a trademark in the United States. You must specify in your application which filing basis you’re using and meet the requirements for the basis you’ve selected. Learn about the different types of filing basis options.

International filer

While the majority of trademark owners file for registration under the use in commerce or intent to use bases, we offer additional filing bases for people with foreign trademarks.

Foreign registration or application bases allow you to use a foreign trademark registration or application as a basis for registering your trademark in the United States. These are often referred to as Section 44 filing bases.

The Madrid Protocol allows you to extend the protection granted by a foreign trademark registration into the United States. This is known as a Section 66(a) filing basis.

Choose your application form

To apply, use the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) to complete the initial application. The initial application form has two filing options: TEAS Plus and TEAS Standard. Costs differ between filing options because the filing options have a different number of up-front requirements. You must file electronically.