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How to Apply for a Trademark

written by: dean0088•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 6/27/2011

In this article I guide you into the not so complicated process of applying for a trademark. This is often thought to be a minefield for businesses but once you follow the easy path there should be few hic-ups along the way.

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    Simple Application is the Best

    uspto seal Trademarks and patents are often described as legal minefields for businesses. The reality is quite different.First, you must ensure that a trademark is really what you need. Applying for a trademark is now actually quite simple given what you’re applying for isn’t outrageously hard to claim as your own. For example, if you have a new chocolate bar called ‘Nutastic’ and want to register it as a trademark you could do so quite simple. Why? This is simple to register because the name is specific but not too descriptive. However, if the name was ‘Chocolate Bar with Nuts’, it would be almost impossible to register because that applies to hundreds of different food items already on the market. But because the name is imaginative and quite unique the patent office will see no problem in registering the name as it does not interfere with patents and trademarks already standing.

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    Registering Your Patent

    The US government and most other countries worldwide operate online registration facilities. This online trademark facility gives you the basic procedure forms for registering a trademark, altering alterning a trademark and facilities to respond to claims made against your trademark. The language and terminology on these sites are simple and easily understandable to the average person which is helpful when you’re in no mood to swim through legal jargon. Simply log in and fill out the forms indicated for registering a new patent. Once you have submitted your form, it can often be a painful wait. The Trademark Office receives a huge volume of trademark registrations and must also sift through existing trademarks to ensure your one is not infringing the law. This is a timely process and if your market is particularly crowded, it can take over a year to finally have your trademark registered.

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    When Problems Arise

    If everything goes as planned, great! However, there are a small number of registration attempts that are turned down for a number of reasons. These are called ‘Office Actions’. These can be for any number of things. Common reasons for an office action are that you did not supply enough information about your product and service during the application and as a result the office was not in a comfortable position to issue you with a trademark. Another reason may be that the trademark is in some way similar to another trademark. So if your registering your chocolate bar named ‘Nutastic’ but another bar is called ‘Nut-Tastic’, you may run into trouble indeed. The best way around this is to keep your trademark as individual as possible. This can be difficult in crowded markets but persistence will prevail. Finally, make sure you reply in a timely fashion to all letters and documents received from the Trademark Office because for both of you – time is money.

    All things considered however, applying for a trademark is not a complicated process and once the company and trademark is simple, there is no need to bring in outside legal help. The US website for registering trademarks is here . It can also be done using the same forms the old fashioned way by visiting your local Patent and Trademark Office.