Vesta Digital Blog

How To Trademark Your Business’s Name

Posted on: November 18, 2010

Ytrademark businessou have thought long and hard about your company name. Now that you’ve finally come up with one that suits you and your business, you should get it trademarked so that other businesses won’t register under the same name. Getting your small business name trademarked is a pretty simple process.

Many small businesses can even file an application online through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Web site. The whole process can take up to two hours, but you won’t even need help from a lawyer. You should receive a response to your application within about six months after filing.

Searching for trademarks

Before you begin the application process, try out the web site’s Trademark Electronic Search System database to see if the name you chose has been taken by any other company. Protection is granted to the first entity to use a trademark in the geographic region where it operates (it doesn’t matter if the mark is registered or not). If your mark uses a design element, you will need to use a design code to search for it. The web site has a Design Search Code Manual to help you with this process.

Fees and other information

Registering for an online trademark can cost between $275 and $325. You will need to provide very specific information such as:

  • The categories of goods and services you’re using the trademark for
  • Whether or not you have a design element included
  • The date of the trademark’s first use in commerce

For online businesses, avoid registering your name with your web extension (.com or .net) unless you additionally register the domain name by itself. The reason for this is that it makes it very easy for other companies to register the same name simply with a different extension.

Types of Trademarks

There are two possible trademark formats:

  1. Standard character format; or
  2. Stylized or design format.

The standard character format should be used to register words, letters, numbers or any combination of these elements. This format does not make any claim to any particular font style, size, or color, and does not include a design element. If you register for a mark in the standard character format, you will get broad rights for use in any form of presentation of your trademark.

The stylized or design format, on the other hand, is appropriate if you wish to register a mark with a design element and/or words and letters that have a particular stylized appearance that you wish to protect.

The two types of mark formats cannot be mixed in one mark; do not submit a representation of a mark that attempts to combine a standard character format and a stylized or design format.

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