How to Register a Trademark for Musical Instruments


If you’re in the business of selling musical instruments, you might want to protect your brand by registering a trademark. This will allow you to legally use your mark on products, services, and advertising materials. To get started, file an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You’ll need to specify whether you’ve already started using your trademark or if you intend to use it in the future, along with any phrases and letters associated with it. Choose between “intent to use” and “use in commerce” applications based on what makes sense for your business situation.

Specifying the Usage of your Trademark.

You should also specify whether or not you’ve already started using your trademark. If you have, then include a specimen of the mark and its location on the application. If you intend to use your trademark in the future, indicate when that will be.

If you haven’t yet started using your trademark, don’t worry! You can still register it by including a statement that indicates what date you’ll start using it (for example: “I intend to use this mark in commerce on or about January 1st, 2023”).

Include a Drawing of the Mark.

When you have decided that a mark is appropriate and distinctive enough to register, it’s time to submit the actual application. The USPTO will ask you to include a drawing of the mark, along with any phrases or letters associated with it. The image should be clear and precise; if in doubt, it’s always better to be on the side of caution and make sure your drawing is as detailed as possible.

Drawings do not need to be in color—the USPTO only requires black-and-white images at this stage—but they do need to be submitted in line art form (that is, without shading).

“Intent to Use” and “Use in Commerce.”

If your trademark is in the process of being used in commerce, you’ll need to choose between an “intent to use” and a “use in commerce” application. An intent-to-use application is when you’re applying for a trademark before you’ve actually sold any products or services under that name. This option allows you to file a registration at a lower cost than if you filed with actual use (which costs around $1,000), but it means that within six months of getting approved by the USPTO, you’ll have to start using the trademark on your instruments. If this isn’t possible for some reason—say, because the product isn’t finished yet—you can request an extension from the USPTO.

If you don’t plan on selling any musical instruments until much later down the road but want protection against others stealing your idea in order to sell their own version first, then an intent-to-use might work better than waiting until later so they can file something called an “actual use” application after they’ve already sold their instruments under those names (though this will cost more).

Pay the Fee.

The fee for trademark registration is $225. If you pay by credit card, the fee can be charged as a one-time payment. If you would prefer to pay by check, you can make your payment electronically or through the mail.

Respond to USPTO’s Post-Submission Correspondence.

After you submit your trademark application, the USPTO will send you a letter regarding their examination of your application. If there are any issues with your application, they will notify you in this letter and give directions for how to fix them.

You should respond to this office action letter within six months or else it will be rejected by the USPTO as abandoned. Additionally, if your response does not address all of the concerns raised in an office action letter (such as insufficient information), then it may also be rejected.

Make sure that when responding to an office action letter, you carefully read through all of its contents before doing so. Even though it may seem like common sense not just to ignore certain parts of the document because they don’t apply directly to what needs fixing or answering in some way regarding your trademark registration process (e.g., e-mail addresses), there can be instances where failing to submit accurate information could delay approval indefinitely or even prevent approval altogether (for example: if one part requires providing a copy of proof verifying ownership over legal rights).


The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a government agency responsible for registering trademarks. It is the only agency in the US that can register a trademark, and it is usually necessary to file an application with them before you can use your trademark. The USPTO does not provide legal advice, so you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about how best to proceed with your project.


If you’re a musician who needs to protect his or her brand, then the steps outlined above should be easy enough to follow. Just make sure that your application includes everything the USPTO needs in order for it to be considered complete: an illustration of your mark, any associated text, and phrases, and an indication as to whether or not you intend on using it in commerce at some point in time. This will save you from having to resubmit your application later on down the road!

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