How to Register a Trademark for Scientific Devices


There are a lot of reasons for scientists to want to protect their inventions. One of them is because they want to be able to build on their own work without having competitors copy it—and one way to do that is by filing a trademark application so that the public can tell who owns which inventions. However, while this might be an important consideration for some fields (like pharmaceuticals), it’s not something you have to worry about if you’re working in academia or industry science.

Why Would a Scientist ever need a Trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, or another device that helps identify the source of a product or service. It can also be used to protect your brand and its reputation. For example, if you have developed an innovative scientific device, you may want to register your trade name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This would allow you to prevent others from using the same name when referring to their own similar products.

Difference Between a Patent and a Trademark.

Patents are a form of intellectual property that allows the owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention in the U.S.A.

Trademarks protect names, words, and symbols identifying goods or services from unauthorized use by others.

Trademark your Scientific Devices.

Can you register a trademark for scientific devices? The short answer is yes, but there are some limitations. For example, you can’t register a trademark for a process. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will not allow you to register a process as a mark because it’s considered functional—that is, it performs work or activity instead of simply being decorative or ornamental. A good example would be “Method for Making Diamond Rings.” There’s no need to protect that kind of information from other companies using it—they’re essentially free to do so!

Similarly, the USPTO won’t allow you to register a scientific principle as your trademark because these are also considered functional and therefore not eligible for protection under federal law. Examples include “The Theory of Relativity” and “The Law of Gravity.” These types of intellectual property can only be protected by copyrighting them; however, this type of protection lasts only 70 years after the creator dies (or 120 years after publication if they were published during their life).

Filing a Trademark Application.

Now that you have identified your trademark and determined its eligibility, it’s time to file an application with the USPTO. The application process is not difficult but does require following the rules correctly and paying attention to detail.

The application must include the following:

  • Name, address, telephone number, email address, and fax number of the applicant
  • Specimen or drawing of the mark (if applicable)
  • Description of goods/services on which mark will be used
  • Any foreign applications/registrations already filed
  • A specimen or drawing of each mark used in commerce; if more than one mark is being applied for at the same time then all specimens must be submitted at once along with a cover sheet identifying them as part of one filing

Exams and Oppositions.

The trademark examiner may also send a communication to the applicant, requesting additional information. If the examiner does not receive a response within three months, they may declare your application abandoned and require you to start again. You can avoid this by keeping in touch with your attorney and/or an IP professional throughout the process.

If someone challenges your mark during the examining period (or afterwards), it will be examined in a formal proceeding called an opposition proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). Oppositions are handled like other legal proceedings: they have deadlines that must be met and involve filing briefs that argue why one party’s registration should be denied because of another party’s rights.

The TTAB decides whether or not there’s enough evidence to find for either party—and if so, how much compensation should be awarded for damages incurred by losing one’s trademark rights. In cases where there are multiple parties involved in opposition proceedings (such as when two different parties each hold valid trademarks), these disputes can get complicated quickly; however, most oppositions still end up being resolved through out-of-court settlements rather than going all the way through trial motions.


Trademarks are designed to protect brand names, but they can also be used to protect the name of a product or service. If you have created a new scientific device, you may want to register your trademark to ensure that no one else tries to pass off their devices as yours.

Trademarks can also be used to protect logos and slogans associated with your business, such as “We do science!”

Trademark law also protects designs like logos, so if there is something unique about how you designed your scientific device that would make it identifiable in public by consumers who are familiar with it (e.g., the shape of an instrument), then this could qualify as a design that should be trademarked.


That’s it. You now know everything you need to start registering your own scientific devices for trademark protection. Remember that a trademark is not the same as a patent, so make sure you are choosing the right one for what you want to protect. We hope this guide has helped you understand the process of trademark registration and why it may be useful for scientists who have invented new products or processes.

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