How to Register a Trademark in Minnesota


Trademarks are used to protect the brand identity of products and services. Registering a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is an important step toward protecting your brand. You should also consider how long it will take to register your mark and what steps need to be taken after you submit your application. Below outlined steps will help you register a trademark in Minnesota:

1. Learn the Basics

In order to register a trademark in Minnesota, you’ll first need to know what exactly a trademark is. Trademarks are words, phrases, symbols, and designs that identify the source of goods or services. A service mark is the same as a trademark except it identifies specific services instead of products. Here are some other types of marks:

  • Collective marks identify members of an association or group rather than individual businesses;
  • Certification marks certify goods or services as meeting certain standards; and
  • Trade dress refers to the appearance of packaging or appearance in general that distinguishes products from each other.

2. Choose a Trademark Name

A trademark name should be:

  • unique in order to avoid confusing consumers or diluting the value of your brand;
  • plain English, not nonsense words or made-up words like “JurisRadix.” This makes it easy for others to understand what you’re selling and it shows that you’re serious about protecting your intellectual property rights;
  • not offensive or disparaging toward any group of people (think Coca-Cola); and
  • not confusingly similar to another registered mark (think Pepsi-Cola).

3. Conduct a Trademark Search

One of the first steps to register a trademark in Minnesota is to conduct a trademark search, which is a legal requirement before filing a federal trademark application. It’s also something you can do yourself or hire an attorney or law firm to complete for you.

A trademark search costs money. It will tell you if there are similar marks already registered by someone else that could cause confusion or infringe on your potential mark’s uniqueness. The cost of conducting this type of research varies depending on how much information is needed and what resources are available in your area. For example, if you live close enough to have access to the Library of Congress (LOC), it may be cheaper than hiring an outside expert; however, if there’s no LOC nearby then hiring someone would be necessary anyway because their expertise will come in handy later when determining whether or not your proposed mark is available for registration under Section 2(d) guidelines mentioned earlier in this article).

Trademark searches vary from company to company based upon which one performs them as well as their level of expertise. However, since these firms tend not to specialize solely within one area like intellectual property rights protection services (IPR), they usually don’t charge less than $100 per hour.

4. File your Application

The USPTO is a federal agency responsible for registering trademarks and patents, as well as other intellectual property matters. It’s a good idea to file your trademark application with the USPTO early in the process. It will give you more time to make any changes or corrections before your application is filed.

There are two ways to apply for a federal trademark: through an attorney or through self-help resources (including filing through an online service). Self-help tools can be found on the USPTO website, where there are instructions on how to complete each step of the process.

5. Wait for the Response

Unlike other registration processes, the USPTO’s examination process happens after you file your application. The examiner will review your mark and compare it to previously registered marks in order to determine if the mark is:

  • likely to cause confusion with an existing mark;
  • being used in interstate commerce; and
  • distinctive enough for trademark protection (yep, there are limits).

6. Maintain your Trademark

Once your trademark is approved by the USPTO, you will need to maintain it. This means:

  • Keep your Registration Current

You must file a Statement of Use (SOU) every six months after five years if you have not actively been using your mark in commerce. The SOU confirms that you still use the mark and informs the PTO if there are any changes in its use or ownership. You may also be required to submit an amendment to either your application or registration as well as a Declaration of Use (DOU).

  • Respond to any Challenges

The Lanham Act allows anyone who believes they may be harmed by another’s trademark rights to file an action with the court asking for cancellation or correction of the said trademark on the basis that it is confusingly similar, lacks distinctiveness, or infringes upon another registered mark’s rights. If someone files such an action against your own registration(s), you should respond within 60 days or risk losing those marks altogether!

  • Ensure Proper Usage of all Aspects

Trademark images must accurately depict what consumers would recognize as being associated with each company/product line. Marketing materials must include certain disclaimers such as “does not imply affiliation” when used alongside other brands’ logos. All products sold under their respective brand names must meet specific quality standards set forth by federal law. Employees hired within these companies must abide by strict codes governing how they interact with customers at conventions/trade shows etcetera.


If you have questions about how to register a trademark in Minnesota, you can reach out to us. We will love to provide you with the resources that can help you learn more about trademarks and the application process.

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