How to Register a Trademark in North Carolina


If you have a business or product that you want to protect from infringement, then you should consider registering a trademark. Trademarks can be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and are valid only within the borders of the United States. However, if you plan on doing business overseas or in other countries, it’s important to register your trademark there as well. Here’s what you need to know about registering trademarks in this state:

Determine if you have a Trademark

Before you can register a trademark with the USPTO, you need to know what it means. A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes one party’s products or services from those of others. Trademarks can be used by individuals or businesses and are usually associated with a particular product or service.

There are five main types of trademarks:

  • Trademark – A word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods from others in the marketplace.
  • Service Mark – An indication of origin given by a service provider to differentiate his or her service from other providers’ services on the market (e.g., Delta Airlines).
  • Collective Mark – Any mark used by members of an association to identify membership in a group (e.g., American Kennel Club).
  • Certification Mark – An emblem used to indicate that products have been tested for compliance with regulations and requirements (e.g., UL approval).

Choose a Filing Option

You have three options when filing a trademark application:

  • An intent-to-use application, which allows you to claim rights in a mark even though you haven’t yet used it in commerce.
  • A use-based application requires that the mark has been actually used in commerce before the USPTO will consider your trademark registration.
  • A concurrent use application, allows the applicant to claim both their intent-to-use and their actual use at the same time. If all goes well, this will allow them to register with both types of marks if needed.

Complete the Federal Application

Once you have filled out the application, it must be sent to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A trademark examiner at the USPTO will review your application to make sure that it meets all of its requirements. If they find any problems with your application, they will send you a letter explaining what needs to be fixed or clarified. You can then go back and edit your application or pay additional fees until they are satisfied with what you have submitted.

Once they approve your trademark registration, they will send you a certificate of registration and publish it in The Official Gazette for opposition purposes within 30 days from the issuance date of registration.

File Annual Reports

If you’ve properly used your trademark in commerce, you may be able to file an affidavit of use or excusable nonuse. If you’re not using the trademark and haven’t filed a statement of use, then your registration may be canceled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

If you decide not to file an affidavit, there are still some benefits from having registered your trademark with the USPTO:

  • You can sue for damages if someone uses your mark without permission (e.g., printing t-shirts with “Kitten Cupcakes” on them)
  • You can take action against websites that infringe upon your rights as a trademark owner


Registering your trademark is not too complicated. You should follow all of the steps to make sure it’s done right. If you don’t follow the steps, your trademark might not be valid.


The steps to register a trademark in North Carolina can be a long and complicated process, but it’s not difficult. The USPTO offers several options for filing your trademark, including online filing for simple applications and paper filing for more complex ones. You just need to be aware of all the steps involved in registering a mark so that you can choose the option that works best for you!

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