How to Register a Trademark


Trademarks are an important part of any business’s branding. They help customers associate the quality of your products with your brand, which can lead to more sales and a stronger reputation. With that said, it’s difficult to choose a trademark that is unique enough so that no one else already owns it. To make sure you’re not wasting time or money on something that someone else already has claimed as theirs, here are some steps you should take before registering your trademark:

Make sure your trademark is not already in use.

You can search the TESS database to see if your trademark is already in use. To do this, you’ll need to provide information about your company and its products/services and then run a search of existing trademarks based on that information. If a similar mark exists, you may want to consider changing your name or some other aspect of your business before proceeding with filing your own trademark with the USPTO.

If no similar marks exist, go ahead and register it! Use the TM symbol after any trademarks without an actual registration number from the USPTO (like “TM My Brand”), since these are not yet legally protected by law but should still be protected in practice so as not to confuse consumers as much as possible about who owns what when it comes down to identifying themselves publicly under their own name brand identity creations during marketing efforts such as advertisements and social media posts.

Search for similar trademarks.

A good place to start is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) trademark database, which you can search by name, description and/or class of goods and services. When you do a search for similar trademarks, don’t just look for exact matches—you’ll get more results that way! Instead, use the USPTO’s “Similar Marks” feature when searching by class of goods and services: it will show you all previously registered trademarks that are related to yours in some way.

Searching this way is also helpful because it includes all approved trademarks (even if they’re not currently active), so you can check whether someone already owns a registration for something similar to what you’d like to register yourself.

Get the application process started.

To apply for the trademark, you must fill out and submit an application. You will be asked to pay a fee and provide a specimen of your trademark. A specimen is an actual piece of your product or service that shows how it looks and functions. For example, if you are applying for “Nail Polish,” you might include pictures of different bottles of nail polish as part of your application materials. The fee depends on the number of items that are being registered (for example, one class costs $275), which may be calculated by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office based on the number of goods or services included in your application; however, there is no guarantee that all claims will be accepted so it’s best not to wait until last minute before filing anything!

You should sign both sides of this page after filling out all fields completely with black ink pen only (no blue/red). To make sure everything is perfect before sending it off into cyberspace forever: look over carefully — do all lines connect properly? Are there any typos? Is everything spelled correctly? Make sure nothing looks wrong before sending away!!

Create a specimen.

A specimen is a sample of your mark (the word or image you want to register) that shows how it will be used in the marketplace. Your specimen should show all the elements of your trademark, but use only two colors: black and white. The Office does not require specimens to be in color, so don’t waste time and money printing something that isn’t necessary.

The font that you use for your specimen should be the same as the one used on other marketing materials, such as packaging and advertising. This helps ensure that consumers are able to recognize your trademark as soon as they see it on their products or advertisements.

Wait for approval.

After submitting your trademark application, you will need to wait for approval. The USPTO will review your application and determine whether it meets the guidelines for registration. If approved, you will be notified by mail at the address listed in your application.

If not approved, you can amend your application and submit again or appeal the decision (if appropriate).


The takeaway:

  • The best way to register a trademark is through an attorney. If you can’t afford one, find an intellectual property lawyer who will work with your budget (and make sure you get a written agreement before starting).
  • Registering a trademark takes time, but it’s worth it in the long run. The earlier you start the process, the better off you’ll be if anyone tries to claim that they own your idea or product name first.


Now that you know how to register a trademark, it’s time to take action and do it. Don’t let your idea slip away because you don’t want to put in the work! If you follow these steps, you can be sure that your new mark will be protected from copycats—and turned into something even bigger than what it was before.

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