Steps Required to Obtain Trademark Protection


A trademark can be a word, phrase, symbol, or design used to distinguish your goods and services from others in the marketplace. A registered mark is more likely to be protected than an unregistered mark. To obtain a federal registration for your mark, you must file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and pay a filing fee.

Choose a Mark

Choosing a memorable and distinctive mark is vital to your trademark application’s success. The more unique it is, the less likely it will be confused with other marks and the better chance you’ll have of getting approved.

  • Make sure your mark is not too descriptive. If a mark describes an aspect of your product or service, then it will be hard for others to tell what exactly you’re offering. Your mark should communicate that information without having to say so explicitly (think Apple computers).
  • Keep in mind that short words are popular because they are easier to remember than long ones; however, don’t go overboard creating acronyms out of every word (like “AT&T,” which stands for “American Telephone & Telegraph.”)

File an Application for Registration to Obtain a Serial Number

The application for registration is filed with the USPTO. The application must include a drawing of the mark and a statement of use, which is a signed statement claiming that you have used your trademark in commerce. It must also include an affidavit stating that no other party has rights to the trademark and that you are using it exclusively. The application must also include at least one specimen of the mark (for example, a label or tag).

The fee to file an application for registration is $275 per class. However, if you file electronically through TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System), there will be additional fees charged by law firms’ software providers.

Pay the Filing Fee

The filing fee for a trademark application is $225. This fee is nonrefundable, even if your application is ultimately rejected or abandoned by the USPTO. To pay this fee, submit payment by credit card or electronic funds transfer (EFT).

As soon as you have made the payment, your application will be transferred to an examiner at the USPTO for examination and prosecution.

Publication in General Information Services Bulletin

The next step in obtaining trademark protection is publication. The USPTO publishes approved marks in a weekly publication called the “General Information Services Bulletin.” The publication gives notice to the public that the trademark has been approved and provides information about the mark such as the goods or services that it represents.

Examiner’s Action on the Merits

The examiner’s action on the merits is the final step in the trademark application process. The examiner will evaluate your mark and determine whether it is acceptable for publication. If it is not, the examiner may issue a final refusal or a notice of allowance to proceed with publication.


Once your application is filed and the fee paid, the USPTO will take the appropriate actions to determine whether any other marks conflict with your mark. If there are no conflicts, the USPTO will register your mark. If there are conflicts, the USPTO will issue an office action where they identify any conflicting marks. You can then respond by arguing why your mark should be registered despite any issues with other existing marks or submit new evidence supporting your claim of ownership of a particular word or phrase that is used in commerce as a source identifier for goods or services.


Trademark registration is a complicated process, but it is worth the effort to protect your brand. If you have any questions about trademark registration or want to learn more about this topic, please contact us today!

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