How to Trademark Your Business Name
DISCLAIMER: Use this information at your own risk. I merely and writing about my experience. Seek a lawyer as needed.
Hi everyone! I have been pretty MIA lately. I have about half way into my semester so things are getting very busy. My midterm is in 2 weeks and I still have many projects and assignments with deadlines coming up fast so I've been consumed with that. My son also started 4K this semester so that has been a new experience for us. My daughter who is 2 gets us all to herself while he is away at school. She has been loving it some days. My husband and I work opposite shifts so we barely see each other or get to spend time with each other. Besides that I'm also driving to Milwaukee as well weekly for clinicals so I've been trying to juggle everything and " just keep swimming " (Dory). When I step back and look at it I could just let everything go and not have to go through all of this. BUT for some reason I guess it is in my genetic DNA to keep myself busy. Honestly I am a little bit frightened if I were to stop keeping busy. Isn't it crazy that when I am stressed I direct that stress to doing more and more. I'm not sure what I will do with myself once I'm done with school. I can write about that in another post. I do what works for us, as many parents out there, I know, are in the same situation as we are. We make it work right? I would do anything for my two little munchkins.
Back to my trademark registration! I didn't think I was going to receive anything in the mail BUT wow look what I got today. It is an official seal stamped letter from the United States Patent and Trademark Office! This is just a piece of paper but I am so proud of myself for filing and taking this huge step. It is one step closer to the vision I have for my business Hmong Creations.
TIMELINE: It took about 7 months for Hmong Creations to be officially trademarked.
- Application submission in March 2018.
- Application assigned to an examining attorney in June 2018.
- Trademark lawyer and examining attorney revisions of application June-July 2018
- USPTO approved and published Trademark in July 2018.
- USPTO registered trademark September 2018
To start the application process go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There is a lot of information on this site as well as very good videos you can watch to help you get started. I do recommend you hire a lawyer to start this process as they will know the details and the correct ways to file. Every time you have to make a change you might have to pay a fee so its better to submit a complete and correct application to save money.
TIMELINE from United States Patent and Trademark Office.
- Step 1. Application filed.
- Step 2. USPTO reviews application.
- Step 3. USPTO approves trademark and publishes it for opposition
- Step 4. USPTO registers your trademark.
- Step 5. You file a Section 8 declaration @ year 6.
- Step 6. You file a Section 8 declaration and Section 9 renewal @ year 10.
At this point I am at step 5. So within the next 6 years I need to file a Section 8 declaration that I have been using my trademark and pay a fee in order for my registration to still be valid.
The first thing you need to do is search the Trademark Electronic Search System. This is one of the main search engines to see if the business name that you want is available and has not been trademarked yet. It doesn't matter if you use capital letters or spaces or .Com in your trademark. If others try to trademark a similar name to yours it will be flagged and most likely rejected. Once you check this if you name is available you can start the process.
You will need a number to documents before you want to get started. However you will be able to save your application so you can start it and come back to it later. Some documents that I needed was my sellers permit information with my business name as well as my EIN number assigned to me. If you are interested in how to get a Seller's Permit and EIN number please send me a message and I can write a blog of that later. Keep in mind that if you make more than $500 dollars net profit you need to claim that on your taxes. So it is best to get your Seller's Permit and get everything lined up so that it will be easier to do your taxes.
I also prepare my own taxes. I have been doing that since I was 17. I find this so crazy because when I look at 17 year old these days they look like babies that I want to protect forever from growing up. This year I felt so overwhelmed with my business that I finally gave in to using Turbotax. I tell you it is such an amazing program and made it so easy to file my taxes! I think I had over 6 forms I need to fill out to get maximum credits and Turbo tax walked me through each sheet. I will blog about Turbotax sometime next year when I do my taxes so come back then if you are interested.
You will also need to decide if you are a sole proprietorship or a LLC corp S or C. This depends on if you want to sell your business in the future and how many business partners you have. You need to include this in your application and the examining attorney may ask you more questions about it later. You can always change the status for a fee of course. I went with Sole-proprietorship so that it would match my seller's permit information. I plan to change my company to LLC as it will provide additional insurance for my business besides the business insurance I purchased through State Farm.
Another thing to think about the category of your items. For each category you have to pay a fee. So it's best to take a look at what is all available to be able to get the most board coverage of what your products or services that you will be offering.
Overall the application is very simple as long as you read through it and watch the videos pertaining to each section so that you understand what exact information they are asking for.
Some advantages of Trademarking your business name include:
- Use of the registration symbol ® with the registered mark in connection with the designated goods and/or services, which provides public notice of the registration and potentially deters third parties from using confusingly similar marks.
- o Inclusion of the registered mark in the USPTO’s database of registered and pending marks, which will (a) make it easier for third parties to find it in trademark search reports, (b) provide public notice of the registration, and thus (c) potentially deter third parties from using confusingly similar marks.
- o Use of the registration by a USPTO trademark examining attorney as a bar to registering confusingly similar marks in applications filed by third parties.
- o Use of the registration as a basis to bring suit for trademark infringement in federal court, which, although more costly than state court, means judges with more trademark experience, often faster adjudications, and the opportunity to seek an injunction, actual damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs
- o Use of the registration as a filing basis for a trademark application for registration in certain foreign countries, in accordance with international treaties.
- United States Patent and Trademark Office
I will be doing a get away soon! So sorry I have been talking about it so much but have yet to do it. I'm still thinking about what I should giveaway. Message me any suggestions you may have!
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