Registering logos, catchphrases, and sayings as trademarks can keep other people and businesses from using them without your permission. Brand names and service names can also be registered as trademarks. In general, they can include words, symbols, names, devices, and more. Registering also can prevent others from using trademarks that are too similar to yours. Here are the steps for getting a registered trademark.

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1. Do your research

Your first step before registration is to search for other trademarks that might be too close to yours. You can find all of the registered trademarks in the USPTO database, also known as the Trademark Electronic Search System or TESS. You'll start off with a basic search to see if there are any matches. If you don't find any, you'll want to move on to a more advanced one. Don’t be surprised if this takes quite some time to load. The site can load very slowly. Remember that you must search both the text and the design element separately. You can't just combine them.

2. Fill out the paperwork and apply

Once you've made sure that your trademark is unique, you're cleared to fill out the application. You'll need to demonstrate that you have the "proper basis" for filing, as the USPTO describes it. In other words, you'll have to state what it is for, and explain why you are filing for a registered trademark. You can do all of this online at the Trademark Electronic Application Systemand pay your fee as well. Or you can fill it out by hand and mail it in. Until you hear back from the USPTO, your trademark is not registered. Once you get notice of the registration, you now have a fully registered trademark, with complete rights to prohibit unauthorized use. If your trademark gets rejected, you can apply again after you have made sufficient modifications to address the USPTO's reasons for denying your request.


If you need a lawyer to help with your trademark search, or have other questions about intellectual property, visit our Intellectual Property Center.

Get started Visit Our Intellectual Property Center Get trademark documents and ask your IP questions.

Get started Visit Our Intellectual Property Center Get trademark documents and ask your IP questions.