Knowing how to trademark a name or logo probably might not have been high on your priorities' list when you opened your business, but having that knowledge is important if you want to protect your business's name and logo. Fortunately, the process is fairly simple. If the USPTO site works as it should, it should take less than 90 minutes to fill out the entire application.

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First, search through the USPTO database, also known as the Trademark Electronic Search System or TESS. You're looking to see if anyone else has registered a business name or logo similar to your own. Remember that you must search for both text and designs. If you don't find anything that's the same, go on to check for items that are similar. You must make sure that your business name or logo is distinct from others.

If you pass this point, you can fill out the application online through the Trademark Electronic Application System. You'll also need to pay the registration fee, which costs somewhere between $250 and $350 depending on the kind of trademark and your business type. To fill out the application, you'll need to have the following information on hand:

•    Business name
•    Name, logo or design to be protected
•    Your name
•    How the name or logo is to be used
•    First time it was used officially in commerce
•    Business address

After you submit the application, you should receive a response within six months. If you can't get your name or logo trademarked on your first try, try to figure out why. Most of the time, it's because the design is too similar to another one. Fortunately, you can register again after you have altered the business name or logo enough to satisfy the USPTO.

If you need help with your business IP, 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.