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How to get a trademark

Wendys1This article was submitted by a reader who was investigating how to go about getting a trademark.

In researching some business subjects I came across a few articles on trademarks.   First of all, a trademark is defined as an expression, symbol or design that identifies a product.  For example; Wendy’s.  Everyone knows that Wendy’s is a great place to get burgers, Frostys and baked potatoes.  The name “Wendy’s” is the trademark; so is the design featuring the redheaded pigtailed girl.  Registering this name and recognizable design ensures that no one else can use them. 

I started wondering how to go about getting a trademark. In searching for that, I was amazed to see all the websites that offered free trademarks or very inexpensive trademarks.  It was all very confusing.  How would someone know if one of these sites was an honest, reliable way to get a trademark?    If a web site issued you a trademark would it stand up in a legal battle if necessary?

There is an official trademark site, The United States Patent and Trademark Office.  This site is most likely the place to file for a trademark.  The website describes all kinds of trademarks.  It helps you figure out what kind of trademark would work for you.  You can perform a search to make sure the trademark you are considering isn’t already in use.  There are applications you can fill out and a list of associated fees.  In reading through the fees, it is apparent those inexpensive trademarks are way off base.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office site comes right out and suggests retaining an attorney to guide you through this process.  There are many steps to the process and missing one can invalidate your application.   Once you get your trademark registered the paperwork doesn’t stop there.  It is necessary to renew your trademark.   It appears you need to renew your trademark every 10 years to keep it active.  Failing to do so will allow someone else to register your brand and take all the recognition you’ve worked so hard to build.

Although you will find a wealth of knowledge on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, you may still be left with questions.  As the website suggests, a patent attorney would be able to assist you in obtaining your trademark.  Going through the proper steps and not trying to take an inexpensive shortcut will save you quite a few headaches in the long run.

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