Trademark Application Process
U.S. Trademark Registration
Registering your trademark(s) with the USPTO is highly recommended. Generally, a business’ trademark is protected in the U.S. as soon as it is first used in commerce, even without registration. However, an unregistered mark’s rights will be very limited in geographic scope unless it is federally registered and granted nationwide protection. Trademark registration is one of the most beneficial forms of intellectual property protection for a company operating in commerce.
Companies may also-and it is suggested they do so for greater protection-register multiple marks, such as brand name, logo, stylized name, and different marks for different aspects of the company. Trademark protection may be granted for any number of aspects beyond just basic words, such as pictures comprising a logo, numbers, symbols, words in certain colors or other styles of typography.
Since brand names are critically important to a successful product, having solid domestic and international trademark protection can enhance the value of a business. Not only does trademark protection bolster the credibility of a company or product in the consumer public’s eyes, it adds value to the company’s asset portfolio, which may prove significant from startup through exit.
The costs related to trademark protection depend on how many marks and in what countries the company chooses to register. In the U.S., the fee for filing a trademark registration application is $275 per class. Trademarks are registered in different ‘classes’ depending on the product or service rendered, so, for example, trademarks for electronics and trademarks food service are different class registrations. It is recommended that marks are registered in as many applicable classes as possible to gain the most protection possible.
International Trademark Registration
When a company plans to expand internationally, registration is recommended in any country where the company plans to do business. Each country has distinct trademark laws and registration requirements, but the Madrid Protocol is an international agreement that allows companies to submit one registration application to the USPTO while simultaneously registering for any of the 86 member countries. The fee for a trademark application under the Madrid Protocol is $100 per class (in addition to the $275 per class U.S. fee), plus additional fees for each designated country.