Clients often ask us how to trademark a phrase.

 

Your phrase or slogan is unique and crucial to your business. Naturally, you want to protect it from competitors who might create similar phrases. As a starting point, our discussion of trademark basics might be useful for understanding the purpose and importance of trademarks. Contacting an attorney should be the first step you take in protecting your phrase or slogan. Trademark To Go makes this process easy and affordable.

Certain phrases cannot be trademarked — purely generic names, purely descriptive names, and trademarks that are too similar to existing trademarks, for example. A good attorney will take time to discuss your proposed trademark and whether it’s strong enough to be trademarked.

Next, the attorney should complete a trademark search. This requires the attorney to search government databases and the internet to ensure that no one has trademarked a similar phrase. If we discover a similar phrase already trademarked, we analyze whether it’s “confusingly similar.” This is the benchmark utilized by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) when approving or rejecting applications. Please be careful, though. Many online document filing services (like the ones you see advertising on TV) cannot do this for you. They are not attorneys and cannot practice law or analyze legal arguments. That’s why you should always use a lawyer for trademark registration.

After finishing the search,if the mark is likely available and strong enough to be registered, the law firm will complete the application with the USPTO. The application can be confusing and any mistakes in the application can result in a rejection, so it’s important to pay close attention to detail. Generally speaking, the application for a phrase or slogan is slightly easier than an application for a logo.

Once the application is complete, you’ll need to wait for the USPTO to review it. This can take a few months. After the USPTO reviews your application, they either approve it or challenge it through a legal process known as an Office action. Your lawyer can respond to the Office action with his or her own legal arguments.

If the government approves your application, competitors with similar trademarks can still attempt to challenge it for 30 days. When the 30 day period ends, assuming there have been no successful challenges and you are currently using the phrase, your trademark will register! However, if you haven’t used the phrase yet, you will then have 6 months to provide proof to the government that you’re using it (or ask for an extension of time). After providing proof, your phrase will become a registered trademark.

Ready to file your trademark and protect your business?

We may it easy with our five-step process. Call us at (888) 421-0589 or click here to get started!

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