How Do I Trademark My Company Name and Logo?

how to trademark a name and logo

You poured creative passion into crafting the perfect name and logo for your business. These brand touchpoints convey the heart of your company’s offerings and values at a glance. Not only do they distinguish you in the marketplace, but they become invaluable intangible assets as customer loyalty grows.

Yet surprisingly, few entrepreneurs understand how to fully protect this intellectual property through federal trademark registration.

Is your brand identity secured legally, or could competitors freely use identical naming and logos to erode the goodwill you cultivated? Could you prevent online counterfeiters from applying your branded content?

This guide will lead you through key steps for trademarking a company name and logo with confidence.

Step 1 – Assess if a Trademark Fits Your Needs

Unlike patents for inventions or copyrights for creative works, trademarks specifically cover brand identifiers used to distinguish your goods and services in the marketplace.

For instance, if you invent a new vacuum cleaner, you should get a patent to protect the actual invention. But if you mainly want to stop others from using your brand name and logo on vacuums, trademark registration is the way to go.

Step 2 – Research Your Trademark’s Availability

Before applying for a trademark, it is essential to thoroughly research any existing similar marks to identify potential conflicts early on. You will need a robust investigation that goes beyond a basic USPTO name search to include phonetic equivalents, subtle name variations that could pose risks, evaluations of logo design overlap, and deeper dives into domain registries and state records.

Navigating the nuances of trademarks requires expertise across legal and technical matters. An experienced trademark lawyer can conduct the intensive searches needed while decoding complex results into clear guidance. This helps minimize risks of rejection later when formally registering your mark. We simplify the early process so your application approval goes smoothly.

Step 3 – Prepare and Submit Trademark Application

Once your trademark search looks clear, applying for federal registration is straightforward but particular in detail.

Having a lawyer guides things smoother, but key steps include the following:

  1. Prepare your logo in an accepted digital image format showing fonts/designs exactly as used in business
  2. Describe your products/services tied to the trademark in the application so uses are unambiguous
  3. Submit the electronic forms listing all relevant categories with accompanying government fees
  4. Now wait, as attorneys need months to scrutinize every submission to ensure it meets legal thresholds before approval

The application may seem easy, but rushing or missing details can lead to rejections. Take time to get it right so you can legally protect your branding in the long run.

Step 4 – Respond to Any Objections

If the USPTO attorney raises registration objections, respond quickly to their concerns if possible. Sometimes, minor tweaks like reworking product classifications satisfy requests.

If rejections seem unreasonable, our lawyers know how to challenge them adequately. There may be an initial non-final office action that you can respond to, followed by a final office action before both sides find an acceptable compromise.

Step 5 – Monitor Registration Status

Monitor your application’s progress through the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval portal every few months. If the attorney approves your mark for publication after scrutiny, a public comment period follows, allowing challenges from potential opponents. Few applications face disputes, but staying informed maintains your strategic options.

Step 6 – Submit Final Required Documentation

If you apply to trademark a brand name you plan to use later, you’ll get a Notice of Allowance once the review finishes. Then, within six months, you must show you actually started selling products using that name. Or you can request one 6-month extension if you haven’t commercialized yet.

Step 7 – Maintaining Your Registered Trademark

Once your trademark is registered, you must file a declaration of continued use between the 5th and 6th year. Then, you must renew your federal trademark registration with the government every 10 years thereafter. If you go years without actually using the trademark in your business, you may lose ownership through “abandonment.”

Also, be sure to use the ® symbol properly whenever displaying your trademark to notify others it’s protected. We can help monitor for potential trademark violations online and elsewhere if needed. Stay vigilant in watching for misuse of your brand in the digital age.

Step 7 – Defend Your Trademark Rights

While the USPTO strives to avoid overlap with existing marks, registered trademarks carry no self-enforcing power. The responsibility to pursue violations falls upon our shoulders as rights holders. Our lawyers have spent decades dealing with trademark disputes. Over time, we developed strategies that balance aggressive protection with practical solutions.

If we spot someone illegally using your trademark, we tailor the response. A stern legal letter often resolves clear-cut violations. For gray areas, negotiation sometimes finds a compromise. But stubborn offenders face federal lawsuits if they keep damaging your brand value.

Our goal is to stop infringement of your trademark fast, without expensive legal fights. We’ll create a plan fitting your budget to enforce your rights in a balanced way. The focus is on efficiently protecting your brand.

Safeguard What Makes Your Brand One-of-a-Kind

Federally registering your trademark unlocks exclusive legal usage backed by the full weight of U.S. federal courts. Only registration enables suing for infringement damages and attorney fees.

The ® symbol also broadcasts that your brand received government certification, deterring copycat attempts and elevating market positioning.

While common law rights arise simply through ongoing business usage, federal registration confers much stronger protections with national scope. Don’t leave this advantage on the table when establishing your company’s identity in the long run. Please reach out to schedule an initial consultation with The Browne Firm if you need hands-on assistance protecting the invaluable brand identity your company spent years cultivating.

Our personalized trademark counsel has served many NYC entrepreneurs just like you, thanks to attentive legal support each step of the way. You deserve clarity and confidence around intellectual property decisions central to commercial success – let’s connect to discuss your situation today.

Author Bio

Danielle Browne is the founder and managing attorney of The Browne Firm, a New York-based estate planning and business law firm. Danielle leverages her background, serving as general counsel for a Fortune 500 company and working with startups to represent clients in entity formation, intellectual property protection, contract drafting, estate planning, and more.

With more than ten years of experience as an attorney and business executive, she has represented clients ranging from entrepreneurs and small businesses to artists and Fortune 500 companies. Danielle received her Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law and is licensed to practice in New York. She has received numerous honors for her work, including being named a 2015 Future Leader by the WNBA President while serving as general counsel for the Atlanta Dream.

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